Armenian Pomegranate Wine
It's not common knowledge that wine can be crafted from not just grapes, but other berries and fruits as well. The winemakers of Armenia have honed this art to perfection, particularly with their acclaimed pomegranate wine. In this sunny Transcaucasian country, the lush, sweet pomegranate stands as a symbol of fertility, prosperity, and wealth. Pomegranate-themed souvenirs abound in every tourist hotspot, reflecting the Armenians' deep love and reverence for this natural bounty. And, of course, as avid wine enthusiasts, they proudly showcase their innovative pomegranate-infused creations to the world.
The Armenian pomegranate, grown in unique natural conditions, holds distinctive properties. The sharply continental climate, marked by hot summers and mild winters, allows the pomegranate fruit to naturally sweeten. Similar to grape varieties, pomegranate flavors differ across regions due to diverse growing conditions. Pomegranates cultivated in the Ararat Valley are particularly renowned for their sweetness and juiciness.
The process of crafting wine from pomegranates mirrors that of traditional Armenian wines. Just like with grapes, the freshly squeezed juice—along with seeds and pulp—undergoes primary fermentation, imparting a richer, more robust flavor to the wine. However, Armenian pomegranate wine is often fermented largely without impurities, with skins and seeds added in modest amounts to infuse spicy undertones.
To prevent the pomegranate wine from turning sour, oxygen access to the container is entirely restricted, and the room temperature is meticulously regulated. The finished must is then strained, followed by an initial tasting by the winemakers. Subsequently, the Armenian pomegranate wine is transferred to oak barrels for infusion, where it acquires its final bouquet. The resulting pomegranate wine typically ranges in alcohol content from 12 to 16%.
Distinctive Traits of the Wine
Armenian pomegranate wine boasts unique aromatic and taste profiles. Beyond the vivid flavor of pomegranate juice, you'll discern subtle notes of vanilla, cherries, dried fruits, and almonds. The aftertaste may reveal hints of oak bark and tobacco leaf. Interestingly, the color of pomegranate wines isn't always a deep red—it can span from light brown to dark purple, depending on the pomegranate variety and growing conditions. The sweetness of the wine directly correlates with the ripeness of the fruit, and in some instances, if the beverage isn't sweet enough, its flavor can be adjusted using natural sweeteners.
When tasting Armenian wines, don't miss out on the pomegranate variant. It just might become one of your new favorites.