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ZORAH karasi areni noir 2017


zorah’s 100% areni noir is an enchanting red that will test your taste memory with its dizzying number of exotic layers. the wine reveals a gorgeous two-toned ruby, but it’s the aromatics that draw your senses the most. within minutes of opening, it releases an eruption of brambly fruit, petrichor, crushed volcanic stone, and fresh, high-toned violets. allow yourself to get lost in the aromas and they’ll continue revealing new layers: underbrush, mountain herbs, black cherry blossoms, currant, loose tea leaves, black raspberry, sculpting clay, baking spice, and savory white pepper—which continues to build as oxygen hits the glass. the palate is medium-plus bodied and filled to the brim with lush fruit and savory components that ping around your taste buds thanks to the impressive acidity at play. bring over all the wine lovers, history buffs, and geography geeks you know and serve them a glass of this in burgundy stems. remember, “karasì” is such a spectacular wine experience, but it’s much more than a delicious red: it’s an ancient grape and site that could very well be the origin of winemaking.

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    about the producer ZORAH
    zorah was founded in the 2000s by zorik gharibian, an italian-armenian who left a lucrative fashion career in milan to return to his roots. with mount ararat looming in the backdrop, zorik was immediately drawn to the high-altitude, volcanic soils of vayots dzor, so he began building a winery in the rural town of rind and planting various grapes at elevations of 4,600 feet. after years of experimentation, he found that an indigenous grape known as areni noir performed best in this terroir so he began channeling his energy towards it, with the assistance of one of italy’s most prominent winemaking consultants: alberto antonini. as fate would have it, a literal next-door discovery revolutionized everything just a few years later. in the late 2000s, a ucla research team went deep into the highlands of armenia’s vayots dzor and discovered the remains of a 6100-year-old winery, the world’s earliest known wine production site. they found rudimentary wine presses and crumbling fermentation jars, all of which were covered in brittle grape stems/seeds/pips that were traced to, of course, areni noir. amazing! zorik had not only built his winery across the way from the world’s oldest winery, but he was also planting and bottling the very grape they were producing all those millennia ago! all of zorah’s vines have been selected from the cuttings of an unused vineyard located next to a local 13th-century monastery. since these vines are buried in sandy soils and are perched at such a high altitude (around 5,000 feet), all of them are ungrafted, as phylloxera cannot survive in these conditions. after hand-harvesting the areni noir with small baskets in 2016, the grapes were de-stemmed and sent to ferment naturally in epoxy-free concrete tanks. the wine then aged 12 months in amphorae, or karas (karasì = “from amphorae”). these karas are wax-sealed and buried underground to ensure a steady temperature during maturation. afterward, the wine was blended together and bottled, where it aged an additional six months before leaving the winery.