A new day, a new wine to try. Yesterday, I got to try Petite Arvine at my favorite wine shop, Half Moon Bay Wine & Cheese. I was in the mood to try things I’d never tried before. So, I started with a Sparkling Albarino – YUM! Followed by an Italian Arneis – a little wild but good. Followed by Petite Arvine. I’d like to share with you what I learned about this very interesting wine.
Where Does the Grape Come From?
Petite Arvine is a white grape variety grown mainly in Valais, Switzerland (where it has grown since the 1600s) and Italy’s Valle d’Osta region (where it has grown since the 1970s), which is very near to Switzerland. Petite comes into the name, because the grapes are very small.
About Petite Arvine
France44 calls Petite Arvine the best grape you’ve never heard of. Wow! Tell me more.
Author Hailey White says “It’s crisp and refreshing, still bright enough to not be a full-on switch from the high acid, mouth puckering whites that we all crave in the heat of the summer. At the same time, it has an incredible, rich ripeness of fruit and a creaminess to the mouthfeel that makes you think, ‘Okay, maybe I am alright with the impending cooler weather… Sweater weather isn’t so bad.'”
According to LesVinsDuValais, “It is a delicate grape, sensitive to wine, and it ripens late. As a result, it demands the most exposure to sun, but preferably not in overly dry soil. Arvine gives a complete range of wines, each as equisite and interesting as the last: the nervy dry version with its aromas of wisteria and grapefruit; the slightly sweet Petite Arvine with notes of rhubarb, and the many sweet flétris wines, often exceptionally concentrated, with very intense aromas of a wide variety of exotic fruits [pineapple, mango, passion fruit and grapefruit].”
The wine is complex, concentrated, virile and intense. The rhubarb notes often come through, while the acidity can be high. The true signature of Petite Arvine is its subtle iodine-like character. I don’t know what iodine smells or tastes like, so I didn’t pick up on that in the wine I tried.
More About This Grape
I learned from Italy Board that the grape is known as the “grape of the glaciers,” because it does well in high altitudes. They go on to say that Petite Arvine is a variety that is characterized by high intensity and pleasantness of its wines, as well as an inclination to aging.
Even though Italy hasn’t. been known for this grape for very long, some of their wines are the most popular. The Grosjean family have had noteworthy success with Petite Arvine over the years.
The Wine I Tried
The wine I tried was a 2020 Ernest Vineyards wine from Mendocino. According to the Ernest Vineyards website, the wine is a beautiful pale golden color, aromatically quite subdued with subtle hints of minerals, melons, pears, and an indescribable alpine forest freshness. A palate of delightful elements and flavor compounds, ranging from honeydew, sour apples, sweet oranges, and herbs. A rare grape for California, it originally hails from the Vallais region of Switzerland.
If you haven’t yet tried this wine, I highly recommend that you do so. Cheers!