When we’re discussing the great Old World wine regions it’s sometimes overlooked that Armenia is home to the world’s oldest wine cave, the Areni-1. In 2008, 6,000 years after the first 4100 B.C. vintage in the Vayots Dzor region, the Yacoubian family partnered with Paul Hobbs to make extraordinary wines near that famous cave. And yes, it’s that Paul Hobbs — one of the original Opus One winemakers and one of the most celebrated figures in California wine history.
Yacoubian-Hobbs’ vineyard near the Azerbaijan border in the south of Armenia is a perfect home for the native grape, Areni, thanks to its high altitude and volcanic soils. This expression of the variety is a thrilling one with strong cardamom, cracked black pepper and lamb fat notes. Then it effortlessly concludes with an eloquent finish hinting at melon rind and cacao nibs. It’s a spectacular bottle tying together a modern wine with its most ancient roots.
The 2016 Yacoubian-Hobbs Areni can be found online at wine.com and at Solano Cellars in Albany.