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2021 Arneis, Ciel du Cheval Vineyards, Red Mountain AVA

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2021 Arneis, Ciel du Cheval Vineyards, Red Mountain AVA
2021 Arneis, Ciel du Cheval Vineyards, Red Mountain AVA

A few years back, we noticed we were drinking a lot of Roero. We enjoyed the wonderful aromas and the fresh palate. A google search latter, and we learned that Roero is 100% Arneis. An aromatic white Italian varietal that had nearly gone extinct. But in the early eighties a few enterprising wineries brought it back to life and it quickly became one of the most popular white wines in Italy.

We wondered if we could grow it at Ciel du Cheval. In Italy, Arneis is called "the little rascal" due to its reputation of being difficult to grow, but it is grown in Piedmont, where Nebbiolo is grown. We have already demonstrated that we can grow Nebbiolo. We have similar soils -- loam (sand and silt mix), mixed with beds of gravel  containing high concentrations of calcium carbonate. And a similar growing season, cool in the spring and fall, hot in the summer. So we decided to roll the dice and plant half an acre. 

Four years later, we have a wine we love. Incredible fragrant and palate pleasing.

We recommend you serve this wine at cellar temperature: 55 degrees.

A highly aromatic Italian white grape varietal, Arneis is a wine you want to linger over. Pour it, and let its aromas of pears, apricots and white flowers fill the air. Sip it and enjoy its citrus notes and fresh acidity. Then relax.

Varietal Composition100% Arneis
AppellationRed Mountain
VineyardCiel du Cheval
Harvest Date09/10/2021
Sugar24.7 Brix
Acid5.5 g/l
FermentationStainless Steel, Cool 65-69°F
Volume750 ml
Bottling Date01/28/2022
Cases Produced108
Country of OriginUNITED STATES
State of OriginWashington

91 Points, Decantur
Clive Pursehouse, 12/2/2022

Arneis from Washington State? It's a rarity, and at Ciel du Cheval they've got a little bit that was planted in 2017 in one of the founding vineyards on Red Mountain. Cotes de Ciel really serves as an incubator for the vineyard itself. This wine has aromatics of beeswax, lemon zest, and hints of ripe stone fruit. Pressed whole cluster the wine has plenty of personality, citrus and stone fruit flavours are accented by minerality and a hint of savoury herbs

Paul Gregutt, May 7, 2022

Winemaker Richard Holmes believes this is the first commercial release of a Washington Arneis. It's rare but not unknown in Oregon. This pure varietal is from a new planting at Ciel de Cheval on Red Mountain. It's tart, tight, sharp and strikingly good. There's a clear focus on citrus and apple fruit and rind. Almost certainly done entirely in stainless, it's balanced throughout with generous acidity and a peppery finish.

91 pts. Owen Bargreen

The 2021 Cotes de Ciel Arneis reveals pear and pink grapefruit blossom on the nose, with shades of wet stone. The palate is fresh and beautifully textured, with good length. Kiwi and starfruit flavors meld well with the earthy undertones. Enjoy now while the tension remains intact. Drink 2022-2025.

19/20 Points, Review of Washington Wines
Rand Sealey, May 2022

Arneis is a white grape grown in the Langhe region of the Italian Piedmont. This is the first Washington version I’ve ever tasted. It displays a brilliant lemon-gold color and intriguing aromas of green pear, quince, Crenshaw melon and lime with scents of apple blossoms, jasmine, lemongrass and wet stone. The flavors are juicy and mouthwatering, accented by grape and apple skins, green tea and Red Mountain calcareous minerals. The vibrancy continues on the back with sensations of pear cider, blanched almonds, melon rind and lime zest, followed by a crisp, persistently minerally finish. For something different in a white, this gets 19/20 points.

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