This young Armenian winery has quickly established itself amongst the most promising wine producers in the country. A joint project of an Italian winemaker and an Armenian entrepreneur, Rikars explores the potential of the country’s most exciting indigenous grape variety, specifically, Areni Noir. The resulting wines have an Italian touch and sense of style, yet an unmistakably Armenian character. Discover our Rikars wine range.
Rikars Wine is a new face on the Armenian wine scene. Riccardo Gagliardi, a winemaker in Tuscany, and Arsen Zadoyan, an Armenian businessman had been friends since their college years. Throughout 15 years of friendship and during multiple trips to Armenia, Riccardo developed a strong bond with the Armenian culture. He came to realise the country’s incredible potential to produce fine authentic wines.
Making wine in Armenia seemed like a very exciting prospect. However Ricardo’s work in Tuscany didn’t allow him to fully embark on a project in another country. Luckily, Federico Renzi, another Italian winemaker and wine consultant, agreed to come aboard. Thus, in 2017 Rikars Wine was born. Today, Riccardo and Arsen are the co-founders who oversee the whole operation and Federico is in charge of the winemaking.
Left to right: Riccardo Gagliardi, Arsen Zadoyan, Federico Renzi
After tasting many Armenian wines made from the countless native grape varieties, at last, Renzi and Gagliardi decided that they wanted to work with Areni Noir. After all, it is the country’s most prominent red grape, a.k.a. “the king of Armenian grapes”.
The Italian winemakers were amazed by how similar Areni Noir can be to Pinot Noir in terms of its elegance, finesse, freshness and complex aromas of red fruit. In fact, one of the hypotheses even suggests that the Armenian grape is one of the ancestors of the acclaimed French variety. Just as Pinot, Areni Noir can be incredibly versatile, depending on the terroir and the winemaking methods. That is why, Rikars decided to explore all the beautiful variations of the same grape.
From Vines To Wines
Rikars source their grapes from very old vines, some being 30-100 year old. The vineyards are found in Aghavnadzor village, in the Vayots Dzor region, and are sited at altitudes of 1,300 above sea level. To respect the ancient variety, Areni Noir, Rikars chose to use traditional Armenian winemaking techniques and materials, such as 300-year-old amphorae (karases). These vessels have been recovered from all over the country. In addition, Rikars opted for Armenian oak barrels for wine maturation.
At present, Rikars Wine make two stunning expressions of Areni Noir grape, specifically, wines named “Arag” and “Davit”.
Their “Arag” wine is made using the more traditional Armenian winemaking approach: it is fermented in karases and aged in concrete vessels.
On the other hand, Rikars “Davit” wine is made in a European style: fermented in concrete tanks and aged in Armenian oak barrels.
As Federico Renzi puts it, “these are Armenian wines made with Tuscany’s experience.” Indeed, the potential and the authenticity of these wines is now internationally recognised, with both “Arag” and “Davit” having won Gold Medals at the 2020 Mundus Vini International Wine competition.