Armenia is a mountainous country and the vineyards are at high altitudes (often over 5,000 feet above sea level). The winters are cold and the summers dry and hot. Over the centuries Armenian grapes have perfectly adapted to these harsh conditions.
Our wines are primarily made from unique Armenian varietals. Many can be found in Janice Robinson's monumental work "Wine Grapes" published by ECCO in 2012 (Janice's spellings are often different from the typical english spelling used by most Armenians).
There are over 100 different indigenous Armenian grape varieties. In Armenia today vintners are experimenting with recapturing these lost treasures and incorporating them into various blends. Below are the main varietals used by our wineries:
Areni: An ancient variety indigenous to the Vayots Dzor region, Areni makes a medium to light bodied red wine featuring red fruit flavors and aromas (cherry, raspberry, cranberry and pomegranate) along with floral and herbal accents. Compare Areni wines to Oregon Pinot Noir.
Haghtanak: (Akhtanak in Wines Grapes) Armenian for "victory", Haghtanak is a relatively modern cross created in the Soviet period from the various Armenian varietals and the Georgian grape Saperavi. It produces a deeply colored juice with high sugar content. When properly cultivated, Haghtanak makes dark wines with black fruit flavors. Compare Haghtanak wines to wines made from Monastrell (also called Mourvédre) grapes, particularly those from Spain.
Kangun: Kangun is another cross created in the Soviet period, this time from the Georgian grape Rkatsiteli and several Armenian varietals. Like Haghtanak, when carefully cultivated, Kangun produces a highly complex medium bodied white wine. Compare Kangun wines to Alsace Pinot Blanc.
Muscat Vardabuyr: Muscat has been grown in Armenia for centuries, most likely brought to the country by Romans during the first century AD. It produces very fragrant white wines which can be fermented dry, partially dry or if late harvested, dessert wines.
Voskehat: (Voskeat in Wine Grapes) Originally from the Ashtarak region, but grown across Armenia, Voskehat is Armenia's most popular white wine grape. The "Golden Grape" makes complex medium bodied wines featuring fruit flavors of kiwi, melon, pineapple and quince with floral and honeysuckle notes. Compare to Chenin Blanc, particularly the wines of Vouvrey.