Okay, show of hands – who knows anything about the Armenian Genocide?
I admit that prior to my recent trip to this gem of a country, I was woefully ignorant for the most part. I had heard about it, but had no real idea as to the extent of systematic evil that took place between 1915 and 1918. It’s estimated that approximately 1.5 million Armenians were abducted, massacred, tortured and starved by The Young Turks. Their properties were expropriated; their families and way of life, destroyed.
Today there are about 3 million Armenians in Armenia and 8 million living around the world; the diaspora is thriving and strong. And what a resilient, hospitable and generous people they are; during my brief visit, no fewer than 3 people in as many days offered me cell phone numbers and all forms of assistance including accommodation should I run into any difficulties.
One evening, while watching the Dancing Fountains at Republic Square in Yerevan, an American Armenian woman, Sona K., shared her family’s soul crushing story with me. When I thanked her for telling me about her father’s escape and her grandmother’s fall into mental illness (all too common, unsurprisingly), she remarked she is happy to do so; she wants people to understand the experiences Armenians survived, and how proud and strong they have remained.
At this point, you’re wondering – I thought this was a wine blog. Fear not. Armenian winemaking has also survived and has an equally long and proud tradition – they’ve been making wine here in the literal cradle of civilization for 6,100 years which has been archaeologically proven to be significantly longer than anywhere else on the planet.
This dry white wine, Takar is made from the Kangun grape, appropriately named for its leaves that stand straight up instead of lying down (kangun means ‘to stand’). It struck me that the ‘standing up’ echoes the resilience shown by the Armenian people.
Takar Kangun is medium lemon with a fragrant nose of peach and apricot, white jasmine flowers with honeysuckle and a sprinkling of dried herb.
The palate is dry with juicy medium plus acidity and average, unobtrusive alcohol. Flavours include more peach and apricot with ripe pear, light (but not bitter) kernel, dried grass and more nuanced white flowers. The finish is solid.
Beautifully elegant and delicate, yet fruity, this has a nose that’s well balanced with the layered flavours. On a blind tasting, one might think it’s a well-crafted Viognier.
WSET Very Good