Saveur: Armenian Wines...Going Down the Tubes

Just got my latest Oct/Nov Saveur magazine.

There is a very interesting/lengthy article in it regarding the rebirth of the Armenian wine industry. The Areni-1 cave, being explored by NationalGeographic folks, appear to be the oldest artifact of the ancient wine industry…the birthplace of winemaking. The find, made in 2007, dates back 6,100 yrs. There are some interesting images here:

I remember tasting those wines well. Unfortunately, I don’t have a TN or BloodyPulpit…we only spoke in grunts & hand gestures…writing hadn’t been invented yet…the InterNet was a ways down the road.

Unfortunately…the revival of the modern Armenian wine industry is being led by PaulHobbs and some Armenian brothers from LA (the SoCal one). Paul is, of course, a totally un-natural/manipulative/Monktown-pleasing winemaker that would be my last choice to re-vitalize the Armenian wine industry. At their winery, they’ve planted Cabernet/Merlot/Chard, so they don’t have to use those pesky local varieties, like Areni or Sveni. It describes roadside stands selling local wines in plastic jugs, fortified w/ vodka. Now that’s the kind of wine they should be making & exporting if the want the Armenian wine industry to thrive. I’d buy!!

Anyway…it’s a very good read. Not on-line, so you have to buy the magazine off the newstand or your local Borders.

Well it seems they are trading homogeneity for $$ and probably faster recognition in export markets…its hard enough to build a market for unacceptable regions even with big time consultants.

It’s a sad reality but that’s what it will take to find these on more than a couple highly spread out store shelves (I for one would like for these winery owners to be able to put food on the table).

I have a feeling his input will only take the wines so far from their roots, which might make for a good way to gradually introduce them to a skeptical market. Guess we’ll see!

Sorta my same thoughts too, Blake. Does the World need another Merlot…even if it is from Armenia?? OTOH…the Armenian terroir might raise
Merlot to a whole nuther level above what Pomerol/StEmilian can do with it. Who knows??

Sorta like the Macedonian Tikves Vranac wine. Consultant is PhillpeCambie. Tastes for all the World like another soupy/goopy/overblown CdP. Sad.

It doesn’t… But maybe it could be another avenue for old school st Emilion or something… Or maybe the next Edi Simcic will come out of there. I do think he will bring them more money than without him which can lead to more investment where it counts (well, in a perfect world at least). Granted, I do love me some overblown wines, but we do need variety and interesting things being made to keep some the major regions in their toes. Regional takes on international varietals can also be quite thrilling to taste through.

Grand Liquors in Queens, NY, used to have eight or ten Armenian wines. i remember reading the back label on one that advertised that Michel Rolland was a consultant. So much for reviving tradition, I figured.