Armenian Pomegranate Wine, Vodka and Liqueur

By George Brozowski

I don't usually associate all the words in the above title together. As a matter of fact, until Edgar Vardanian, the founder and owner of Ararat Import Export LLC provided us with samples, to tell the truth, I wasn't all that familiar with the creation of wine and spirit products through the healthy pomegranate.

A Little Pomegranate History
As it turns out, the pomegranate is historic in origin and today is considered a super food. The pomegranate can be traced back to the Bronze Age and ancient Persia and has been cultivated in Georgia, Armenia and the Mediterranean region for several millennia. The word "pomegranate" derives from the Latin pomum ("apple") and granatus ("seeded"). Its super food status comes from the abundant polyphenols called punicalagins found in its juice. Laboratory studies have shown these to have potent free-radical scavenging properties that increase plasma antioxidant capacity. Preliminary laboratory research and human pilot studies indicate that pomegranate juice has been found effective in reducing heart disease risk factors, artherosclerosis, osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease, lowers systolic blood pressure and may even be effective against prostate cancer. The juice may also have antiviral and antibacterial effects against dental plaque.

About Ararat Import Export LLC
Edgar Vardanian is an Armenian living in Charlotte, North Carolina who grew up in Armenia enjoying the many forms of distilled pomegranate juice. The former ballet dancer met future partner Heather Eberhardt while working together in the Carolina Ballet Company when they decided to travel to Edgarís home country. It was there that Heather fell in love with the pomegranate based products and persuaded Edgar to import them into the United States.

According to Edgar, people in Armenia are renowned for their longevity and he attributes this to their love of the pomegranate. They also import numerous other products such as Armenian brandy, and wines from Spain, Chile and Argentina. Imports are currently available in 20 states and growing.

Armenian Viniculture Background
Armenia's viniculture history goes back past Biblical times, however Noah of Biblical Ark fame is credited with establishing the first vineyard in the Ararat Valley after the Flood. Excavations in this area have lent strong support to the theory that some of the very earliest systematic wine-growing did indeed arise here.

Industrial wine production in Armenia started in the 1870's. Armenian wine production was greatly developed during Soviet times and before 1995 the wine industry was represented only by state-owned wineries. Since then, however, fourteen out of thirty wineries have been privatized. There are currently 15,000 hectares of vineyards in Armenia.

The tasting panel at Food & Beverage International was privileged to sample some of these pomegranate centered Armenian products featured below:


Tasting Notes:
ReVah Pomegranate Liqueur is very reminiscent of a young port wine with a similar nose filled with the enticing aromas of ripe currants, raspberries, smoke and leather with a bright undertone of the pomegranate. It is a deep muted earthy red to purple in color and is 20% alcohol by volume. This liqueur would make a wonderful after dinner drink with its peppery tartness, sweet fruitiness and bitter sweet pomegranate flavor.
ReVah Pomegranate Vodka has the musky sweet aroma of its namesake; the pomegranate. It is full bodied, yet quite smooth. It is 40% alcohol by volume. It is best served chilled and makes a fine flavored martini on its own, or over ice. It is a wonderful vodka to use in mixed drinks with the pomegranate accents adding a good deal of flavor to anything it is mixed with.
Pomegranate Semi-Sweet Wine is deep red with a very aromatic nose (very pleasant), more pungent and expansive than wine from grapes. The aroma is tart and astringent and cherry-like, and there is no mistaking the pomegranate aroma. The mouth is hit immediately by sweetened cherries, pomegranates, and blackberries. Tannins are on the soft side, but they're present. This wine is juicy. The finish is long-lasting cherry and blackberry. It would make a great reduction and accompany duck very nicely.
ReVah Sparkling Pomegranate Wine appears hearty, earthy and unfiltered when poured into a champagne flute. The nose is ripe with pomegranate fruit aromas. This is full flavored sparkling wine at its best, and would make an excellent after dinner drink, or pair with a flavorful dessert or ripe cheese plate. It is 11% alcohol by volume.

Check out their full line of Armenian products at:



Ararat Imports/Exports Co, LLC
4100 Carmel Road suite 142
Charlotte, NC 28226
Ph:(919) 875-3999
Fax: (919) 876-3994

For More Pomegranate Related Articles, Recipes & News (click here)

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