£15, The Daily Drinker, Fintry Wines, Noble Green Wines, North and South Wines
I recommended a red from the ArmAs winery in my Festive Red Wine Guide 2019 and am delighted to be highlighting another wine from this Armenian winery now. It's an unoaked dry white, but there's also a very good barrel-fermented version.
Exciting as it is simply to be able to drink wines from a region that was making wine more than 6000 years ago, I stress that I'm recommending this on merit – on quality and character, both of which it has in abundance – not on its place in history or its quirkiness.
Made entirely from the indigenous Voskehat grape, fermented in stainless steel and aged on its lees with weekly batonnage for eight months, the wine is dry, lively and expressive with lovely chewiness (substance but not fat) and flavours of apricot, fresh aromatic herbs and white blossom mingling with spice, lime and minerals. You can drink it as an aperitif but it has the body and structure for food: there are plenty of possibilities but herbed or spiced fish or chicken, dolma (see my easy recipe), meze and other Middle Eastern dishes are somewhere to start. 13.5%
A word on the winery and region: ArmAs, founded by Armen Aslanyan, is a 180-ha estate of vineyards and orchards on the 45th parallel. The vineyards lie at a lofty 700–1,900 metres asl on volcanic, limestone and clay soils and, while summers are hot and sunny, winters are cold. The vines are ungrafted.
ArmAs Voskehat 2018, Aragatsotn Province, Armenia