Armenia is the oldest wine producing nation in the world with the discovery at Areni of winemaking vessels 6,100 years old although the wild vine was established there over one million years ago. Recently there has been a renaissance with the emergence of new vineyards and state-of-the-art equipment.
The Club is delighted that Charles Masraff, founder of Armenian Wine Importers, will tutor a top selection. Charles spent five years in Yerevan from 2006. Sparkling Keush with its crisp citrus flavours starts our tasting. It is made from two ungrafted varietals – Khatoun Karji and Voskehat – grown on rich volcanic soil at 1,800m, the vineyards are the highest in Armenia and among the most elevated in the world.
Two stylish whites follow from the 2015 harvest: Koor (from the indigenous Voskehat vine grown on the Continental highlands of volcanic sediment and limestone) and Karas (which is a skilful blend of Chardonnay, Kangun, Rkatsiteli and Viognier). The latter is made by a top Argentine oenologist, guided by the noted Michel Rolland.
Areni Noir from the Trinity Canyon Vineyards at 1,300m is the source of Trinity 6100 Rose 2015, grown on volcanic soil with a high gravel and sand content. Its strawberry aromas and crisp, dry red wild berry taste ensure beautiful balance Four stylish reds will be shown. Koor 2015 is made from Areni and the more tannic Sireni grapes. Hand-harvested, the grapes are table sorted and cold macerated prefermentation.
Sireni grapes grown on the slopes of Togh (600-700m)are used for both Kataro 2015 and Kataro Reserve 2014. The latter is late-harvested and aged in Caucasian oak barrels for 12 months.
Finally, Karas Red 2015 from the Armavir region will be shown: a stunning blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Kndoghni and Montepulciano grapes.Andy M has come up with a spare ticket so that is where I will be tomorrow evening. That is pleasant surprise out of the blue. It is just a short walk from Bank tube station; a simple trip there and back on the Northern line. All good.