Hayastan

  • According to local legend, Armenians have been distilling wine into brandy since the 12th century. During the communist period, Armenian wine grapes were designated primarily for brandy production. Legend has it that Churchill was so smitten with Armenian brandy that he arranged with Stalin for a regular supply to be shipped to him. By law, the only grape varieties that can be used for brandy production are Voskehat, Garan Dmak, Mskhali, Kangun, and Rkatsiteli—the latter is a Georgian grape variety. Grapes are grown widely in Armenia, with the best coming from western Armenia in the Ararat Valley, beneath Mount Ararat. The brandy is produced using a double distillation process that uses Charentais stills, the same type of still that is used in Cognac production. Maturation occurs in casks made from Caucasian oak, Quercus macranthera.

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