Just a short time ago, I had to mention the Centenary of the Armenian Martyr’s Day and I had mentioned that I had never had a bottle of wine from Armenia; I have had beer and brandy, just not beer. A couple of years ago, when we were out in Las Vegas visiting the children and grandchildren, my daughter got very excited because it was near my birthday and she presented me with a bottle of wine that she had bought at an Armenian market out there. Alas the wine was from the adjoining country of Georgia and she really thought she had made a coup. As the old saying goes “the best laid plans of mice and men…” With all of the postings on Social Media about the Centenary, my daughter’s mind began revolving. I received a message from her, asking if I was going to be home on a certain day, because there was a package coming that I had to sign for; yes, she can be very cryptic when she desires. It turns out that I had to sign for the package the next day, and since the weather had been cool, after I signed I could hear the tell-tale rattling of a Styrofoam sleeve in the carton and I knew it was a bottle of wine. When I opened the carton up, I discovered that she had found a bottle of wine from Armenia for me, and there was a note enclosed with the shipping that she must have dictated to the person that had taken the order. When I looked at the carton, I had realized that it had not been shipped from Las Vegas, but was from New Jersey and the shipper was WineWorksOnline; my daughter can be quite determined when she wants to be, as I have learned over the years.
I was looking at a bottle of Zorah Karasi 2012 from Rind in Armenia. Karasi means “from amphora” the way that beverages were stored and aged centuries ago in large clay vessels (amphorae). Zorah Karasi and their first wine was a tribute to 6,100 year wine tradition in Armenia. During excavations of “Karmir Blur” or Red Hill near the capital city of Yerevan in Armenia four hundred ancient wine barrels were found. The other more interesting find was in the excavations of Areni-1 cave in the Yeghegnadzor region they found the world’s oldest winery and the first historical evidence of wine making on an industrial scale. The vineyards of Zorah in the small village of Rind are in the heart of Yeghegnadzor region and continue the tradition of the earlier vintners of antiquity.
While some of the wine in Armenia is made from the pomegranate fruit, this wine was made from a grape varietal, and a new one for me, and those that are chasing the Century Club should take notice. Zorah Karasi is made from the Areni Noir grape that is indigenous to Armenia and later on in Turkey as well. It is its own grape, maybe dating back to the time of Noah, because his Ark did land on Mount Ararat the fabled mountain of Armenia. This grape varietal, just like the Armenia language and alphabet are exclusive to the Armenians. The wine has been aged in French and Armenia oak barrels, so I am looking forward to trying this wine, but it has to be with a classic Armenia dish, perhaps a dish that I remember from my youth, that nobody has made for years, because it is labor intense. Just a thought and a warning to my Bride that now my brain is revolving for just the right dish and I have to publicly thank my “favorite daughter” for the gift, and all I need from her now is just a phone call on Father’s Day.