Here’s our assessment of the overall quality of the wines from the last three vintages:
2017: Above Average Quality: 2017 had a mild winter and a hot dry summer. Grape yields were average. Compared to 2018, grape sugar levels were a little lower and acidity a little higher which should lead to well-structured wines.
2016: Average Quality: After a very cold winter, low yields were expected in 2016. Then a series of summer hailstorms hit several vineyards, resulting in damaged grapes and in even lower yields. As a result, less wine was made in 2016 and grape selection was key for winemakers wanting to make quality wines in 2016.
2015: Average Quality: 2015 started with another cold winter and a late Spring. Compared with 2014, the 2015 vintage produced wines with slightly lower concentration and acidity.
When making broad generalizations about Armenian vintages, it’s important to note that the overall assessment of the vintage doesn’t always correlate to the quality of the wine in the bottle:
- First, the sample size is very low. It’s much easier to rate a Bordeaux vintage where over 100 Chateau’s are producing classified wines, but in Armenia there are just over 20 wineries consistently making quality table wines.
- Second, there can be significant climate differences in each of Armenia’s four main grape production regions (Aragatsotn, Ararat, Vayots Dzor and Artsakh). In addition, each grower has their own approach to vineyard management. As a result, there will be very different levels of grape quality arriving at every winery’s door regardless of the overall assessment of the harvest.
- Third, each winery makes its own grape selection prior to fermentation and of course each winery has its unique approach to turning the grapes into wine.
- Finally, the Armenian wine industry is still in its infancy – most wineries still have less than 5 vintages of experience. The young winemakers are learning and improving with each harvest how to get the best out their grapes. We fully expect the 2018 vintage to produce better wines than 2017 (the two harvests are of similar quality) simply because the wineries are getting better at their craft every year.