Dry / Sweet: Dry
Acidity: Medium to high
Age: Drink within a few years of harvest, the best can age for ten years.
Petite Arvine (puh-TEET ARR-vin) is a high quality grape whose origins are obscure and DNA testing has not found any relatives. It has a long history in the Valais region of Switzerland where it is almost exclusively grown today, but it may have originated in the Alpine region of Valle d’Aosta in northwest Italy.
Although the quantity of wine made is small, Petite Arvine is gaining an increasing international reputation as a high quality wine. It is considered the best white grape of the Valais region, where it demands and generally gets the best vineyard sites. These sites are often steep and difficult to work, in addition to which the vines are demanding to grow. Consequently, the wines are expensive to produce.
Petite Arvine makes very individual and characterful dry wines with excellent structure that are full bodied and have good acidity. Aromas of grapefruit, lemon, rhubarb and wisteria are followed by flavors of citrus fruits, honey, mineral notes and a surprising, but characteristic, hint of saltiness on the finish. While it is full and soft, it is also very refreshing.
It is best to drink Petite Arvine within a few years of harvest, although the finest wines can age for up to ten years and gain additional complexity. Petite Arvine is also used to make some medium-sweet and sweet wines from dried grapes.
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