World’s Highest Wine Launch Takes Place on Mount Ararat Decanter
The world’s highest wine launch took place last weekend, August 8, on the peak of Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.
At a height of 5,137 meters, Zorik Gharibian, winemaker at Armenia’s Zorah Wines, launched their new cru wine, Yeraz. Gharibian was joined on the expedition to the top of Mount Ararat, the national symbol of Armenia (although now located in Turkey) by Masters of Wine Caroline Gilby and Tim Atkin.
Yeraz is the latest in the range of Zorah Wines made from vineyards of the ancient and indigenous grape Areni Noir, planted at 1,600 meters above sea level in the rural village of Rind in the heart of Yeghegnadzor, Armenia’s main grape growing region.
The wine, described by Gilby as having “a lovely ethereal nose and fine, elegant, pure lingering flavors” owes its character to the grape’s original genome which has been preserved for centuries due to the area’s remoteness, absence of Phylloxera and isolation from modern agriculture during the Soviet era. Gilby likened Yeraz to
“something like a blend of Cru Burgundy mixed with top Sangiovese in character, but with its own distinctive hints of spice and crushed raspberry.”
Speaking about the experience at the summit, Gharibian said, “It has long been my dream to climb Mount Ararat as it is such an important symbol to my country. The name of the wine Yeraz means ‘dream’ so it seemed fitting.”
The journey to the mountain’s peek also saw the planting of three vines of Areni Noir at 2,700 meters above sea level, making them the highest vines outside of South America.
While their viability at that altitude remains to be seen, Gilby said it was “a fitting act to bring vines back to this site where biblical stories claim Noah planted grapes after the Flood.”