Category Archives: A

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!

The 2014 Likya Acıkara

A few months ago I went to a wine tasting lead by Murat Mumcuoğlu of Şarap Atölyesi. I was excited before the tasting because I’d been following Murat on Twitter and Instagram for a wile and was excited to meet him. After the tasting I was excited because, thanks to him, I discovered Likya’s Acıkara.

Never heard of Acıkara? Neither had I; for good reason. Until just a few short years ago it was a mostly forgotten, nearly extinct Turkish grape. The folks at Likya found some vines in the wild (I believe) and thinking they were one thing, transplanted them to their vineyards. However when harvest time came around they realized that these weren’t what they thought and DNA testing revealed that they were actually Acıkara grapes. Likya is now the only producer in Turkey cultivating (small batches) of it.

At the time of the tasting I had never heard of nor seen this wine before. Then I discovered two bottles at the Savoy Tobacco shop (75TL) and snapped them up. Then two weeks later I walked into La Cave and there was a wall of both the 2014 and 2015 vintages. So Acıkara is here to stay!

Acıkara

Other than its relative rarity, what’s so great about it? A lot actually. The 2014 Acıkara is a big red wine with every bit of the 15% abv Turkish wine is allowed to have. In the glass it’s a dark, inky red-purple color. The nose is deep: jammy plums, pepper, baking spices, cocoa, smoke, leather, and cigar box. It’s like following Alice down the rabbit hole…it just keeps going and getting weirder and more interesting the farther you go.

On the palate there are velvety tannins with a balanced acid and a medium finish. It’s very fruit forward but still with a lot of the nose, particularly the cocoa, leather, and tobacco.

Likya

I lead an all-Likya wine tasting for a group this fall. About half the attendees favored this over the other three wines. No one hated it but everyone was fascinated by it. For me that was a win. One of the reasons I started leading Turkish wine tastings was to introduce people to local wine that was not only good but interesting. The Likya Acıkara absolutely ticked both those boxes!

And if you don’t believe me, check out Exotic Wine Travel’s video tasting notes about this wine!

Chamlija Albarino

Chamlija Albarino – Take Two

Turkish wine post on not #WineWednesday…what is happening?! It turns out that I already discovered the 2014 Chamlija Albarino last summer and then somehow forgot about it. While that means I went a year without enjoying it, I had the pleasure of discovering it all over again! And since I did not realize that I’d already posted about this Albarino until after I wrote this post I decided to publish this anyway to compare my impressions. That and anything from Chamlija is worth a second look!

The Chamlija Albarino seemed to have the typical flavor profile of a warm climate Albarino: tropical nose with peach, apricot, orange marmalade, white flowers, and minerals. On the tongue it has a sparkling acidity, low body, lots of fruit, and very peachy lemony flavors with some mineral elements coming in at the end.

In the past I’ve found it difficult to pair wine things like Thai and Indian food. This is when Albarino, a medium-dry wine, is your friend! I paired Chamlija’s with two different dishes: chicken baked in yogurt and Indian tandoori spices and a Thai sweet potato red curry. It was perfect with both of them.

The first bottle I bought was from Cihangir’s La Cave for 95TL. This one I bought at Solera for considerably less. So, Chamlija Albarino? Yes please! This time I shall not forget you!

Chamlija Albarino

The 2014 Chamlija Albarino

You wouldn’t really know it based on the weather here in Istanbul but summer is over. I’d sad face if it weren’t for the fact that Autumn is my favorite season. Unfortunately that leaves me with a few bottles of white still in the fridge! While I’ll get around to those at some point, this makes the last wine of the Summer White Wines the 2014 Chamlija Albarino.

I was in La Cave a little white ago hoping to find another bottle of the Chamlija Viognier (I really liked that one!). I did not find the Viognier but I did find a treasure trove of other Chamlija wines, both white and red. I deeply love Spanish wines, almost without exception, so finding out that Chamlija makes an Albarino (traditionally a Spanish and Portuguese grape) was pretty exciting.

Dark golden color, the nose of the Chamlija Albarino was very fragrant. For a dry wine, the nose was quite sweet and full of apricot and apples.

It was a bit on the edgy side with noticeable acid. It had a pretty big body for an unoaked white wine with a palate filled with citrus, maybe a hint of orange blossom, apricot, apple, and white flowers.

I really think I might like this one. I don’t think there is yet a Spanish grape I’ve met and haven’t liked and considering Albarino is similar to Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Riesling (all grapes I generally enjoy) I think I was set up to like this from Go!

The 95TL sticker price is a little dear but with the current exchange rate I’m more than willing to shore up the local economy by putting money into expanding my wine collection with some higher quality wines like the Chamlija Albarino!