Updated: Mar 15
Vayots Dzor, Armenia
I love Armenian brandies, so I had quite high expectations when I bought this bottle of Armenian nectar. It is a 100% Areni Noir, a thick skinned grape cultivated at 1400m asl in the region of Vayots Dzor. The wine ferments in temperature controlled rough concrete vats using indigenous yeast. Then the divine juice ages for 12 months in the karas, that is the typical clay amphora. Some of these karasi are buried in the ground, while others are above the ground. After very light filtration the wine is bottle and aged for around six months. The bottle protecting this nectar is really nice; the natural cork is protected with white wax. Kenaced!
In the glass the wine has a ruby colour. The intensity is medium. It is clear with no traces of deposits.
The aromas intensity is medium plus. There are hints of black cherry, prune, kirsch and preserved fruits. The flavours of pepper, liquorice, and violet make the aromatic palette even more thrilling. As secondary aromas, there are notes of dark chocolate, vanilla and cedar. Elegant leather and a virile forest floor are the clearer tertiaries.
In the mouth, the wine is dry with a high level of acidity and medium plus tannins. The alcohol is high (i.e. 14%). The flavour intensity while the finish is long. On the palate, the violet is more intense. There are hints of cloves, charred wood, tobacco and coffee. Above all, I am really surprised by the cardamom flavour. As tertiaries, new notes of mushroom, meat, dried cranberry and earth delight our taste buds.
I like this wine. It is rich but not byzantine. The flavours are elegant and really vibrant. The wine is nice by its own but even the perfect companion for a steak tartare or charcuterie. If you decide to drink this nectar now, uncork at least an hour before or even better use a decanter.