January 2023

     People like to make resolutions, but the best way to begin any New Year is by taking out a map. Grab a glass of red wine and you can plot an oenophile itinerary like the travel cutaways from Indiana Jones movies: pour a crimson line across distant oceans, dot your eventual destination with an emphatic splash, and toast to forthcoming adventure with whatever’s left. (Please note: this is an IRL ritual only; do not attempt on your devices.) Much like a deft piece of cinematic exposition, wine from new and unfamiliar destinations is quicker, cheaper and more immediate than actually going there, plus it may help you figure out where you might actually want to go. 

     Our inaugural 2023 bottles are thus from two wine regions outside most familiar coordinates. While you’ve probably had white wine from Hungary before, it is still a relatively unsung area that continues to astonish with its goulash of distinctive grapes and terroirs. Armenia, on other hand, doesn’t even have a leftover culinary metaphor we can defrost to illustrate its recipe. This is the first red we’ve ever had from the country, and judging from its quality, we are excited to taste more.  

     The earliest records of viticulture in what is today Hungary date back to Roman times. Recent archaeological finds suggest that the Celts were already involved with grapes however, whose cultivation had spread from ancient Greece. Once settled, Hungarian tribes increasingly turned to agriculture. In the early days, they planted vines even in flat land and flood plains, sometimes allowing them to climb up the trees at will. After the foundation of the Hungarian Kingdom, viticulture was concentrated on the estates run by the church around the major settlements. By the end of the 14th century, the major wine regions had mostly taken shape as we know them today. Hungary currently has 22 officially designated wine regions. The most famous is Tokaj, which lies 137 miles northeast of Budapest, along at the geographical center of Europe. It is the oldest classified wine region in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the birthplace of Tokaji Aszú, the first ‘noble rot’ wine, so called due to botrytis cinerea, a mold that dehydrates and shrivels grapes, leaving behind a bevy of sugars and acids, ideal source material for rich, complex dessert wines. Not long ago, Tokaji Aszú was among the world’s most coveted and expensive wines, but two world wars devastated its traditional European markets, and the decline continued under Communist rule. The years since have have witnessed an amazing regeneration however, and today dry Tokaji whites (usually, but not necessarily made from the native Furmint grape) are joining their storied neighbors  amongst can’t miss experiences of viticultural globetrotting.  

     Armenia, the landlocked nation sandwiched between Georgia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey, has a decent (though not unchallenged) claim to being the oldest winemaking region in the world -  even if you’re skeptical, it starts with Noah planting cuttings from the Ark on top of Mt. Ararat. In 2007, archaeologists discovered a winery in a cave dating back to 4100 B.C in the Vayots Dzor region. Called Areni-1, after the area’s  eponymous red grape, it housed fermentation vats, jars, and cups, a wine press, vitus vinifera seeds and vines, as well as the world’s oldest leather shoe ( known as the Areni-1 shoe.) After the Soviet invasion in 1920, Armenian winemaking became a large scale industrial enterprise, focused on bulk, rather than quality. Since 1991 however, young Armenians have been working hard to revitalize the  formerly moribund industry, respecting the traditions discarded  during the Soviet period without being beholden to them. Researchers have identified some 400 indigenous varietals so far; our selection this month is aforementioned Areni Noir, a varietal than can range from medium bodied to full, lush and velvety, especially if aged in oak from Caucasus mountain range. 


The PlumpJack Wine Buying Team

Préselő Borhaz Tokaj Furmint

Region / Country of Origin:  Erdőbénye, Tokaj, Hunagry

About the winery:  This Tokaj wine region-based winery was founded in 2013. Its name refers to an industrial heritage, a centenarian double-press found in the former vinery house. Winemakers Zsolt Nagy and his wife  Árpád  had been working previously in different fields, but their commitment and wine enthusiasm led them to build an 8 hectare vineyard estate around Erdőbénye. In the heart of this small picturesque village, they hit upon an old house with a 200 years old cellar serving today as a center of the estate. After much hard work, the winery has been established, and together with the vineyards, cellar and guesthouse, the estate has come into its own. 

About the winemaking: Due to the unique soil structure and microclimate of the wine region, they managed to harvest fully ripened and healthy grapes at the end of September in the relatively warm year. Messzelátó vineyard, the plot where the grape comes from, is an isolated area surrounded by forest, where the vines are cultivated using natural methods and bio cultivation, without applying chemicals. It was made of 100% of Furmint variety, the majority of the juice was fermented in stainless steel, while the remaining part fermented and aged in barrels.

Tasting Notes: Greenish, lemon-yellow colored wine. Its intense pear and peach aromas are well completed by the sour citruses, barrel spices and salty minerality characteristic to Tokaj wine region. This is an elegant and harmonic wine with dynamic acid, good balance and a lingering aftertaste.

Winemaker: Zsolt and Árpád Zöldi-Kovács

Price: $25 bottle/$270 case

Suggested Food Pairing:



grilled fish,

grilled meat,



smoked fish, 

goat cheese.


Trinity 6100 Areni Noir 2020 

Region / Country of Origin: Agavnadzor, Vayots Dzor, Armenia

About the winery: The story of Trinity Canyon Vineyards started in 2009, when three (Trinity) enthusiastic and determined wine aficionados decided to step into the mysterious world of wine crafting. Assisted by an equally passionate group of winegrowers and winemakers, they established a unique vineyard in the Vayots Dzor Highlands, in the close vicinity of the world’s oldest known wine producing site dating back some 6100 years. Trinity wines are filled with faith, traditions and legends of Armenian winemakers that will always serve as a beacon for all our undertakings.

About the winemaking: Volcanic soil with high content of sand and gravel. Continental climate with about 250 days of sun per year. The vineyard is 1300 meters above sea level. The grapes are harvested at the right degree of ripeness in the 2nd half of October. Bunches are stemmed and crushed. After a short process of cold maceration, the wine undergoes alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks, Followed by an extended post-ferment maceration. Aged for 6 months in oak barrels.

 Tasting Notes: Elegant fruity bouquet with typical scents of ripe red fruits with notes of caramel and vanilla. At the palate, the wine appears with soft, ripe tannins, refreshing acidity, a hint of smokiness,  and a long finish.

Winemaker: Artem Parseghyan

Price: $25/$270 case

Suggested Food Pairings:

Red meats,


Soft cheeses,


Richer Pastas 


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