Zorah Karasi Areni Noir (Armenia) 2012
The Areni Noir sourced for Zorah was rediscovered from ancient vines from the abandoned vineyards of a XIII century monastic complex. Originating from the birthplace of viticulture and extremely resistant to disease, this grape's particularity lies in its capacity to adapt perfectly to continental climates and in its very thick skin which, while helping maintain the elegance and freshness of the grape, also protects it from the drastic day/night temperature variations.
The 2012 vintage saw an early Spring followed by a long, hot summer with high daytime temperatures and strong sunlight balanced with fresh cool nights. The resulting wine is a beautiful mix of red and black fruits with intriguing spices with vibrant, velvety and mineral tannins with a long but soft finish.
A marvelous idea began to take shape and never one to follow tradition, Zorik changed his mind about buying a vineyard in Tuscany in favour of returning to his ancestral roots in Armenia. He decided to restore traditional viticultural values with a modern approach and create truly profound wines which would speak of this magical place. It took a dream, time, determination and a team of motivated professionals to make it all come together and after almost ten years of intense work the winery produced its first vintage.
It took one phone call and a flight to Italy to share his vision with famed wine consultant Alberto Antonini. Alberto was intrigued to say the least but wanted to see this for himself. Together they boarded a flight the next day and the rest is in the bottle.
With boundless enthusiasm and unshakable faith Zorik continues to step beyond the dream and take the adventure further. His powerful vision, of creating unique wines of undiluted quality, has become an integral part of the wineries philosophy and with each new chapter of its story Zorah wishes to expose Armenia’s potential in creating wines which rival the best in the world.
Sitting just north of Iran and east of Turkey, Armenia is a mountainous and land-locked ex-Soviet republic. As part of the Transcaucasion region, which includes eastern Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Armenia is among the oldest of wine growing regions. While the prevalence and popularity of Armenian winemaking has evolved over the centuries, the wild vine Vitis vinifera silvestris (an ancestor of today’s Vitis vinifera wine-producing species) has been growing here for over a million years. Today the majority of the grapes grown in Armenia go to Brandy production, but the rising demand for Armenian wine in its most popular market, Russia, is fueling growth of still wine production. Most of the country’s wines come from the regions of Armavir, Ararat and Vayots Dzor. Though Armenia lays claim to hundreds of indigenous varieties, it uses only about 30 for the majority of its wine production, three quarters of which is white. The key white varieties include Chilar, Lalvari and Voskehat; for reds, Kakhet, Areni and Khndogni (also known as Sireni) are the main players.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal and Italy are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.