Armenia at Ada’s!

Date:

Vineyards in Armenia under the Shadow of Mount Ararat
Vineyards in Armenia under the shadow of Mount Ararat. If you look very closely…

Wait. What? There are vineyards in Armenia?

Ada’s

A bunch of us met up at a wine dinner/Armenian wine tasting at Ada’s in Las Vegas. Of course, the place has quickly become one of my favorite places to have wine and/or food, so it was a great choice to make. As always, Kat, their lead Sommelier, was there to greet everyone.

Bordeaux Bob had the idea to have this dinner in the aftermath of the SOMM: Cup of Salvation screening we saw a few weeks ago. It was an excellent idea. And, to no one’s surprise, the wines and food were Off. The. Chain.

The wines were supplied by Storica, an Armenian wine import company. 

We were greeted by coupe glasses of Keush Extremis Rosé, a sparkling wine. Aged on the lees for at least 22 months before release, this wine is expressive with nuances of red fruits and notes of biscuit, driven by lively acidity and minerality.

Storica’s Story

The Caucasus, Caucasia, colored political map. Armenia is in Pink.

From Storica’s website: Co-founded by Zack Armen in 2018, Storica Wines is ushering in the most exciting new category in the wine world. We work with producers who are leading Armenia’s wine renaissance and celebrate its rich winemaking heritage.

With each bottle sold, we aim to share Armenia’s story with American consumers. We are honored to amplify the wines of Armenia in the United States. Our wines feature indigenous grapes that have been grown in these soils for more than 6,000 years.

All of Storica’s wines from Armenia are carefully chosen. They mirror our point of view and the country itself: full of life and resiliency.

At Ada’s!

Evening View of Ada’s

Ada’s makes me so happy that I don’t have to depend on the Strip for fun, food, and wine. I’ve not only been here for wine dinners but also for just hanging out. Founder Chef Trees (who also founded Esther’s Kitchen) is a James Beard nominated chef. In addition, the Chef du Cuisine, Jackson Stamper, is incredibly gifted, and Kat Thomas, the lead (and slightly demented, I’m sure) Somm, make eating and drinking there pure pleasure.

Ada’s has received accolades from Men’s Journal, Wine Enthusiast, The Robb Report, and Las Vegas Weekly, among others. Essentially, it has never slowed down since hitting the ground running in 2018!

The fun thing about Ada’s is that it’s not particularly fancy. No Guy Savoy-esque white tablecloths, piano playing in the background, a hostess, etc. Typical high-end Strip stuff. This is a neighborhood place. Cheers for wine, you might say!

The Storica Wine Dinner was, and I’m really not trying to sound cliché, Amazing!

Let’s break down the courses:

The first course was Armenian Salatim, an Israeli dish showcasing a variety of small plates of appetizers or salad items. Those were Eggplant with Walnut Spread, Crushed Cucumber, Pickled Turnip, Carrot Hummus, Spicy Fennel, and Beets with Sour Cherry and Horseradish. Oh! And Lavash, a great bread that made a wonderful hummus scooper.

The paired wine was 2020 Zulal, Voskehat Dry White. It has stone fruit on the nose and palate, with a spicy floral note. Wonderful acidity makes it a perfect pairing. Of course.

The second course was Sea Bass in Garlic Broth with pickled turnips and Sumac Onion. OMG, this was so good! My fellow table companions and I all wanted to drink the broth out of the bowl and then lick it. It was easily one of the most delicious soups I’ve ever tasted. I hope they put it on the menu as a permanent selection. I could easily consume an entire trough.

The paired wine was the 2018 Keush “Ultra Brut Nature” Blanc de Noirs. Usually, when we think of Blanc de Noirs, we think of Pinot Noir. In this case, the wine was made with 100% Areni grapes sourced from Khachik. Thirty-six months on the lees gives it luxurious mouthfeel with the tiny bubbles and great texture. It was a perfect pairing with this soup.

The third course was Scallops with Green Ajika, Crispy Mussels, and Tabbouleh. I mean, what can you say about scallops that hasn’t already been said about gold? This dish was wonderful because I’m a Tabbouleh fan and can eat it by the gallon!

The paired wine was 2019 Zulal, Areni Red. My notes on the menu was “Holy shit! This is good! This could easily replace Pinot Noir.” And when Dana started talking about this wine, she pointed out its similarity to Pinot and I laughed and shared my notes. Think of a nice pinot, and add a little pomegranate to it. Floral and fragrant, it could indeed replace Pinot with no issues. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that in a blind tasting, even a skilled person would possibly mistake this for Pinot.

The fourth course was Lamb Loin with Sour Cherry Harissa, Panisse, Chickpeas, and Cucumber. The lamb was beautifully seasoned, perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. The Sour Cherry Harissa was new to me, and I loved the flavor. Everything was good, actually.

The addition of a year in oak gives the same grape more of a Malbec-esque or Syrah-like character (yeah, I know they’re different, but work with me here)

The paired wine was 2019 Zulal, Areni Reserve, Red. Yes, this was *almost* the same as the 2019 Zulal, Areni Red. The difference is that the Areni Red is only stainless steel fermented, while the Reserve is fermented in stainless steel before spending 12 months in neutral French and Caucasian oak barrels. Caucasian oak trees have the same genetic material as French and Hungarian oak (predominately Quercus Petrea, with some Quercus robur), but due to Armenia’s elevation, the trees grow even more slowly – resulting in a tighter wood grain and higher level of oak tannin. The addition of a year in oak gives the same grape more of a Malbec-esque or Syrah-like character (yeah, I know they’re different, but work with me here), which is deeper, richer, and more tannic than the Red. It’s a perfect pairing with the lamb.

The fifth course was Katafi, a dessert with Lemon Clove Syrup and Pistachio Ice Cream. It’s sorta like Baklava except with Pistachio Ice Cream (and Pistachios) instead of Walnuts which is the only way I’ve ever had it. Of course it was delicious!

The wine pairing was Keush “Origins” Brut. Non-vintage, with a lighter body and crisp mineral notes than the Blanc de Noirs, brought out the Pistachio’s nutty character and was quite delicious. I could easily have this wine during warmer summer months.

After

Bordeaux Bob (yes, he’s tall. 6’8″, I believe), Dana, Chef, *don’t know her name,* Kat, and *don’t know his name*!

After the incredibly delicious meal with the beautiful wines, we kind of hung around a while to mingle and compare notes. I don’t have a lot to add other than we were satisfied with the food, and took enough time to let the wine settle. We took photos, and when it was time for Ada’s to close, we took our leisurely time leaving. 

Can’t wait for the next one!

Heading to my car

 

Vegas Wineaux
Vegas Wineauxhttp://vegaswineaux.com
Life now, especially after leaving the day job, is even crazier! I hope that you continue to follow and enjoy the wine and Vegas news!

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