As people scramble to do last minute food shopping there's a
few wines I recommend for those celebrating 2013 in Yerevan this season.
Here's a list, in no particular order of preference:
Cadet d'Oc Cabernet Sauvignon, Baron Philippe de Rothschild,
2010. This is a lovely fragrant red, available at your neighborhood Star
Supermarket. It's great to drink as-is, with a plate of assorted cheeses or a
hearty meal. And for 2690 dram (about $6.70), you can't go wrong at all. By the
way, if you love French wine SAS now offers a great selection with prices
ranging from $10 to $500+ (no joke).
Karas, Armavir Vinyards, 2011. This premium Armenian wine costs
a little more than the aforementioned Cabernet. Karas is hands down one of the
best domestically produced bottled wines I've tasted here. There is absolutely
no unappetizing vinegary aftertaste that you find in many Arenis and semi-dry
wines. It's a real European-class wine made in small batches, which means it's
not all that easy to find, although SAS and even Nor Zovk (on Nalbandyan
Street, on the block between Tumanyan and Sayat Nova) seem to carry it in good
supply. There is also a Karas white,
which I've only seen once on the store shelf and have yet to taste.
Cuvée del Centenario, La Caccatoria. An unpretentious, crisp
refreshing Italian white (shouldn't they all be that way?) that naturally should
be served chilled. But be careful, as the taste is so delicate you will be
downing it faster than you can pour. Better buy two bottles if you're aiming
for only one. At 1700 dram ($4.50) a pop at Nor Zovk, you won't be complaining
about the cost. There is only a handful of Nor Zovk supermarkets, the largest
one I know of being in Aresh on Davit Bek Street for those who know their way
around town. They have a great imported beer selection at that
I still stand behind Chateau Voskevaz and Artsakh Shushi
wonderfully unique wines that are still hard to locate but not impossible.
As a precaution I would stay away from store-bought Arenis,
although you may fare well with one from Maran Winery so long as you let it
breathe for at least twenty minutes before pouring. I can't recommend any
particular vintage since it's hit or miss--you'll either love it or pour it
down the drain.
One source has told me that many companies are actually
bottling wine imported from China and selling it as Areni or whatever else, so
keep this in mind. This explains why Areni I once tried offered by two totally
different "wineries" tasted exactly the same.
Happy drinking, and enjoy the New Year!