Sunday, 21 July 2013

Whisky Tasting we held last week in Helsinki

If you start to get into the knowledge of wine, in time, I think it is inevitable to get into the knowledge of beer and finally, whisky. So me and my friend Eric, decided to set up a whisky tasting and got ready for the evening after a big barbecue lunch on Saturday last week.

We decided on a single malt tasting and choose three Scotch single malts from his big collection to taste with the fourth one which is brought by me (Singleton of Dufftown).

Then we started the tasting with our tulip glasses proper for whisky tasting. we first tried four Scotch and compared each other, then tried an Irish single malt "Connemara" and the Finnish whisky "Teerenpeli".

1- The Singleton of Dufftown 12 years, Speyside: Light amber color with a very fruity nose, dried fruits, caramel, honey, daisy flower. Fruitiness still exists in the mouth, lemon and berry-type of aromas. Vanillin with a floral touch during the long final. Rich but smooth, velvety. Better without adding water.

2- Lagavulin 16 years, Islay : Dark amber color, the nose is strongly dominated by smoke, then toast, smoked ham, wet wood. the attack phase is very strong in the mouth. Peat, little bit petrol, hay and salt strongly felt with a very very long final full of joy. Little bit of coffee is possible to get also.

3- Auchentoshan Three Wood, Lowland: This one has been aged in three different casks, Spanish Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Spanish Oloroso Sherry and American Bourbon finally. The color is dark bronze, fruity nose of lemon, orange, pear, apricot; in the mouth, vanillin and nutty aromas leaves the stage to bitter chocolate and toffee during the final. The body is weaker than Singleton but still a nice viscosity with sweet and fruity touches.

4- The Glenlivet 18 years, Speyside: Medium Amber color. Winey nose, cream; very sweet in the mouth, honey and butter notes,  little bit of vanillin. very easy drinking with a moderate final. The nose is quite extroverted.

Among the four Scotch single malts, with the strong smoke and petrol/tar aromas, Lagavulin had been totally different. Other three were quite fruity and Singleton of Dufftown was marching at the front among them with its thick viscosity, easy drinking and sweet fruitiness.

we had two more whiskies as I mentioned above and they were considered like the dessert after a big meal.

*Connemara Peated Single Malt Irish Whisky: Hay and floral nose, in the mouth, vanillin and caramel come to the stage with a touch of clove-kind of spiciness. Moderate final.

*Teerenpeli Single Malt 8 years: It might be funny for the Finns to read that, this is a very local product; that it has a porridge kind of smell at the nose. floral notes with buttery feeling and a reflection of the nose aromas in the mouth. Sweet-ish final is moderate and water changes it´s taste so much.

I am very much thankful for my friend for being with me to create this chance to taste and compare different whiskies and have a good occasion together.

By the way, interesting that together with sweet soft stone fruits like peaches, whisky goes well :)

May your glass be filled with happiness.

Little bit of Turkish wines

Exactly one month ago from today, I was in Istanbul and had a chance to taste some Turkish wines at the same time having a nice holiday, spiced with pepper spray and teargas by the Turkish police. The protests starting at Gezi Park against a despotic dictatorship-like government are now not only in Istanbul but in the whole country and the demand for real democracy and the need for feeling more like a human now take place in Istanbul streets. The police violently attacks people (not only protestors but any person they can see in the street) but the protestors seem like not leaving the place where they belong to. Turkey, seems like, more hopeful than anytime it seemed like before.

So, just one of the tens of reasons of that social explosion is the new alcohol regulations of the government, which mostly aims to finish the production of the beverages -like wine which contain alcohol- rather than protecting the public health. The wine producers in Turkey recently started to worry quite a lot because they are not anymore able to advertise their products, in any case. So I feel a bit lucky to taste some of the Turkish wines, as they might be the last ones in the world if Turkey continues like that.

I had a chance to watch the beautiful Princes Islands of Istanbul while having an amateur wine tasting. My hosts, who are two great women, were quite much into wine so a tasting with people who really take wine as a serious thing (as it is in nature) is always much more fun than tasting with people who do not care anything about wine but just the alcohol content in it.

My host and friend Hande with her mother and her cheeses :)

We had to taste 5 wines; a Turkish rose, a Turkish white and two Turkish reds with a French red too. I was mostly telling my hosts about wines during the tasting but I was still able to observe the wines and have some ideas as well as write some notes. What I saw again, as all the wine authorities say, was the great potential of local varieties in taste compared to international varieties. The local varieties always feels like close to an elegant, balanced wine while the international varieties sometimes feel like "forced to be a bottle of wine." Even though the wine quality is rising up in Turkey, it has been like that since a long time, as I had tasted several Turkish wines before. The taste, body and aromas are not showing that much typicity which might be a question of terroir, as the vineyards might be in too-warm areas in Turkey. This for sure does not mean that international varieties are not possible to grow in Turkey. But still, it really needs vision, time and experience in Turkey. Actually the French wine in that tasting (Guigal Cotes Du Rhone 2007) was a very good final and good example to prove how an average table wine should be.

With four Turkish and one French, the wines were:

1- Kavaklidere Selection Narince-Emir 2010: A coupage of two great local varieties. Straw yellow color with sour apple and lime aromas at the first nose with nutty and woody aromas coming after that. In the mouth liitle bit vanillin is felt during the elegant, easy drinking. Pleasant with a moderate acidity and moderate final.

2- Büyülübağ Iris Adakarasi 2010: Orange rims with a pink color. At the nose, surprisingly baked fruits, jam,  the acidity is satisfying (might be little bit higher), fruity and fresh at the mid-palate, moderate final. A good rose to enjoy cooler.

3- Doluca Antik Bogazkere-Shiraz 2011: This wine has been my favorite for the price/quality ratio long long time ago. The Turkish variety Bogazkere is blended with the beautiful Shiraz and created a fruity but structured wine to consume. It is a very average wine. But the price for that quality makes it very good. Color is almost purple with light crimson on the rims. The nose has blackberry and blueberry aromas with a hint of spiciness. Possible to get some cloves at the second nose. Nice, medium bodied an average table wine which is perfectly nostalgic to me.

4- Büyülübağ Vedat Milor Syrah Tempranillo Grenache 2011: This is from a series of wine which that producer created together with Turkish food&wine celebrity Vedat Milor and the series has his name. The reason they say that they wanted to create wines which have some level of quality with a reasonable price. But, what I can say, it is not balanced, it is a bit forced power to be wine I think.  Baked fruits and blackberry, little bit astringent, the tannins are strong but on the right way to be integrated, satisfying acidity with a moderate-long final. I think the strong body is overshading the joy of drinking. But that might make this wine match with strong meat stews or strong barbecued red meat, like lamb chops.

5- Guigal Cotes Du Rhone 2007: A classic for a good quality of daily consumption, At the nose rose, baked fruits, ripe pear; in the mouth blackberry, blueberry, cloves... Woody with integrated tannins with a full body. Final is long. A very good wine which sometimes I buy to enjoy, I haven't had 2007 before. There is also a tasting note here for 2009 recolte. 

All in all, Turkish wine industry has potential with a growing number of people who are interested in it. But the religious despotic government is ruling the country into a very scary way and that not might be only the end of wine industry in Turkey, but also the end of lots of political and social freedoms.

Still, for now, Turkey is hopeful, as its wines.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Wine Tastings in Helsinki, you wanna be a part of it?

If you live in Finland and if you are interested in wine in a serious way, if you read about it, write and eager to do more regularly, if it is a big hobby for you or more than a hobby, send a mail to this mail address in order to be a part of our tasting group --->>> There will a be a tasting group of 5 or 6 people maximum, totally non-profit. The idea is to taste, learn and share more about this magical beverage, more than paying membership fees to tasting groups. So you will not pay any membership fee but just participate in the cost of the bottles to be bought, which everybody in the group will participate equally. So you will have the chance to meet people who already know about wine and you will have the chance to taste fine wines which you probably don't buy regularly from the Alko shops when you are alone, because of several reasons, such as high prices. Send a mail and learn more details if you are interested, anytime, any date. An average wine knowledge is required. If you do not know such basics like, for example, what the tears of wine mean, if you do not know where the color of wine comes from, what salinity is, what minerality is, if you are not familiar with wine terminology/aroma definitions and things like that, these tastings might be a bit hard for you in the beginning. But still, do not hesitate to contact, do not forget that, non of us is a MW,  so, contact and learn more, maybe you can still join and improve yourself in time ;)