This is the last of my notes on the Armenian wines that I tasted at a charity event and the evening was fun. I have also had time to think about the affair and the wines a bit more and I will get to my additional thoughts in a while. Armenia for those that do not know the country, is predominately mountains and basically over 1,000 meters above Sea Level. The climate encompasses very hot summers and freezing winters. The soil is basically volcanic and limestone with ground waters located very deep below the ground, which makes all plants struggle for growth. Grapes have grown historically over the bulk of the country, but not in a serious winemaking structure. There are currently about forty wineries now in Armenia and the almost ninety percent of the concerns are located in the Ararat, Armavir, Aragatsotn and Vayots Dzor regions and not surprisingly these are historically known for viticulture.
Voskeni Wines are located at Sardarapat, Ararat Valley and is a family owned and managed winery. The vineyard was founded by the elder family forefather Smbat Mateossian, a businessman from Boston who moved to Armenia in the early 1920’s. He dreamed of having his own winery, but his property was confiscated by the Bolsheviks. His family in 2008 has come full circle and bought the vineyard and are intent on creating the wine that Smbat Mateossian dreamed of. Voskeni Wines Dry Red Areni Noir Vayots Dzor 2016 was very light in the tannins and my initial notes refer to this wine as “off.”
As I have had time to ponder my notes and to reassess the reactions of the people that I talked to, I am going to say that my notes of “off” were from trying to compare the wines to the known varietals that I and most of the other wine tasters were used to. This was the first time for one of the wineries and for the others, if it wasn’t the debut, it was close and these are very young vines, so by nature the wines will be lighter in taste and texture. Also because of the archaic structure of the wine industry in Michigan, most of these wines were expedited at the last minute for this tasting and that is never good for wines. As I looked back at my impromptu tasting table, it was not as organized, nor were the wines offered in a curated manner. I think that as I get a chance to taste more wines from Armenia and not in such an impromptu manner, and as the vines mature, the wines will get better marks and notes and more universal acceptance. I went in, with great expectations and left with some hesitations, and I remember my first time trying wines in Michigan thirty or forty years ago, I think I was in the same position, and now I am an avid fan of the winemaking in this state, and I am sure that Armenia will reach that same plateau soon enough, and it gives me a reason to try the celebrated Zorah Karasi, not to mention that I will eventually catch up with my cousin and hear her reviews.