Double gold winner Little Rascal pairs well with variety of dishes
Burbank Ranch Winery recently received gold medals for its 2013 “Little Rascal” Arneis from two prestigious competitions: the 2014 Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition and the 2014 Central Coast Wine Competition, Five County Fairs.
Despite its floral aromatics and appealingly full body, Arneis is a white wine that is too rarely found in New World winemaking. In fact, Burbank Ranch is one of only two known producers of Arneis in the Paso Robles American Viticulture Area (AVA).
“Arneis is called a ‘little rascal’ in Italy’s Piedmont region for being challenging to grow,” said Fred Burbank, proprietor of Burbank Ranch. “In Paso Robles, however, Arneis grows like a weed. It’s surprising that we don’t see more of it here, considering how well it does in this climate and what a terrific wine it produces.”
Typically a medium-to-full-bodied white wine, Arneis is upstaged by Piedmont’s more famous red wines, namely Barolo. But many consumers don’t realize that a small portion of Arneis has historically been used to soften the tannins and concentration of Nebbiolo grapes in Barolo, much like Viognier seasons Syrah in traditional Côte-Rôtie wines from the Northern Rhône. Since the 1990s, varietal Arneis has gained a following for its often gregarious aromas of ripe pear and white blossoms, plush texture and generous weight.
Grapes for the 2013 Burbank Ranch Arneis were harvested from the estate early, in September, and fermented in stainless steel to preserve focus and acidity. The result is a dry, full-bodied white wine with aromas and flavors of bright pear, apple, honeysuckle, and white peach, with a structured, mineral finish.
A perfect transition wine between seasons, Arneis pairs well with a wide variety of dishes, including, notably, the cheese plate at Burbank Ranch Bistro in downtown Paso Robles. The “Little Rascal” Arneis would also beautifully complement a simple pasta dish with butter and fine white truffle shavings or any number of delicate seafood dishes.
The Burbank Tasting Room & Bistro, located at 1240 Park St. in Paso Robles, serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Call (805) 227-4538 or visit www.burbankranch.com for hours and more information.