Steeped in history and tradition that dates back thousands of years, the Armenian viticulture has a few unique traits thanks to its history and terroir. Despite the relatively small territory, the country has a very diverse range of natural conditions.
The climate varies drastically. Summers are hot and dry at some places, while other locations can be more humid in the summer. The altitudes are quite high due to the country being essentially a boiling pot of mountains.
Another key feature is that the soil of some regions is either limestone or of volcanic origin, which lend definite flavors to the grapes, and eventually gives the wines an incredibly unique taste.
All these unique traits combined result in a diverse and special selection of grape varieties.
Sev Areni or Areni Noir
Sev Areni or Areni Noir
Sev Areni or Areni Noir is considered to be the pearl of Armenian grapevines. It is an exquisite and rare indigenous grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera, and its 120 year old fruitful bunches can still be found in the land. Though its homeland is considered Vayots Dzor region, Areni is now cultivated in almost all wine regions. While young, Sev Areni grapes result in wine that has a pronounced acidity and an intense colour, whereas the bouquet contains the delicate aromas of cherry, blackcurrant, and black pepper. After being aged with Armenian oak the wine grows more noble and velvety gaining more sweety and plummy aroma.
The autochthone Armenian red variety Kakhet is a very rare and unique grape variety. Meaning “hanging grape” Kakhet has derived its name from nest to dry over winter. Unlike Areni, Kakhet has a deep red color. Using its own Kakhet grows into a beautifully balanced fruit and berry forward wine while in blends with other prominent red varietals it expresses more complex aromas and flavors with black pepper and smoky notes.
The Tozot variety grows in many old vineyards of Vayots Dzor region. Wines from this grape have a unique and invigorating crispness to them. Opulent and vibrant although, Tozot is rarely used on its own because of its extreme scarcity, whereas in blends with other indigenous and native varietals it takes craft-winemaking into a new level.
Another jewel of Armenian viticulture is Khndoghni grape that allows winemakers to craft exceptional, richly structured wines with tantalizing flavours and complex aromas: real nectar for gods. Wine made from Khndoghni stands out with silky tannins, dark berry and ripe red fruit aromas.
Another beloved variety is known as Haghtanak, which means ‘victory’ in Armenian. It has a slight purple hue and is often used to invigorate other blends. Its bouquet is filled with cherry, blackcurrant, blackberry, plum, vanilla, and cloves. The hints of spice, chocolate, and coffee complete the picture - a true victory of winemaking.
Being an ancient autochthonous Armenian variety, Voskehat is the queen of Armenian whites with a cultivation history of over 3 thousand years. Thanks to the unique characteristics of Voskehat resourceful vintners craft works of art from it. The resulting Voskehat wines have a golden shade with the invigorating aromas of citrus and fresh-cut grass and alpine flowers- a true queen of splendor, grace, and joy.
Yet another rare indigenous Armenian white variety is Khatoun Kharji which is found mainly in Vayots Dzor region. It makes for gorgeous noble wines with vibrant acidity. Dominated by alpine flowers and lively citrus Katoun Kharji has delicate hints of pineapple on the palate.
Garan Demak is an ancient indigenous variety thriving in rocky, semi-desert soils of Armavir Region. Light or full-bodied, wines made from Garan Demak are always luscious and heavenly, with delicate, fruit forward aromas and round texture while the other indigenous white variety Lalvari widely grown in Tavush region, makes mostly sparkling wines and light still beautifully smooth wines with recognizable notes of exotic fruits.
The selection variety Kangun, is one of the abundantly grown white varieties in Armenian viticulture. Kangun is widely used to make not only finely–textured white wines but also tantalizing sparkling wines. With cheerful bouquet of honey, wild flowers, and fruits, wines crafted from Kangun will amaze with beautiful light straw hue, ample freshness and an aromatic stretch packed with creamy and fruity pastries.