04 Ugo Lequio, Langhe Arneis
It's wine like this that means Italy to me. Despite all the great Baroli and Barbaresci--perhaps the most noble of all wines--made just beside these Roero hills in Piedmont, despite the barberas made just south in Alba, it's the unadulterated presence of Italy's table whites that make them, to me, amongst the country's most enjoyable everyday wines. And, tasting the Lequio arneis, it's no surprise that such wines have occasionally been blended with nebbiolo to make Langhe's reds, the way roussane, marsanne, and viognier are often blended into the reds of Rhone. The perfume is like that of pear tarts keeping warm in the oven, with more pastry and dry salted pears on the palate and a strong surge of lemony acidity to finish. A waxy body infused with citrus, fuller than you might expect, calls on Oregon pinot gris or the cortese-based wines of neighboring Gavi. It ends tart and chalky, begging for shrimp, crawdads, trout, or a foggy, crisp country morning.