It is no secret that Italian varietals have been making headway with California winemakers over the last few years. Still, many seem reluctant to fully embrace this upsurge of Italian style wines being produced here in the Golden State. I am guilty as charged. As an avid enthusiast of Italy’s wine industry, I have often found myself hesitant to dip my toes in the water of Cal-Ital wines. To my consolation, I have been pleasantly surprised lately.
One of these examples that I’ve had quite recently is from Palmina Wines of Santa Barbara County. This small family-owned producer focuses on Italian varietals, particularly those of Piedmont. With climate and soils similar to that of northern Italy, it shouldn’t surprise me too much that these varietals just might work here.
Palmina 2005 Arneis – This is hands down one of my favorite white grapes of Italy. As a rather difficult varietal to grow, these wines can be cursed with low acidity and are easily oxidized. Perhaps this challenge is part of what makes me favor good quality Arneis wines. This 2005 vintage surprisingly still has zesty acidity and fresh fruit characteristics. On the palate, this medium bodied wine flaunts crisp green apple, white peach, jasmine, walnuts, and ends with a savory white pepper finish.
Cheers to keeping an open mind and palate!