3 minutes reading time (535 words)

D&D Petite Arvine 2013

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Daniela Dellio brings us this bottle of dry white wine from Italy. This is a strident wine. Pear and apple on the nose and palate and a medium acidity that sparks. Organic practices are followed on the farm. And this is a farm in the truest sense of the word, cows, etc. Love of love in that bottle! If you like Picpoul, this is a good choice for you. A little pricey but worth it.

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From Fringe Wine: Today's post is hardest kind of post to write.  I've this really cool, rare grape to write about and my research keeps coming up with nothing.  Sure, there's a sentence here or there about Petite Arvine, but there isn't all that much of substance.  Sometimes I get lucky with these things and find out that there's some kind of controversy or interesting mystery about a grape, but with Petite Arvine, there just doesn't seem to be anything like that. I could, of course, just ignore the grape and move on, but I bought two bottles of this stuff and am going to find some way to make use of them.  So, without further ado, here's what I was able to find about Petite Arvine.

Petite Arvine's origins are mysterious, but unfortunately that's all they are.  The grape is thought to be native to Switzerland and one source claims that it has been grown in the Valais regions of Switzerland since 1602, while anothersource dates it to 1878.  The 1878 date is important, as it is when the International Ampelographic Society met in Geneva and decided that Petite Arvine was a unique grape not found anywhere else in the Valais or in the world.  It is this article that people point to when trying to establish a Swiss origin for the grape, but without knowing exactly how thorough their search was, it's hard to say how credible their statement is.  The grape is also known today in the Valle d'Aosta of Italy and some source say that the grape is actually named for the Arve valley around Savoy where the grape is thought to have entered the Valais region, possibly from the Valle d'Aosta.  In either case, the grape almost certainly has Alpine origins and today is found virtually nowhere other than the Valais and the Valle d'Aosta.

The grape's parentage is a mystery as well.  Petite Arvine was thought to be closely related toAmigne for some time, but recent DNA testing has shown that they may not be that closely related after all.  It does seem to be distantly related to Prié Blanc, Premetta and possibly Chasselas.  The grape is commonly known as Arvine these days, though the Petite Arvine name was necessary for many years to differentiate it from another grape known as Grosse Arvine (or sometimes Arvine Grande) which has larger berries and which makes wine of a much lower quality.  Today, Grosse Arvine is practically extinct (it does not exist in cultivation but only in grape collections) so the distinction isn't as important. The two grapes are related, but not as closely as their names might have you believe.  Confusingly, both Arvine and Arvine Grande are synonyms for Silvaner, which is not related to either Petite Arvine or Grosse Arvine. 

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