Arneis is a white grape most commonly found in the region of Piedmont in the north west of Italy. It makes up the majority of table whites produced in Roero DOCG and Langhe DOC. Translated into English as "little rascal" it is considered a difficult grape to grow and produces floral, dry and crisp whites. Now grown in several other countries but many still consider the Italian versions to be the best.
Colin Mitchell of Yandoit Hill in Victoria seems to have a solid grasp of the variety:
“Variety is renowned for low acidity, but I find that if harvested at a moderate ripeness, with Baumé in the area of 12.5, the acid levels are good but seem to drop rapidly when extended ripeness is sought. At this stage, the berries become quite bronze and make a decent tablegrape. The grape has a reputation of rapid oxidisation while processing and the wines are generally believed to be short-lived. I think both of these criticisms are a bit over-stated.
It is probably obvious by now that I have a distinct preference or bias for the leaner, fresher, brighter, lower alcohol versions of the variety. Even at a lower alcohol level, 11.5-12.5%, the wines have a textural quality, more pronounced pear and apple characters, an Italian minerality and a slight bitterness on the finish. They make great food wines, especially with vegetable-based or lighter chicken dishes. As the alcohol level increases, wines become similar to Viognier in style. As I stated earlier, both were used historically as a perfuming agent to a red variety. A ripe pear and stone fruit or apricot character takes over from the apple. The palate gains weight considerably and the wines can become a little too viscous and oily."