Debuting Armenian Wines
For this week’s wines, we focus on our first ever Armenian offerings with a fun domestic selection thrown in.
Armenia is a small country bordered by Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. While Georgia is well-known for their skin contact wines, Armenia doesn’t quite have the same reputation. But we think that’s changing as we have been excited to introduce the first wines from Armenia here in Brooklyn. Both of the wines – one a red and the other an orange – surprised us with their finesse. Though robust, they are designed to appeal to an array of curious palettes. That’s why we decided to feature them for this week’s wine tasting.
Though the name of this wine sounds a bit more NASA than it does Armenian, do not understand Aaron Rawlins commitment to the region after he left the US at age 18. Made using 100% Sev Areni, the prized red grape for the country, this wine features a nose of dried red fruits and florals, with rich cherry and raspberry notes into the palette. With hints of earth and leather, it does not become too tannic, however. There is some grip but it is well balanced by acid, making this medium-bodied wine a much cheaper sip of what a natural Burgundy-like vintage can reveal.
As we move into fall, it’d be great with stews and other hearty fare. But it is lithe enough that drinking on its own would not feel stodgy or unpleasant.
Outside of Armenia, Voskehat is a particularly unheard of grape varietal but inside the country his white varietal is considered the crown jewel of the country. Often produced as a skin contact wine, it’s obviously the perfect choice to pick for Orange Wine Week. But it’s also a unique example of how a long maceration on the skins yield a sturdy but quite fruit forward and delicate wine on the skin contact spectrum.
Quite a deep orange color, the wine is dominated by sweet apricot notes and dried apricots notes on the palette that become better integrated as it opens up. There are some tannic wisps that factor in but the wine is not particularly vegetal or harsh. Instead, it manages to exude a balanced acidity and some pleasant grassy notes that showcase a softer side of skin contact wines.
If you’re looking for another example of approachable orange wines, we can’t recommend the Austrian Christina, Chardonnay (2018) enough.
If you’ve read any of our recent blog posts, you can probably tell that we love Division Winemaking Company. And it’s hard not to see why: it a challenge to find really delicious Oregon wines for under $30 that embody some contemporary French winemaking techniques. While their Pinot Noir in carbonic maceration showcased the dusty, earthy, deep fruits, their Les Petits Fers is the perfect embodiment of Gamay, served chilled.
We are particularly in love with the nose on this one, with peppery and thyme notes providing an intoxicating herbal aroma. On the palette, this is all about the juicy cranberry fruit with a smattering of fresh herbs and mineral structure to really lengthen the wine and provide depth. But this is truly the perfectly quaffable red, whether in the comfort of outdoor fire pit or with a Neapolitan pizza. It’s really hard to go wrong with this one!
Until next time, happy sipping! We can’t wait to share the return of our beloved Loire producer François Saint-Lô.