Category Archives: Grenache (Garancha)

Celler del Roure Vermell 2014

This bottle of Celler del Roure from Valencia’s Vermell DO came to me by way of my friend K. She spent the new year in Valencia and this was her favorite find there.

My experience with Spanish wines is largely limited to Tempranillos from Rioja. I’d fall all over myself to get a good Garnacha from Priorat. Unfortunately in Turkey it’s largely Rioja or nothing. So I jumped at the opportunity to share this Celler del Roure with K. With a blend of Garnacha Tintorera with 15% Monastrell and 10% Mandó; it is quite outside what we usually have access to here.

Celler del Roure

Celler del Roure 2014 Tasting Notes:

Right from the off think the Celler del Roure is an interesting wine. Initially fermented in stainless steel – with indigenous yeasts no less! Then, rather than tank, oak, or extended bottle ageing it is matured in 2,600-liter amphorae for six months.

The nose is fruit-driven with slightly black fruit, some red berries, liquorice, and a hint of sweet tobacco. Slightly jammy on the palate with a smooth, medium body and hints of clove under a lot of fruit.

The Celler del Roure does not display any particular depth or complexity but it is a wine of subtle elegance that is easy to drink and can be enjoyed upon release.

Barbare Reserve Premier IX XI XII

The Barbare Reserve Premier is the second wine I’ve had by this organic wine maker and the first non vintage blend I’ve not only had, but remember even seeing here in Turkey. It’s a fancy wine with an equally fancy price tag; it will set you back 130 TL give or take depending on where you get it.

With a whopping 15% AVP, the Barbare Reserve Premier is not fooling around. It’s a big wine and it wants you to know that right away. The wine is blend of 2009, 2011, and 2012 vintage Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot which is aged for 36 months in French oak. Thirty-six months-that’s three years! That’s crazy.

This particular Barbare Reserve Premier is also a limited production; I had bottle 1616 or 3600 so if you want it; find it now.

Barbare Reserve Premier

Barbare Reserve Premier IX XI XII Tasting Notes:

In the glass, the wine is a deep, dark, opaque garnet with fabulous legs and equally deep and dark nose. Aromas of both black and dried fruits followed by sweet, baking spices and chocolate seduce you before you even take a sip of this full bodied wine.

On the palate…wow. Tannins; beautiful, velvety tannins you could practically make a meal out of that lead to a long, long finish. Flavors of clove, chocolate, vanilla, black cherries, plums, and dried fruits make the Barbare Reserve Premier a rather remarkable bottle.

Final thoughts on the Barbare Reserve Premier: wow. Really, wow. If you are willing to make the investment you won’t be sorry. In fact I think I need another bottle…

Selendi Moralı 2015

As part of a wine tasting with Şarap Atölyesi I had the opportunity to taste the Selendi Moralı 2015 which came on the market only this summer (2016).

Selendi, one of Turkey’s Aegean wineries, is based in Akhisar province of Manisa (near Izmir). It has vineyards in various locations and often names its wines for the village where the vineyards are. The grapes for the Moralı were grown in the villages of Sarnıç and Moralı.

After six months in French oak barrels, this Grenache, Mourvèdre, Merlot, and Cinsault blend is a very European-influenced wine; but the earth (toprak) and sun (güneş) are all Turkey.

Selendi Moralı

Imagine from Selendi Wines

Selendi Moralı 2015 Tasting Notes:

This was a medium-bodied wine with 13.7% abv and a purply-red color that reflected how young it is and thick, slow legs.

The nose-wow where do I start. Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. There was lots of green (bell) pepper, smoke, petrol, vanilla, and red and black berries. After a nose like that I was a little disappointed with the palate. Relatively high acid with light tannins and a medium finish it was somehow both complex and thin.

This is still a pretty young wine. I think it needs a couple more years in the bottle for the body to catch up to the promise the nose made. If that happens then this will be one heck of a wine.

2009 Barbare Elegance

Everything you need to know about the 2009 Barbare Elegance is right in the name: elegant. Barbare is a top-shelf, organic wine producer here in Turkey; I’ve only had two of their wines so far but they were both amazing.

Of the two, the Barbare Elegance is my favorite. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvédre, this gorgeous red wine will set you back a pretty penny; about 89 TL at Macro Center, 140 TL at Solera, and somewhere in between at La Cave.

Barbare Elegance

I brought this over to M’s a while back and we both swooned over it. The nose, reflective of the Barbare Elegance ‘s color is very dark. I got a lot of leather, tobacco and coffee from this. We had almost no fruit in the nose but what I did get was dark and black fruits.

The palate of the Barbare Elegance was stunning: gorgeous, velvety tannins, mouth-watering acid, and a long, smooth finish.  Like the nose, the palate was driven more by oak than by the fruit with dominating flavors of leather, vanilla, sweet spices, burnt sugar, and clove.

At 14.5% APV, this is a big wine in more than just flavor. The 2009 Barbare Elegance is one of those bottles you splurge on for either a special occasion, or to make a special occasion. It might be a little rich for some pocketbooks but you will not regret getting it.

Suvla Sır

The 2011 Suvla Sır

The problem with back log reviews is that they get really back logged! This has apparently been neglected as a draft for a rather embarrassing amount of months. And while a few wines may deserve that, the 2011 Suvla Sır is not one of them.

There was a period a few months back during which I’d banned myself from drinking for a few weeks…and this Suvla Sır was the culprit. Once again I lost a bet that I could drink an entire bottle of red wine in one sitting and not regret it the next morning. Sadly I did regret it the next morning…but it was a bittersweet regret.

The 2011 Suvla Sır is a complex wine that was interesting right out of the bottle with a deep, dark red/burgundy color that did not let me down in the nose. Dark fruits, lots of berries, and depth. But what else would you expect from a complicated blend of Syrah, Merlot, Karasakiz, Grenache Noir, and Cabernet Franc?

And then the tannins! Oh they were beautiful. Right away on the attack the Suvla Sır acts like it lives for a good tannin the same way I do. Once I was finished swooning over them I was able to pay attention to other things. Like the way the flavors burst on my tongue like a rain drop and then lingered for a nice medium finish.

And how I picked up hints of what I think was tobacco which, combined with the fruit flavors, gives the Suvla Sır a nice balance making a truly elegant wine.

The notes I took while drinking this tell me to be poetic; that I drank the entire bottle while listening to Yo-Yo Ma, and to stop making bets with myself that I can drink entire bottles of red wine and wake up hangover free. I’ve lost that bet a few too many times so drunk me is obviously wiser than sober me. Although it’s easier to say no once temptation is gone (or more precisely after you’ve drunk it all).

At 88 TL per bottle (at the Suvla Shop-there’s a horrifying markup everywhere else) this isn’t an everyday bottle for me but I so wish it could be. Maybe I just need to set lower goals for myself so I can justify having the Sir as a reward more often. Hurrah! I learned and used a new Turkish grammatical construction! Hurrah! I did yoga everyday for a whole week! Hurrah! I got out of bed this morning!

Seriously, can I marry into the family? I grew up on a farm, I could be semi useful in viticulture. Maybe more on the drinking the end product side but still…someone’s got to do that!

Vedat Milor

Büyülübağ Vedat Milor 2012

Since my Carrefour has remodeled and renamed itself a Carrefour Gourmet (which as far as I can tell means that it simply has a less well designed interior and higher prices) I have found a few new wine labels. I was thrilled when I saw this Büyülübağ Vedat Milor (30-ish TL if I recall) was one of the new options. When asked which country I think produces the best wine I will always say Spain first (Italy second and Argentina third) so seeing a Turkish wine blend that includes Tempranillo and Grenache made me do a little happy dance right there in the Carrefour Gourmet wine section.

Unfortunately the happy dance ended when I got it home and tasted it. The Vedat Milor was a crushing disappointment from its murky garnet color to its syrupy finish.

While the nose held the promise of berries the palate was a sad imitation The Vedat Milor was a crushing disappointment from its murky garnet color to its syrupy finish. of what Tempranillos and Grenaches should be. I’ve happily owned up to my love of a jammy wine in the past but in this instance I understand why ‘jammy’ is a four letter word to wine experts. I was surprised by the lightness of the tannins the way this wine stuck to my tongue, coating my mouth with its cloying flavor.

Thankfully Carrefour has not completely renovated away its selection of Turkish mezes as the spicy acili ezme and icli kofte made the Vedat Milor far more palatable. However for the first time in a long time I found myself pouring the remainder of the bottle down the sink.

2013 Suvla Grenache Noir

I finally found the Suvla store in Cihangir which is both good and bad. Good because the store carries all of Suvla’s wines; bad because I don’t have a steady income and Suvla wines are not inexpensive; but that’s not going to stop me from buying them!

So let’s start with the description on the bottle: “Suvla Grenache Noir 2013 has the color of bright ruby red with purple nuances. The nose is an explosion of fruity and spicy aromas. The vibrating hints of ripe black cherry, mulberry, fig and blackberry are woven into a background of notes of black pepper, olive, thyme, and oregano. The well-balance body has a supple and elegant structure and exhibits a rich fragrance, blooming in the palate with fruity and spicy hints.”

I really, really wanted to like this one. For one thing; ‘Grenache Noir’ is a super sexy name. “Is that Merlot you’re drinking? Tsch. Oh me? I’m drinking Suvla Grenache Noir. And Humphrey Bogart is coming over later.”

Also, explosion of fruity aromas in this Suvla Grenache Noir? Check. The glass was sitting at the opposite end of my, admittedly small, table and I could still smell it. For me though, it fell apart after the nose. I tried to place what I was tasting: black pepper? oregano? mulberry? blackberry? In the end though, I couldn’t taste the fruit for the herbs and that just did not flip my Twinkie, as a good friend of mine says. My neighbor had some and she liked it though.

At only 40-something TL a bottle, the Suvla Grenache Noir is one of the vineyard’s more affordable wines which means I will probably try it again. Who knows, maybe a better food combination will make it come alive for me. Here’s to hoping because I still really want to like this one!