Category Archives: Çalkarası

Wines made from Çalkarası grapes

Sava Çalkarası Merlot

It’s December and yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent which means that it’s officially time to start playing Christmas movies and music and, more importantly, start drinking Gluehwein! Which for me means that it no longer matters that Turkish wine generally isn’t good.

Also luckily, good wine is neither needed nor recommended for Gluehwein so for the first time I bought a bottle of the cheapest wine (10 TL / 5 USD) on offer here: Sava; specifically the Sava Çalkarası Merlot. And while I meant it from the beginning for Gluehwein I thought I’d make a proper tasting of it before adding tons of sugar.

Everything has at least one good point, right? So that’s where we’ll begin. The 2013 Sava Çalkarası Merlot was a really pretty color-a jewel garnet red that glowed a bit when held up to the light. Glowed in a good way; not a possibly toxic way. The nose was actually fairly decent as well; full of red fruits and spice.

Then I tasted it and that’s when its true nature kicked in. Lots of acidity hit me first and overpowered the low tannins. The flavor was tart verging on sour, so much so that it took me a little while to establish the flavors around the tartness. Unsurprisingly, when I thought about it, the main flavor I got was that of sour cherries with black pepper in the back.

I would never recommend any Sava, including the Sava Çalkarası Merlot, for actual drinking (unless you give it to someone you really don’t like or have no taste buds) but it made a pretty great Gluehwein. Although with twice as much sugar as the recipe calls for.

Speaking of things you should probably stay away from…I was grocery shopping the other day and came across this:

A jar of goat’s milk caramel. Of course I had to buy it. I’m not entirely sure I know how to describe it. It’s the darkest caramel I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t smell overtly goaty…but it really tastes like it. I like, nay, I LOVE goat cheese. I make goat cheese cheese cake and ice cream. I eat soft goat cheese, hard goat cheese, and every other kind of goat cheese that exists.

But this…the first time I tried it I felt like I got kicked in the mouth by a goat. I had a cheese once in Sarajevo that was possibly the only goat cheese I have tried and not liked. It tasted like licking an actual goat. That’s kind of how the caramel tasted. However I put it in the refrigerator anyway rather than throwing it away and today I decided to get it out again today and give it another try.

It’s still undeniably goaty but now I’m more intrigued by it instead of repulsed. I need to get some chocolate or a make a cheesecake or brownies and try the caramel on those. I feel like I wouldn’t be going wrong to dip pretzels in it either. Future testing will tell!