Category Archives: Red Wines

Red Turkish Wines

Chamlija Mavrud 2015

I had a chance to visit Chamlija’s tasting restaurant a while back. While there I learned that they produce so many more wines than those that make it to the Istanbul market, including the Chamlija Mavrud. Before our visit I had never heard of the Mavrud grape but I won’t forget it now.

Mavrud is a red wine grape that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines, indigenous to the region of Thrace in Bulgaria, particularly around the city of Plovdiv. The grape’s name is likely derived from the Greek word “mavro” which means black. However there’s a nice legend that goes with this grape which gives an alternate version of how the grape got its name:

In the early 9th century, the Bulgarian ruler Khan Krum forbade drinking alcohol and demanded that all vines in the country be uprooted. Krum’s army was undefeatable and one young man in particular excelled in battles. Upon return from yet another successful military campaign, Khan Krum decided to pay a visit to the mother of the brave young man to show her his respect about the way she had brought up her son. In response to his praise, the mother humbly replied: “Mighty Khan Krum, I need to confess something to you. Here in my backyard I kept a vine tree despite your orders. Every morning I was feeding my son wine and bread and that is why he came out to be such a strong man.” Instead of punishing her, Khan Krum allowed her to keep the vine tree and named it after her son. Needless to say, her son’s name was Mavrud.

Image result for mavrud grape

Mavrud grape. Photo credit: Bulgarian Wines Tours.com

The Mavrud bunch is large, winged and relatively heavy. The grapes themselves are small and spherical with thick and tough skin. Mavrud is a late ripening variety that needs warm temperatures. It does not do well in the cold. It is possibly the most highly prized (local) varietal in Bulgaria. And that leads to the question-why are we talking about a Bulgarian grape in connection to a Turkish winery?

Luckily that’s an easy question to answer. The Çamlıca family emigrated to Turkey from Kubadin, Razgrad, in northeastern Bulgaria. Mustafa Çamlıca is the third generation of the family to farm in Turkey’s Thracian region. He is also the founder and head of Chamlija Winery, one of the most prolific and quality wineries in the country.

I’ve only had Mavrud one other time, when I visited the Todoroff Winery in Bulgaria. Their Boutique Mavrud was my favorite of their wines. So how does Chamlija’s compare?

Chamlija Mavrud

Chamlija Mavrud 2015 Tasting Notes:

Despite the rather serious, heavy-looking grape, my experience with Mavrud so far has been that it makes light to medium bodied wines. So it was not surprising that the Chamlija Mavrud (12% abv) followed suit. Mavrud takes well to oak; this vintage was aged for six months. While that might have helped tame some of the wine’s naturally high acidity, it didn’t kill it.

The nose was lovely; full of red and ripe fruits like strawberry, raspberry, and cherry highlighted by hints of milk chocolate. It might sound like I’m starting to describe everyone’s new favorite dessert but this is not a sweet wine. While milk chocolate mellowed the fruits in the nose, the flavors were all tart, juicy fruits. The palate hinted only a little at tannins but the floor show was all about the acid.

The bright, lively acid and juicy fruit flavors make this a fantastic choice for summer drinking. It’s a perfect barbecue day wine that’s not too heavy for summer drinking and which would pair really well from everything to grilled meats and cold pasta salads. 

Büyülübağ Ada Karası 2015

I have not explored Büyülübağ’s wines as much as I should have. My first introduction to them was with one of their Vedat Milor* wines. It wasn’t until one of my first all Turkish (language, not wines) tastings with Monşer Ilhan‘s group that I really discovered these wines.

It was Christmas Eve and Alp Törüner, founder of Büyülübağ, lead us through a vertical tasting of his Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Törüner’s family has had a huge French influence, two of his aunts are French and brought a lot of French culture to the family; including the practice of drinking wine with meals. This is why he decided to work largely with French varietals.

Despite this, his goal is to make more widely known Turkish varietals and to improve their quality. As the only winemaker on Avşa Island he is also the only producer making wine from the local variety, Ada Karası. And it is about the Ada Karası that we’re talking today.

Ada Karası 2015

Büyülübağ Ada Karası 2015 Tasting Notes:

The Ada Karası is a light-medium bodied wine with 13% abv. The nose on this jeweled garnet colored wine is intense with eucalyptus, black pepper, and black fruits. Think black cherry and blackberry. Racy acid with lowish tannins, the palate displays a lot of black fruit and black pepper flavors. 

Mr. Törüner seems to not believe that he has quite yet perfected his Ada Karası. If and when he does get it any more “perfect” though I will be thrilled to try it because I quite liked this one the way it was.

Chateau Kalpak BBK 2012

Chateau Kalpak is the love child of Bülent Kalpaklıoğlu who began developing the vineyard in 2003. It was not until 2010 that he released his first vintage. His goal for Chateau Kalpak is to create a single chateau-style wine from a single vineyard. In order to achieve this, he picked the best root-stocks and clones of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot to match the vineyard terrior.

Only two blends are released annually: Chateau Kalpak and BBK. They harvest, ferment, and age (30-36 months) each parcel (about 1 hectar) separately. At Chateau Kalpak they use Hungarian oak barriques made out of wood selected for their balance, bouquet, and character. This establishes the basis of their “Chateau Wine”. From their they spend months conducting extensive blend studies for the Chateau Kalpak label. The remaining wines are re-blended to create the BBK label.

BBK 2012

Forgive the blurriness!

Chateau Kalpak’s story and process are absolutely worth a deeper look and I suggest checking out the website (link above). Bülent Bey elevates wine making to a form of fine art with his thoughtfulness and attention to detail. All of which has paid off for him. Not only does he make beautiful wine but he has the gold medals to prove it. Chateau Kalpak is currently the only vineyard in Turkey to win a three star rating (2014) from the International Wine Challenge (AWC) in Vienna. Additionally they received six gold and three silver medals from the AWC and three gold medals from the Concours Mondial Bruxelles.

Previously I reviewed the BBK 2011 so let’s see how one year later measures up.

Chateau Kalpak BBK 2012 Tasting Notes:

The BBK 2012 is a deep, dark purple-ruby in the glass. The nose is intense with black fruits. vanilla, baking spices, and a whiff of mocha. On the palate the wine was initially tart and tight. However as it had a chance to open the flavors grew warmer and jammier. Balanced if a little bit heavy it certainly fits the Bordeaux profile that is Chateau Kalpak’s goal.

Gali Saros Blend 2010

It has been years since I’ve written about Gali. Granted Gali doesn’t have the output some of the other wineries here do but considering how much I enjoy both the eponymous blend and the Evreshe Bordeaux blend it is a little shameful. So let’s talk about the Gali Saros blend. But before we get there, a little about Gali itself.

Gali Saros blend

Gali’s story began in 2005, when founder, Hakan Kavur, acquired 48 hectares of land in the Gallipoli Peninsula. The goal was to manufacture a single wine, ‘GALİ. They planted about 24 hectares of land with 78% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. In November 2011 they released their first wine, the Gali 2009 blend.

The 24-hectare vineyard is situated right where the Gallipoli Peninsula connects to the mainland and offers magnificent views of the Aegean and Marmara seas, the Dardanelles, and the Gulf of Saros.

Saros
Gali Saros Blend 2010 Tasting Notes:

The Gali Saros is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. After hand harvesting the organic grapes they are fermented in stainless steel and then aged in French and (other) European oak barrels. This was a fairly sediment heavy wine with a brick-red garnet color. The nose was medium intense with aromas of cooked fruit, chocolate, smoke, and meat. For me the balance could have been a little better; the acid felt quite high. However I really liked the coffee flavors that came through on the finish.

Arcadia A Cabernet Franc 2011

Cabernet Franc is one of those grapes that I really want to like. But somehow I never quite manage it. There are a few exceptions. One is Chamlija’s. Another is Arcadia’s.

Father and daughter team Ozcan and Zeynep Arca established Arcadia Vineyards in 2007 to make and showcase terroir-driven wines from Northern Thrace. On their 350 hectares they grow nine different types of grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Sangiovese, Pinot Gris, Öküzgözü, and Narince.

Arcadia

The name Arcadia is steeped in local history. The vineyard is located near the village of Lüleburgaz which was known as Arcadiapolis. In addition, in mythology Arcadia meant “a unique beauty garden that resembles a paradise on earth.”

Arcadia

From planting the vines to vinifying the grapes, they insist on careful production methods and minimum intervention, so that their wines can express the unique terroir of their beautiful vineyards. Arcadia wines are all made from estate-grown fruit and processed in their on-site, gravity-fed winery. With assistance from viticultural consultant Prof. Dr. Alain Carbonneau and onologic adviser, Dr. Michel Salgues, Arcadia creates quality minimal-intervention wines fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in French barriques. Arcadia produces all their wine under one label name (Arcadia) but six with distinct series: Fresh, Ilktepe, Mono, Finesse, Odrysia, A, and their botrytised 333.

Arcadia A Cabernet Franc

Arcadia A Cabernet Franc 2011 Tasting Notes:

Arcadia definitely took care with their Cabernet Franc. This estate-bottled wine spent 12 months in French barriques and went through only a limited amount of filtration prior to bottling. While it wasn’t fully filtered the wine was still very clean, no cloudiness, with little to no sediment.

The nose is a little shy. However after a while in the decanter and some swirling it revealed delicate red and black fruits, tobacco, and hints of cocoa and cola. A bit sweet on the palate, fruit-forward, with supple tannins and an elegant finish.

My Favorite Turkish Wines of 2017

2017 was a crazy year. It began with a last minute trip to Iceland where wine is even more expensive than it is in Turkey. Spring was full of whirlwind wine trips to Israel, Georgia, and Greece. This summer after a two-year lapse I went back to the States to see my family in Michigan and Vegas. In the fall I went to Elmali, Turkey to visit a great winery and in December I visited Graz, Austria for the Krampuslauf, Christmas markets, and wine shopping.

In addition to the travel I attended or led a couple dozen wine tastings. Including one on a private yacht on the Bosphorus where I was so sea sick I gave all my notes while gazing at the horizon trying to not hurl.

Some of my travel didn’t work out. I’ve been gearing up for a year to move to Italy to complete my wine education and spend a few years exploring all of Italy’s wine regions. And then I couldn’t get the visa! In the end I’m happy to stay in Turkey. I have a good life here, a lot of wine still to try, and a new project I’m really excited about.

Likya vineyards

Likya Vineyards

I tasted a lot of Turkish wine in 2017. They ran the entire gamut from DNPIM to ‘where has this been all my life’?! Below is a list of my favorite Turkish wines that I tried this year (in no particular order). Unfortunately my typing is a lot slower than my drinking so I haven’t posted reviews of all of them. Hardly any if I’m being really honest. If I’ve reviewed it there should be a link to the page but if I hadn’t and you’re curious drop me a line!

2017 reds

Reds:

  1. 7Bilgiler Solon Attica
  2. Barbare Ambiance
  3. Likya Pinot Meunier
  4. Chateau Nuzun 2011
  5. Barbare Libra
  6. Karnas Zinfandel
  7. Gelveri Kalecik Karasi
  8. Pasaeli Papazkarasi
  9. Trajan Rezerv Kalecik Karası 

2017 whites

Whites:

  1. VinAida Grenache Blanc de Noirs
  2. Chamlija Blanc de Noirs Fume
  3. Vinolus Narince
  4. Saranta Chateau Murou Chardonnay
  5. Vinkara Hasandede
  6. Vino Dessera Kalecik Karası Blanc de Noirs
  7. Arda Rezerv Narince
  8. Porta Caeli Pacem Sauvignon Blanc
  9. Urla Hypnose

Likya vineyards

Roses:

  1. Porta Caeli Felici
  2. Chateau Nuzun Rose

2017 others

Sweet:

  1. Arcadia 333

Sparklings:

  1. Suvla Kinali Yapincak
  2. Kayra Cameo

I can’t wait to see what there will be to taste in 2018!

Barbare Ambiance 2012

Barbare is one of Turkey’s really special wineries and the Ambiance 2012 is no exception. I don’t know exactly what makes them stand out so much. Many other wineries here, even its neighbors in Thrace, are quality wine producers with equal dedication, skill, and passion. But there’s just something about Barbare that always excites me.

Barbare Vineyard’s tale begins in 2000 when Can Topsakal decided to join the exciting world of winemaking after completing his university education in France. His quest to find the most suitable soil and microclimate for his vineyards took him on a journey from Çeşme in the Aegean region to Tekirdağ in Thrace. Subsequently, Topsakal purchased 57 acres of land in Tekirdağ to establish Barbare Vineyards and set forth on making his dream a reality with Xavier Vignon, a prominent oenologist and wine consultant for numerous Chateau Wineries in France.

Ambiance

Barbare is committed to the philosophy that “winemaking begins at the vineyard” and has a low-yield strategy and the average yield at Barbare’s vineyards is 350-400 kg annually. Not only aren’t the grapevines watered unless absolutely necessary, the grapevines are carefully monitored to ensure homogenous maturity and yield capacity. As a result, Barbare is able to produce superb wines with vibrant and distinct hues, complex aromas and soft tannins. The vineyard practices organic viticulture and holds the ECOCERT certification for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes.

Topsakal decided on the name Barbare to pay homage to the history of winemaking in Thrace and because of the vineyard’s location along the ridges of Barbaros, a small and picturesque village.

The grapes at Barbare are fermented in heat-controlled stainless steel tanks, with a maximum residual sugar ratio of 0.5 g/l to produce dry wines. After fermentation is complete (two to six weeks on average), the wines undergo malolactic fermentation. During this process in winemaking, tart-tasting malic acid that is naturally present in grape must is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid to create a rounder, fuller mouth feel. Wines are then matured in French oak barrels. Barbare uses Allier, Vosges and Nevers French oak barrels and follow the “mature the wines without too much oak” principal.

Ambiance

Barbare Ambiance 2012 Tasting Notes:

The Barbare Ambiance is a Rhône-style blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mouvédre. Although at 15% abv is a bit higher in alcohol and body than its French inspiration. The nose is stunning. and expressive. Aromatic with black fruits, black pepper, savory olives, earthy tobacco, and hints of vanilla and coffee from its 12 months in French oak. The palate is balanced with tactile and supple tannins and a long, elegant finish. Beautiful flavors of spiced plum, vanilla, coffee, and tobacco.

Turkey is a land that nearly drowns in the flood of Bordeaux blends. Even Barbare makes Bordeaux-style wine. And while the Ambiance is beautiful in its own right, the refreshingly different blend makes it a stand out. This is one of my favorite wines that I drank in 2017.

Trajan Rezerv Kalecik Karası 2011

I was unaware of the existence of Trajan wines until I saw the Trajan Rezerv Kalecik Karası at the Cihangir Suvla shop and bought it on recommendation. Now I am a Trajan fan. And who could not be with its background?

Before we get to Trajan wines though we have to start with the Kalecik Karası grape. Kalecik Karası is a native Turkish varietal. Originally from the Central Anatolian district of Kalecik (Kalecik Karası literally means ‘black from Kalecik) it is now one of three most common native varieties found in Turkish wine (along with Boğazkere and Öküzgözü). However even as early as the 1950s this grape was nearly extinct due to an influx of phylloxera.  

Enter Professor Dr. Y. Sabit Ağaoğlu. After completing his doctoral studies on Kalecik Karası; he consulted with the Ankara University Agriculture Faculty in the early 1970s. With his assistance and with the corporation of Prof. Nail Orman’s ‘Clone Selection Project’; new studies were conducted and clones developed that would literally sew the seeds of the grape’s return. In 1992, Dr. Ağaoğlu helped found Kalecik Viticulture Research Station (KALEBAĞ) as a branch of Ankara University’s Agriculture Faculty to focus on enhancing Kalecik Karası viticulture.

Trajan Rezerv

In addition to his academic work, Dr. Ağaoğlu and his wife Gülcihan founded a small vineyard of their own. Christened Tomurcukbağ after their daughter Tomurcuk, the vineyard consists of 10 acres in Kalecik in the micro climatic region of Kızılırmak River.

All the wines they produce under their Trajan label are vinified using traditional techniques including spontaneous fermentation with wild yeasts and without any enzymes or other additives. The Trajan Rezerv wines are vinified entirely from run off juice leaving the pressed juice for the standard Trajan wines.

Tomurcukbağ Trajan Rezerv Kalecik Karası 2011 Tasting Notes:

Pale, medium intense brick-garnet in the glass. The nose is fantastic. Lots of red fruits, raspberry, smoke, a little dried meat, and earthy mushrooms. On the palate it is ever so slightly effervescent. Tannins are low as I would expect from this varietal and the acid is a bit of a smack in the mouth. And I mean that in the best way possible. The flavors are intense and full of meat, smoke, and cedar with the juicy tang of fruit.

This is possibly the most interesting Kalecik Karası wine I have had. I’m not sure if it’s good that I started with the reserve wine and will now work my way “down” so to speak; but I look forward to trying more wines by Tomurcukbağ.  

Doluca Alçitepe Cabernet Shiraz 2013

Doluca is one of the largest wine outfits in Turkey. In 1926 the Maison Vinikol at Galata was founded and became the base for Doluca. they began with Yapıncak and Karlahna grapes, then in 1935 brought back Cinsault, Semillon, Riesling, and Gamay from Europe. It wasn’t until the 1940s that the company premiered wines under the name Doluca but they’ve been going strong ever since.

Doluca’s main operations are located in Tekirdağ, part of Turkey’s Thrace. When I said that it is one of the largest outfits in Turkey I was not exaggerating. Doluca has an annual production capacity of 14 million liters. Their production warehouse can manage 1.3 million bottles at a time. Wow.

Alçitepe Cabernet Shiraz

With that level of capacity it’s not a surprise that Doluca produces wine under a number of labels. Seven of them to be exact: Alçitepe, Signium, Sarafin, Karma, Kav, Tuğra, DLC, Verano, Safir, Antik, and Villa Doluca.

Doluca’s website has a list that goes for pages of awards their wines have won. Gold, silver, and bronze medals along with other accolades awarded at international competitions from around the world. The Alçitepe line, which premiered just in the last few years, is already earning some of those awards.

Alçitepe Cabernet Shiraz

Doluca Alçitepe Cabernet Shiraz 2013 Tasting Notes:

To start, the Doluca Alçitepe Cabernet Shiraz 2013 is a lovely color of clear, intense ruby. And at a whopping 15.5% abv it’s intense in more ways than one! It’s a wine definitely in need of some breathing otherwise the alcohol is rather overwhelming in the nose. However once you’re past that you can enjoy the sensuous combination of dark fruits, smoked meat, caramel, and baking spices.

When I first began my explorations into wine I often wondered at some of the descriptions I read. You can find and taste fruits, herbs, spices, etc…but how do you know what some of these other things are supposed to taste like? Wet stone? Ash? Dusty? Sure I don’t dust my bookshelves nearly as often as I should but I can’t imagine I’m supposed to lick them to learn what ‘dust’ tastes like.

What I’ve learned is that you kind of know it when you taste it. Like the Doluca Alçitepe Cabernet Shiraz 2013. Tart black raspberry dominates but is made interesting by notes of smoke and dusty/dried leaves that weave in and out. Beautifully balanced on the palate with round, silky tannins and a long finish. It drinks a bit sweet (although a dry wine) with the sweet spice and vanilla influence of oak. Prior to its release the Doluca Alçitepe Cabernet Shiraz 2013 spent eight months in oak (65% French and 35% American).

The Alçitepe wines are a limited bottling. This particular one was bottle 2,932 out of 10,800. They are also Doluca’s most expensive line running an average price of 175 TL.

A Tasting of Yanık Ülke

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to the Galata Anemon hotel for a tasting of Yanık Ülke wines.

Yanık Ülke  was established by the Akçura family on the rocky volcanic slopes of the Divlit Volcano near Izmir. The terroir in that area is volcanic and similar to that of Mount Etna in Italy. They have 150 hectares (60 under vine) located at 924 meters above sea level. Their site boasts not only vineyards planted with an interesting variety of grapes but also a hotel and onsite restaurant.

Yanık Ülke

Yanık Ülke plants only old favorites such as Muscat, Chardonnay, Viognier, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Boğazkere, and Öküzgözü. They are also the only vineyard in Turkey, to my knowledge, cultivating Cataratto, Gewürtzraminer, Nerello Cappucchio,  and Nerello Mascalese. 

Yanık Ülke Gewurtztraminer

Vineyard manager Çağrı Kurucu lead our tasting of eight Yanık Ülke wines including: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Nerello Mascalese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Miratus, and Serendipity.

Yanık Ülke Viognier

Yanık Ülke Chardonnay Tasting Notes:

This is a nice, light Chardonnay from Yanık Ülke, perfect for people like me who don’t like a lot of oak in their white wines. A bright, medium lemon in color and a medium intense nose of sweet florals and tropical fruits. Medium-bodied with a medium plus finish the wine is generally well-balanced. It finish rather warm and really shows off both Chardonnay’s characteristic tropical fruits and the distinctive minerality from volcanic soils.

Yanık Ülke Viognier 2016 Tasting Notes:

I am unabashedly a fan of Viognier. I first discovered this grape while living in DC as several Virginia wineries are doing great things with it. Here in Turkey there are fewer options with my favorites being from Kayra and Chamlija so it’s nice to add Yanık Ülke to the line up (which also includes wines from Selendi and Kastro Tireli).

A lovely light but intense lemon color, Yanık Ülke’s Viognier has a delicate but aromatic nose filled with white flowers, yellow apple, mineral, and ripe fruits. A very soft mouthfeel and elegant fruit flavors make this an ideal wine as an aperitif or for summer sipping!

Yanık Ülke

Yanık Ülke Gewürztraminer 2016 Tasting Notes:

I am not going to lie; this was my favorite of the whites. As far as I’m aware Yanık Ülke is the only winery here currently experimenting with Gewürztraminer. This is one of my favorite white wine grapes so I was very excited for this.

Do not let the delicacy of this wine fool you! At 14% abv it’s bigger than it seems. The nose is aromatic; white flowers, ripe stone fruits, and tropical fruits. Sur lie aging lends a lightly creamy mouthfeel here carrying the warm peach flavors to a long finish. Don’t get this thinking you’ll be drinking a German or French Gewürztraminer; this is an entirely Turkish Gewürztraminer!

Yanık Ülke Nerello Mascalese

Yanık Ülke Nerello Mascalese 2015 Tasting Notes:

Nerello Mascalese is another grape that I’ve seen only from Yanık Ülke in Turkey. For good reason. This native Italian grape is best known for being cultivated on Mount Etna so Yanık Ülke’s volcanic soil is the perfect place in Turkey for it.

This bright, plum-purple wine has a fruity nose. Rich, full of forest fruits, sweet spices, and vanilla. The palate surprises with a little more attitude from this unoaked, medium-bodied wine. The slight bite of black pepper keeps it from veering too far into jammy territory and compliments the fruit flavors well.

Yanık Ülke Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Tasting Notes:

This Cabernet was aged in both French and (majority) American oak and I think Yanık Ülke has reached a good balance of the two in their blending. The different oak influences are obvious while being harmonious. The nose carries opulent red fruits, sweet spices, cinnamon, and hints of leather and perfumed violet. Fruit-forward on the palate with soft, round tannins and a slightly bitter, green stem finish.

Yanık Ülke Serendipity

Yanık Ülke Serendipity 2015 Tasting Notes:

Serendipity is Yanık Ülke’s Bordeaux blend. A coupage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc makes it a classic blend. There was a prodigious use of oak in this blend. The Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were aged in old oak and the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged in new oak prior to blending. Perhaps the wine needs more bottle or breathing time but for me this was a little like drinking oak syrup. Nose and palate are heavy with caramel, vanilla, baking spices and cooked fruits.

Yanık Ülke Shiraz Reserve 2014 Tasting Notes:

Yanık Ülke’s Shiraz Reserve is intensely purple-ruby color. I found the nose to be very floral initially giving way to big clove aromas with the fruit being almost an afterthought. The palate at this point is still a little unbalanced. Like the Serendipity it needs a little more time and patient decanting. The tannins are quite aggressive and there’s an acrid green stem flavor up front. The clove is very pronounced on the palate which I enjoyed.

Yanık Ülke Miratus

Yanık Ülke Miratus Oak Blend 2015 Tasting Notes:

When they told us that the Miratus was the ‘oak blend’ I was frankly a little terrified. After the oaky syrup flavors I got in the Serendipity I wasn’t sure what to expect from this blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Bogazkere, and Shiraz. Despite my initial trepidation I rather enjoyed this one. But first-what do they mean by oak blend? Each variety is oak aged prior to blending as usual, but the wine is aged in oak again after blending as well. The Miratus spends a total of two to three years in total. You can definitely smell the oak. There’s little subtlety as you’re all but swamped with aromas of vanilla, baking spices, and cooked fruit. However the wine finds its balance on the palate where hints of black pepper cut through the oak providing an interesting edge. The flavors are also a lot brighter than I expected after the nose giving the impression of a wine that is rich with round tannins, red fruits, sweet spices, and pepper.

Overall this was a really interesting look into Yanık Ülke. It seems they are doing some interesting things; not the least of which is cultivating grapes otherwise not seen in Turkey. I’m looking forward to getting to know this producer better.