Sunday, 21 July 2013

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.

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