When I got the mailer for the Armenian wine tasting “A Toast to the Vine” I originally thought that there was only going to be wines from one winery. I knew that it was going to be a charity event to raise money for The Armenian Home for the Aged and one never knows if one will need a service like that. I also knew that they were going to have a raffle ticket for an Armenian Wine Trip, which sounds glamorous, but I declined, because I don’t think that I could get around with the scant Armenian that I know, and that most of it was an almost hundred year dialect of Western Armenia and the wine country is in what was known as Eastern Armenia. I probably could have survived, but I knew that there were others that would truly enjoy that trip.
The reason that I thought only one winery would be featured was because the mailer said “Alex and Talar Sarafian of Sarafian Vineyards, Armenia will talk about wines of Armenia and the upcoming launch of Aran Wines this Fall.” They were a charming couple to talk to and they were so fortunate to have their two wines on the same table. The Sarafians have been in viticulture in the developing region of Artsakh since 2005 and the have planted fifteen acres in the Askeran plains. According to legend the two river valleys Kur and Arax in Artsakh were among the first to be settled by the descendants of Noah. A local chieftain named Aran was appointed by the Second Century (AD) Armenian King Vagharsh I to be governor of the land. Folk etymology holds that the name Artsakh is derived from “Ar” (Aran) and “tsakh” (woods or garden).
The Sarafians brought with them two of the three wines that will be making their debut. The first wine was the Aran Rosé Sireni 2018. The Sarafian Vineyard only grows one varietal at the time and it is the Sireni or Kndoghni grape. The Sireni grape is indigenous to Armenia in the Artsakh region and is deep in color and richness and is used for wines and Brandies. This wine was aged for twelve months in Stainless Steel and I found it refreshing with a pinkish-salmon color with a soft nose. The Aran Dry Red Sireni 2018 was also aged for twelve months in Stainless Steel, it had a very deep color, but the nose and finish were surprisingly on the soft side, as I expected a bit more fruit, but it did sound like they had rushed the wines to Detroit, so perhaps they had not settled down from their flight. There is a third Aran wine that was not at the tasting and it may still be in the finishing stages and that is the Aran Dry Red Reserve Sireni 2018 that was aged in Caucasian Oak for twelve months and perhaps the oak may bring out some of the complexity of the Sireni grape.