Category Archives: European Wines

European Wines

Pazo das Bruxas Albariño 2014

Spanish white wines are difficult to find in Istanbul; even in duty free. This Pazo das Bruxas Albariño was the only thing E&M could find the last time they came through. Considering how much I love Albariño though I was glad to have it!

The Pazo das Bruxas Albariño  is from Vino de la Familia Torres. For five generations the Torres family has been making wine in Spain. They have vineyards in eight DOs (Denominación de Origen) and two DOCa regions (Denominación de Origen Calificada).

Pazo das Bruxas Albariño

Sherlock photobomb!

Pazo das Bruxas is a wine that pays homages to the folklore and nature of Galicia, a land of immense forests inhabited by mystic and magical beings like the Galician witches. They lived in old country houses (pazos) where they conjured up spirits through magic and dance. And so the sap, the lifeblood, coursed through the vines, filling them with vitality. Just like the Albariño stock that gives life to Pazo das Bruxas.

E&M and I discussed the wine label possibly more than we did the wine (which was lovely). Put three Spanish speakers (one native) in a room with a Spanish bottle of wine and we all puzzled over the the label. E&M speak Colombian Spanish and I speak largely Mexican Spanish. Spain Spanish is a different animal but it was more than that. In the end we figured the label was written in either Galacian or Catalán. Galacian would make sense as the Rías Baixas DO, where the grapes were grown, is in Galacia. But the family seems to be Catalán (and the website is in Catalán).

Pazo das Bruxas Albariño

Pazo das Bruxas Albariño 2014 Tasting Notes:

A light weight wine in both alcohol (12% abv) and color (clear, pale straw yellow), this is a lively and lovely Albariño. It is so aromatic. Aromas of white flowers, citrus, minerals, and crushed gravel waft out of the glass  and wrap you in their perfume.

Very dry, balanced, with lovely acid and something of a short finish, the flavors are classic Rías Baixas Albariño.  Saline and minerals on the attack with the bright, happy flavors of grapefruit pith and citrus zest on the mid palate.

Delicate with a steel core I could almost believe that the witches of Galacia danced this wine into existence with their magic!

Domaine Skouras Dum Vinum Sperum 2009

On a recent trip to Athens to visit my friends E&M I had the chance to try a lot of Greek wine. Almost as soon as I dropped off my luggage at their apartment they whisked me off to their local wine shop. Faced with the somewhat overwhelming task of selecting wine; I braved an alphabet I only half understand and shelf upon shelf to pick out a few bottles. One that I could not resist was this Domaine Skouras Dum Vinum Sperum.

I knew it was a Chardonnay, which I usually shy away from, but I couldn’t resist it. And while the label was one of the most simple, stark examples we saw; it was powerful. “Dum Vinum Sperum” At first glance my assumption was that this was Latin for: “While there’s wine I hope.” But then I really looked at it and was confused. The Latin for “I hope” should be “spero” not “sperum”. However my Latin is pretty rudimentary and really only gets me through Mass so I called in the bug guns. I checked this with a cousin of mine who, as a Biblical scholar is well versed in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and a is all sorts of scary smart. “Sperum” isn’t a word in Latin.

I will continue to live under the assumption that they were going for “While there’s wine I hope” but if anyone knows what’s really going on I’d love to hear from you!

Dum Vinum Sperum

Domaine Skouras is the love child of George Skouras. In 1980 he went to Dijon to study agriculture but fell under the spell of Burgundian wines. He switched paths and, after graduating with a degree in oenology established his winery in 1986. Domaine Skouras is located in the Northeastern Peloponnese. The winery is situated within the Nemea zone, the largest Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for red wines in Greece.

At Domaine Skouras the focus on purity, clarity of variety, tracing the region’s mesoclimate, and terroir drives the philosophy behind their wine making. The Dum Vinum Sperum 2009 is a perfect example. Grown in the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Peloponnese (part of the PDO Nemea) this 100% Chardonnay is reflective of Domain Skouras’s philosophy.

Dum Vinum Sperum

Domaine Skouras Dum Vinum Sperum 2009 Tasting Notes:

I am shy around Chardonnay and the dark gold of this wine had me worried. The nose just about knocked us all down. Intense aromas of burnt sugar-like the top of a creme brulee-leapt out of the glass. We had nothing on hand that I could use as a decanter which is a shame*.  If ever a white wine needed some breathing room I think this one did. None of us got any hints of fruit but burrowing under that burnt sugar were hints of flowers and mineral.

If we thought the nose was a kick in the face we should have been better prepared for what would happen when we drank it. A powerful attack of burnt sugar and vanilla stunned us all at first. It wasn’t until a tentative second sip that we detected some of the more delicate flavors of honeysuckle in the finish.

We were split right down the middle on this. Em and I were not huge fans. I kept drinking out of fascination more than anything. E will drink just about anything you set in front of her but M really loved it.

This might not be the first wine to pop into my head the next time I want a Chardonnay; but I think Dum Vinum Spero is my new motto!

*Yes! White wines also benefit from decanting and breathing!

Todoroff Thracians Mystery

I bought this bottle of 2010 Thracians Mystery Cabernet Sauvignon when E and I were at Todoroff in Bulgaria. I could see E rolling her eyes at me when I bought a bottle for myself and another for M…but look at this bottle! How could I not buy something this ridiculously fabulous?! There’s a ‘medal’ glued onto it above a ‘gold’ (aka colored tin) label.

Thracian's Mystery

Honestly I opened this pretty hesitantly. Something that needs this much make up couldn’t possibly be very good, right?

Thracian's Mystery

Todoroff Thracians Mystery Tasting Notes:

This 2010 Thracians Mystery was a pretty hefty Cabernet Sauvignon with 14.5% abv. Aged in new oak, it’s a limited production from Todoroff. The winery made only 13,000 bottles of the 2010.

I was not expecting much from this but was pleasantly surprised. Although it turns out that E&M (who will drink almost anything) really did not like it. Such are the vagaries of individual tastes!

Dark inky purple in the glass, the wine looked as ‘mysterious’ shall we say and imposing as the ornate bottle. The nose was very typical of Cabernet Sauvignon with lots of red fruits, pepper, baking spices, vanilla, and cocoa. I found the palate to be balanced with smooth, round tannins, and a long finish. It was also more complex than I was expecting. Initial flavors of red fruits and baking spices gave way to caramel and smoke.

Athens, Ktima Gerovassiliou Malagouzia, and Cinque Wine Bar

Georgia wasn’t my only wine-focused trip in May! E&M were spending the month in Athens sorting out E’s Greek citizenship (me = green with envy!) and had several times encouraged us to visit. Having just returned from a whirlwind trip to Tbilisi I was reluctant to do so. Until they sent me pictures of the inside of their local wine shop with promises to take me.

Cinque

How could I resist this?

My arm sufficiently twisted I booked a flight and prepared to spend a long weekend exploring the Athens wine scene. Then Em fell victim to a visa snafu and had to leave the country within 10 days. So early one Friday morning we BOTH headed to the airport for a quick flight to Athens.

Cinque

Fantastic label

After we arrived E&M whisked us off for a leisurely lunch. We ate every pork-having dish available and soaked fries and bread in the most delectable honey pork juices. Then it was to the promised wine store so I could begin my Greek wine education!

Cinque

Another great label!

Sadly while the shop was full of wine the staff were less than helpful. However they did deign to recommend a few bottles. Given the sea of unfamiliar grape names and, fantastic bottle designs, and limited knowledge of the Greek alphabet even their begrudging assistance was welcome. I started with five bottles thinking that would do us for the couple days we were staying. I don’t know who I thought I was with or if I temporarily forgot how much I can drink but those five bottles lasted us until we went out for dinner that same evening.

Gerovassiliou Malagouzia

Ktima Gerovassiliou Malagouzia 2016 Tasting Notes:

The Ktima Gerovassiliou Malagouzia 2016 was our first wine together in Athens. After one sip I realized I had found my first favorite Greek grape: Malagouzia. This wine is a single vineyard wine from the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Epanomi that is vinified mostly in stainless steel but also in a little French oak. The wine is left with its lees for a number of months to gain structure and body.

In the glass it’s a brilliant pale yellow with a lot of green highlights. The nose was so reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite white wine). Aromatic and fruity it exploded with tropical fruits, white peaches, and citrus. On the palate it’s zesty lemon peel and tropical fruits with a zingy acidity and lightly mineral finish. If I had bought five bottles of just this wine I would have been happy.

Sheets of cold rain kept us in the next morning. Eventually we made it out for shopping and more wine acquisitions. Many more wine acquisitions in fact. So when we rolled up to the Cinque Wine Bar we were laden like beasts of burden.

Cinque

Tucked into a small space near a tango school is the Cinque Wine Bar which E&M had just discovered. It’s thanks to the lovely owners at Cinque that I can now claim a wee little bit of Greek wine knowledge. Cinque offers of course wines by the glass and bottle but even better they offer wine flights. Each flight comes with a place mat that gives information about the wines.

Cinque

More than just plunking down these excellent tools; the owners were only to happy to talk to us about Greek wine, wine regions, wine making…all things Greek wine related! In one afternoon there I learned a great deal; especially that I love the native (white) Greek grapes Malagouzia and Assyrtiko.

All in all we had a fantastic, if lightening quick visit to Athens! I tasted (and bought!) a lot of fantastic Greek wine and came home with some valuable knowledge about it to boot.

Telavi Marani Tvishi 2013

This Telavi Wine Cellar Marani Tvishi was another great find at Rind. And worth every penny of the 70ish TL that I paid. Telavi Wine Cellar’s wine are the most available Georgian wines available in Istanbul. Except right now. As I write this I am impatiently waiting for Rind’s order to arrive. The order they put in over a month ago.

But back to the Marani Tvishi!

Marani Tvishi

Under the Telavi Wine Cellar company, Marani is one of the largest wineries in Georgia. It’s also one of the most helpful websites. Not only does it list all the Marani wines being produced but provides tasting notes. Which, coming from Turkey where there are laws against that (which seem to be followed only sometimes?) is really refreshing.

One of the things I find interesting about Georgian wine is their labeling. Old World wines are labeled by appellation; New World by grape type. Georgia seems to use a mix of the two. The Marani Tvishi falls under the Old World labeling example. Tvishi is not a grape but a Specific Viticulture Area (SVA). Specifically one located in Racha-Lechkhumi, Svaneti. The Marani Tvishi which is in fact made from 100% Tsolikauri, is part of the winery’s Appellation Range. It differs greatly from the Marani Tsolikauri that is part of the Regional Range.

It’s enough to make your head spin! Marani’s website lists 55 wines; including two icewines, four chachas, and five brandies. The next time I do more than just run over to Tbilisi for a weekend I am making an appointment with Marani and tasting everything.

Marani Tvishi

Telavi Marani Tvishi 2013 Tasting Notes:

Probably not all that much of a spoiler but I really liked this one. I am kind of a sucker for semi-sweet wines. I actually didn’t know when I opened this that it was a semi-sweet. Because it was though it was an accidentally excellent pairing with the Thai green curry dish E and I drank it with!

One of the things I love so much about semi-sweet whites is how refreshing they are. They’re not the cloying, saccharine dessert wines many assume them to be. They’re lightly sweet and usually low in alcohol (11% in this case) making them excellent quaffing wines. The Marani Tvishi was no different!

A brilliant pale yellow with green highlights in the glass, the Marani Tvishi is beautiful from the off. The nose is slightly sweet with tropical, apricot, and honeysuckle notes. In the mouth it’s light with lively and zesty acid and flavors of quince, apricot, and honeysuckle.

A truly enjoyable wine. The Marani Tvishi has, if you’ll forgive the paraphrase, ‘wet’ my appetite for more wines by Marani!

Zero Compromises: Georgian Wine Festivals

Procrastination is my first, middle, and last name. But I couldn’t wait any longer to write about the Zero Compromises and New Wine Festival events I attended last month in Georgia. Months ago I saw an advert on the Georgian Wine Club‘s Facebook page for the New Wine Festival. Armed only with a vague mid May date I started planning my return to Tbilisi.

Zero Compromises

But before I get to the New Wine Festival; Zero Compromises. About two weeks before I left for Tbilisi I saw a post from Vino Underground advertising the Zero Compromises festival. Unlike the New Wine Festival, this would feature only natural wine makers from around Georgia.

Zero Compromises

Hosted in three wine bar/restaurants in Tbilisi this was my favorite of the two events. For the low, low price of 25 Lari (about $10) you got a tasting glass and all access pass to all three restaurants.

Zero Compromises

While both events were fantastic, Zero Compromises was more intimate. The majority of attendees were wine lovers there to taste, learn, and meet with the wine makers. The New Wine Festival was more of a drinking free for all. So unlike the New Wine Festival, Zero Compromises afforded me the opportunity to meet and talk to a lot of the (natural) wine makers which was really exciting for me.

Zero Compromises

I learned so much at Zero Compromises. Largely that I need four hands, actually. Juggling a pen, my tasting book, taking pictures, giving and receiving business cards, and the all important wine glass was a little too much for me. So most of my pictures came out pretty blurred. None of which I’m sure had anything to do with the amount of wine I had. I forgot to count how many makers came out and how many wines they had but even a sip or two of each wine was enough to make juggling everything just a tad too difficult. Throw in a 3 AM wake up call, a flight, and little food and forget about it.

Zero Compromises

I somehow managed to make it to all three venues before packing it in. Although I really phoned in the last place. I’d given up taking notes when I realized I couldn’t really read the last few pages I’d taken. I needed food. Thank goodness I was in a country that knows how to throw down in the kitchen! I went to a restaurant I’ve liked in the past and ordered way too much food. But I had such a limited time in Tbilisi and I wanted to eat everything.

Zero Compromises

I started where I always do with what is possibly my favorite Georgian dish: sauteed eggplant slices layered with walnuts ground with garlic and Georgian spices. Pomegranate seeds are usually added as a pretty garnish but I for one think that they really add to the overall dish.

Zero Compromises

The eggplant was followed by lobiani (bread stuffed with lobio-seasoned beans-and baked) and pork and potatoes sauteed with something yummy. They packed up most of the lobiani for me to take back to my hotel. Then it was early to bed for me so I could get up and do it all over again the next day!

Zero Compromises

Located in Mtatsminda Park above Tbilisi, the New Wine Festival is not new. It features ‘new’ wines (i.e. the most recent vintages). This was a true free-for-all. When I learned online that there was no festival entry fee I felt that for sure one would have to pay per tasting. Not so. There must have been 100 or more wineries there and all tastings were free.

Zero Compromises

I arrived early and with a half-baked strategy got down to business. I was glad that I did that because within a couple hours the area was packed with people. Mostly people just looking to score some free wine. However I was able to talk to a couple producers and follow up with some I’d met the day before at Zero Compromises.

Zero Compromises

I took a brief break to bolt down a couple bottles of water and for a snack of possibly the best pork mstvadi (shashlik) I’ve ever had. Cooked over hot coals in the center of the park, the mstvadi was crispy on the outside and dripping with grease and juices. If the line to get some hadn’t been such a moshpit of inefficiency I’d have gone back for more.

Zero Compromises

Believe it or not but that’s a rose!!

One of the producers I was happy to be able to meet was the team from Tanini. And I will now say something I have never before said: I was really sorry to not be able to get a bottle of their rose. I know. They promised me that the rose had little to no skin contact but look at that color! Saperavi grapes are one of the very few that have not only purple skins but purple fruit. So the juice itself is naturally already a purple-red color. I can’t see anyone making a blanc de noirs from that!

Zero Compromises

Then it was time for more food! Another round of pork mtsvadi for me. Although this wasn’t nearly as good as what I had in the park. It was however accompanied with the traditional ajika sauce which is all kinds of spicy delightfulness.

My trip didn’t end there! While the two days of serious wine tasting had just about done me in I still had another day of wine tasting and shopping ahead of me. But before I could get there I went to a festival after party. I was invited by a guy I met at Zero Compromises so armed with a GPS location and a game cab driver I tried to find the location of the house party. Which turned out to be half way up a mountain on the edge of Tbilisi in an unfinished housing development. I was pretty sure I was going to get ax murdered. But that’s another story!

Frescobaldi Rèmole Toscana 2014

The Rèmole Toscana 2014 by Frescobaldi is one of my new favorite wines. And at only 61.50 TL at Macro Center it’s not all that expensive. For a wine imported to Turkey.

The Frescobaldi family has been firmly rooted in Tuscany for hundreds of years. While they started as bankers they are now dedicated wine makers. With no less than six estates across Tuscany they take full advantage of the diverse terroir the region has to offer.

The Rèmole Estate is in Sieci, east of Florence. The wines made on the Rèmole Estate are fruit-forward, generally everyday wines. However what may be an everyday Super Tuscan in Italy is something of a revelation in Turkey!

Rèmole Toscana

Rèmole Toscana 2014 Tasting Notes:

A blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, the Rèmole Toscana is fairly low in alcohol (12% abv) for how big of a wine it is. In the glass it is dense, ruby red. I was glad I had some oversized glasses because this needed the space. The nose was gorgeous: red fruits, raspberries, and cinnamon. Like fruitcake (but the good kind). The palate was well-balanced with beautiful round tannins, mouthwatering acid, and flavors of cooked red fruits.

Is this the most fantastic Super Tuscan on the market? Certainly not. Do I deeply want to go to the estate in Sieci and drink the Rèmole Toscana straight from the stainless steel tank? You bet I do.

Kindzmarauli Marani Kisi 2013

This Kindzmarauli Marani Kisi 2013 was part of the loot I brought home from Georgia in October. It was a duty free purchase I made before boarding. I remember that I had an awful migraine when I left Georgia. I was in pain, nauseated, and miserable. To add insult to injury, there’s a dedicated wine store in the Tbilisi airport and they offer wine tastings. I had to content myself with at least buying a couple wines as I was too ill to taste any.

Georgian loot

Kisi is a native Georgian grape grown largely in the Kakheti region of eastern Georgia. As with many grapes, winemakers in Georgia use both traditional Georgian and European methods when vinifying Kisi.

KMac and I saw a fair amount of Kisi wines during our trip but never got around to trying any. It seemed liked a good idea then to pick one up in duty free. I ended up with some of the heaviest hand luggage I’ve ever hauled around. I had a backpack stuffed with a 3 kilo book (that’s right, a book that weighs 3 kilos) and 3 to 4 kilos of cheese. My hand bag held my camera equipment, various electronic, spices, possibly more cheese, and anything else that wouldn’t fit between the wine bottles in my check bag. To which I managed to shove in the two bottles I bought in duty free.

Kindzmarauli Marani Kisi

Kindzmarauli Marani Kisi 2013 Tasting Notes:

Kindzmarauli Marani makes its Kisi in the traditional Georgian style-in qvevri. The 2013 is a nice, medium-bodied wine with 12.5% abv and would pair well with lighter foods or served as an aperitif.

In the glass the Kisi was a dark, golden straw color. The nose was full of lychee, tropical fruits, citrus, and herbs; possibly also some pine. On the palate it was creamy and slightly thick feeling. The flavor was fainter than the nose but I got some of the citrus flavors and a mineral finish.

Papaioannoy Roditis Sauvignon Blanc

Last autumn E&M visited E’s family in Greece returned with many many bottles of Greek wine for us to try, including this 2015 Roditis Sauvignon Blanc by Papaioannoy.

Roditis Sauvignon

I have had very limited experience with Greek wine before now. Limited in fact to pretty much just jugs of table wine from my brief trip to Athens. Those I would not recommend. I would however recommend the Papaioannoy Roditis Sauvignon Blanc.

Papaioannoy is an organic vineyard located in Corinthia where they grow grapes on the doorstep of history with vineyards located adjacent to the Temple of Zeus. Papaioannoy has 57 hectares planted in seven locations to take advantage of different soil make up and micro climates. They plant: Agiorgitiko, Cabernet Sauvignon, Roditis, Assyrtiko, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Touriga, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, and Petit Verdot.

Roditis Sauvignon

Papaioannoy 2015 Roditis Sauvignon Blanc Tasting Notes:

Roditis (or Rhoditis) is the most widely planted white wine grape in Greece. Despite it being used for white wines, it is not a white grape. In fact it has pink-reddish skin. The wine it produces often has lemony or mineral aromas with zingy acidity.

The Papaioannoy Roditis Sauvignon Blanc is a light-bodied, refreshing wine with 13.5% abv. Pale, clear yellow in the glass the aroma profile was citrus, pears, tropical fruits, and citrus blossoms. On the palate it was crisp and dry, citrusy with subtle pear flavors and a honeyed finish.

For me this was bitter sweet as it were. The wine was lovely but we drank it at E&M’s going away party the evening before they left Turkey. Despite the sad memories now attached to the Papaioannoy Roditis Sauvignon Blanc I am eager to delve more deeply into Greek wines.

Bordeaux Tasting with Şarap Atölyesi

Naturally it took me four years here to find the wine tasting scene and now that I’m in it I’m sorry I’ll have to abandon it so soon. Most of the tastings I attend are run by Murat, founder of Şarap Atölyesi.

I love going to Murat’s tastings. Not only do I get to try new wines, often pulled from his private collection but it’s a double learning experience for me. I’m usually one of only few (if not the only!) non-native Turkish speaker so his lecture and materials are naturally all in Turkish. I generally take away 75-80% of what’s going on so it’s bot challenging and rewarding.

Bordeaux Tasting

Murat put together an excellent and informative presentation on Bordeaux. While I’ve read a fair amount about the region in various wine books, Murat had some interesting facts I hadn’t pulled out of the books:

  • 90% of wine production is red; 7% is white; and 3% sweet wines
  • Merlot is the most-widely planted grape red at 62%. Then it’s Cabernet Sauvignon at 25%, Cabernet Franc at 12%, and Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Carmenere together make up a mere 1%.
  • For white wine grapes Semillon is top at 52%, followed by Sauvignon Blanc at 36%, and Muscadelle at 7%. The remaining 5% is a combination of less popular white wine grapes.
  • There are roughly 8,500 chateau producing wine in Bordeaux accounting for 15% of France’s wine production and 1.5% of global production.

For this tasting he put together eight wines from his personal collection including one white, six reds, and a sweet, dessert wine.

Bordeaux Tasting

Bordeaux Tasting Notes:

I have extremely limited exposure to white Bordeaux so the Chateau Sainte Marie Vieilles Vignes 2015 (from Entre Deaux Mers in Bordeaux) was a real pleasure. A blend of 64% Sauvingon Blanc, 28% Semillon, and 8% Muscadelle this wine was aged in stainless steel tanks sur lie. Very pale yellow in color with no green, the nose was full of citrus, tropical fruits, and a little grass. It was a lot softer on the palate than I expected but still with lively acid, delicate tropical fruit flavors, and a mineral finish. Lovely.

From the AOC area of Bordeaux Superieur we tasted a Merlot-lead blend from Chateau Bel Air. This 2014 wine is 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignong, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The nose was fruity and a little floral with hints of violets, baking spices, and vanilla. Nice tannins, smooth, and fruity with a decent finish it was a good, standard example of wine from Bordeaux Superieur.

Next up in our Bordeaux tasting was a 2009 from Clos Rene in Pomerol. With a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Malbec I was pretty sure I was not going to like this. So much Merlot! I don’t know what it is though about Merlot that I find so objectionable as a single varietal because blend it with even a small amount of other wines and it’s magic. The Clos Rene, which spend 18 months in oak, had a fairly deep nose, slightly perfumey, with dark fruits. Smooth, with a long finish and lovely tannins, this one had a lot of cloves and earthiness to it that gave it beautiful depth.

We were next introduced to the stunning Chateau Bardoulet 2012 from St. Emilion (Grand Cru Classe). This was a very rich blend of a whopping 85% Merlot with 9% Cabernet Franc, and a mere 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose on this was gorgeous: strawberries, raspberries, a little floral, sweet spices, vanilla, and a little nutty. Holy wow the tannins on this! I love me some tannins and this one had them in spades. This was really powerful with a finish for days and a velvety rich, slightly smokey palate.

Bordeaux Tasting

Moving on to a Left Bank blend we tasted a Chateau Carbonnieux 2009 from Pessac-Leognan (Grand Cru Classe de Graves). This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc spent 18 months in oak to create a dark garnet wine with a nose full of red fruits, vanilla, baking spices, and dark chocolate. Gorgeous tannins, smooth, and with a long finish the palate was plummy with tobacco and leather.

The final red in our Bordeaux tasting was the Chateau Labegorce “Zede de Labegorce 2012 from Margaux (Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel) with 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. I must not have thought a lot about this one as my notes are really scarce. It was very fruity in the nose with hints of spice from the 15 months it spent in oak. On the palate the wine was balanced and elegant with soft tannins and a long finish.

We finished the tasting with a Chateau Doisey Daene 2011 from the Barsac area of Bordeaux. I might have been guilty of hyperbole here but my notes say: “OMG I haven’t lived before now.” In all fairness to my tendency to exaggerate though, this blend of 92% Semillon and 8% Sauvignon Blanc (10 months oak and an additional 9+ in the bottle before release) was like liquid gold. Honeycomb, dried apricot and pineapple, a little nutmeg was thick and sweet without being cloying or saccharine. A stunning way to end our Bordeaux tasting.

If you’re in Istanbul, look up Şarap Atölyesi and get on Murat’s mailing list for events!