In my relentless quest for finding superb Armenian wines, I discovered a few more.
Areni of Maran, 2004, Maran Winery. This Areni is a quite dark, dry wine which features hints of bitter chocolate. Great accompaniment to Roquefort cheese, romaine lettuce, fresh tarragon and lavash crisps.
Areni of Yegheknadzor, 2002, Maran Winery. Perhaps the most satisfying Areni I have had to date. This wine’s bouquet spews out of the bottle the very second the cork is extracted. It flaunts characteristics of black raspberry and rare filet mignon with bernaise sauce. You don’t need to eat anything with this wine, just sip away. It will satisfy the most ravenous souls.
Experimental Wine, Nazaryan Winery, 2007 (private stock). My friend Tigran decided to start experimenting with wine making last year, preparing a batch and storing the wine in large glass containers with long necks. Last winter when visiting Boston he asked me to bring back a considerable supply of wine making necessities, such as corks, bottle labels, contraptions to test the pH balance and sulfites. I have been providing him dozens of empty wine bottles, and in return I received a bottle each of his experimental red and white wines. The white is a bit sweet and I am saving it for cooking. The red however, despite his criticism and mild disappointment, is a very interesting wine, especially good for someone who doesn’t yet quite know what he is doing. It is a semi-sweet, with flavors reminiscent of black currant as well as blueberry and has a dry walnut finish. The more you sip the flavors change, transforming to peach, blackberry, and sour plum. Hopefully he’ll give me some more….
A friend of mine told me about six years ago that the Areni wines produced by Maran Winery are some of the best you can find. In my several years of tasting I have not found any which rival the quality of vintages this winery produces. I have not yet tried older vintages of wines produced by that winery since most are out of my price range. Both of those mentioned above are 1650 dram or about $6. But some of their wines can be purchased for as high as $30, perhaps even more depending on the vintage. The Areni of Yegheknadzor is really great, my favorite Areni so far, actually. These wines, except for Tigran’s, can be found at stores selling fine foods and in some supermarkets across Yerevan.