Discovering: Zorah wines
Welcome to my latest discovery of Armenian wines. In this post, I share my discovery of Zorah wines.
I came across Zorah wines back in October 2020 when I took part in a virtual wine tasting organised by 67 Pall Mall. We tasted 5 samples: 2018 Zorah Karasí Areni Noir, 2017 Zorah Voskì Voskeat Garandmak, 2012 Zorah Yeraz, 2013 Zorah Yeraz and 2014 Zorah Yeraz. Recently, I listened to the podcast I’ll Drink to That! featuring Zorik Gharibian, owner and founder of Zorah winery and this inspired me to see if I could purchase their wines in the UK. A number of independent UK wine sellers stock Zorah wines but I was really surprised (and pleased) to find that one of their red wines was being sold by UK supermarket retailer Waitrose Celler. To see how fast they would arrive, I ordered, 2018 Zorah Karasi Areni Noir from Waitrose Celler and 2017 Zorah Voski from online wine merchants, VINVM. Both wines arrived the day after I placed the orders.
Zorik is a diasporan Armenian who fell in love with his ancestral homeland during his first visit as a tourist in 1998. Zorik lived and worked in Italy in the fashion industry but had a passion for wine. It took 3 years of searching for the location of his vineyard and he eventually purchased land in Vayotz Dzor. The wine maker is Winemaker Alberto Antonini and viticulturalist, Stefano Bartolomei.
Zorah has 15 hectares of vineyards, situated in the small rural village of Rind in the heart of Vayats Zor. The vineyards are a stone throw away from Areni 1 cave, a 6,100 year old winery.
2018 Zorah "Karasi" Areni Noir
Grapes: Areni 100%
Region: Vayots Dzor
This wine is made with the indigenous grape Areni Noir which is a thick skinned grape and resistant to disease. This wine has been aged in clay amphora for around 12 months and then after filtering spent a further six months ageing in bottle before release. In the glass, you get a beautiful ruby red. On the nose, it is initially restrained with what seems to be just earthy smells. I quickly realised it had to be decanted and I am so glad I did this as after half an hour, it started to show its character with aromas of cherry, dark plum, blackberry and herbs. In the mouth, you get many waves of flavours as it continues to develop: the red and black fruits are enhanced with peppery and earthy notes in the background. It is a full bodied complex wine and definitely worth trying, especially with food.
Great with meat dishes such as lamb, beef, meat topped pizza. We had this wine with lamb for our Easter lunch. You can read my post about this pairing here.
A very interesting wine with so many flavours. Definitely worth trying with food, especially at a special gathering with friends and family.
2017 Zorah "Voski"
Grapes: 50% Garandmak, 50% Voskeat
Region: Vayots Dzor
As I remembered from the virtual wine tasting, this is an excellent wine and I am so glad I bought it. It is made of the indigenous grapes, Garandmak and Voskeat. Voski means "gold" in Armenian and in the glass it has a golden colour. On the nose, the aromas are green apples, pear, white flowers. In the mouth, there is honey, peach, apples and pear and hazelnut. A joy to drink.
This would go well with fish dishes and cheese. We enjoyed this on Easter Sunday with various cheese - see my post on Easter. I would also like to give it a go with a simple macaroni cheese or even my mum's Cypriot pasta bake, makaronia tou fournou.
I loved this wine the first time I tried it and I love it even more the second time round. Try it, it is superb.