Hit & Miss: Vietti 2016 Roero Arneis with Thai Sweet & Sour Tofu & Steamed Salmon with Asparagus, Ginger & Basil
Wine: Vietti 2016 Roero Arneis
Origin: Piedmont, Italy
Taste: Astonishingly aromatic with tones of white peach, this is one of the more dynamic Arneis I have ever tasted. It is almost plush with stone fruits. Thank goodness it isn’t relegated to the more simple, lemony flavors of many of its compatriots. Definitively medium-bodied, there is good palate oomph here to carry weightier dishes, even when there are carbs accompanying sweeter elements. With the wildly aromatic direction of this wine, I am thinking mostly about Southeast Asian food. Still, there’s just enough of an Old World finish to round out the flavors with savory spices. In fact, there is so much white pepper spice and energetic verve here that, while it has the solid complexity to work beautifully with many dishes at the table, it is absolutely brilliant on its own.
Expectation: Roero Arneis can be all up-front aroma with no follow-through on the palate. This one is distinctively different. That isn’t only because Vietti was the first to bottle this long-lost variety as a varietal wine all the way back in 1967. (Yep, old vines help give depth of flavor.) Regardless, I was looking for a dynamically long finish to complement this incredibly up-front and expressive wine. This wine delivered.
Hit: Thai Sweet & Sour Tofu
This dish and the wine smelled like heaven together thanks to their effusive aromatics. The palate worked out beautifully, too. The creaminess of the tofu and the oily texture of the dish made for a nice juxtaposition with the wine’s creamy mid-palate followed by its pleasant lift on the finish. Moreover, and again, it was – more than anything – all about evocative aromas meeting more of their kind.
Miss: Steamed Salmon with Asparagus, Ginger & Basil
My gut said this would be a hit! It almost was…alas, despite the wine’s 13.5% alcohol… the weight of the uncutuous salmon over-whelmed the wine. That said, with a tiny bite of salmon, a scoop of the rest of the dish worked brilliantly! This, despite the fact the salmon was only lightly seared and still tender on the inside. Perhaps an artic char – much milder in flavor but similar in texture – might pair better?