Category Archives: Öküzgözü

Adnan Kutman Öküzgözü Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

I don’t drink Kutman wines often. Every time I do though I am reminded that it’s something I should do more often. Like the Adnan Kutman Öküzgözü Cabernet Sauvignon, Kutman wines are a balance of both the fruit and the winemaker’s expression. While not every one will knock your socks off; they are dependable options.

Kutman is one of Turkey’s many wineries with vineyards located in the prolific Thracian region. However those aren’t Kutman’s only vineyards. They also grow in the Ege district of Turkey’s Aegean region. They grapes for this particular wine come from both vineyards.

Öküzgözü is a native Turkish varietal. Originally from the country’s east (Anatolia), it is a delicate and fussy grape that has managed to do fairly well in other parts of the country. Öküzgözü generally creates easy to drink wines that are medium-bodied, high in acid, and have delicate fruity-floral aromas. Blending it with the much bigger personality inherent in Cabernet Sauvignon gives Öküzgözü a bit more depth of character.

Kutman Öküzgözü Cabernet Sauvignon

Adnan Kutman Öküzgözü Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Tasting Notes:

I do not know the blend percentages but the high acid and lower alcohol (12.5% abv) lead me to suspect that it is majority Öküzgözü. However that does not mean that the Cabernet Sauvignon has not made its presence felt.

The nose was rather aromatic with both red and black fruits, green bell pepper, mint, chocolate, and some baking spices. The latter likely a result of the wine’s 12 months in oak. Medium-bodied with smooth, light tannins, the palate displayed the delicacy of the Öküzgözü with light fruits giving way to subtle green flavors.

Sommeliers’ Selection Turkey 2017

February 25 and 26 Istanbul hosted the 2017 Sommeliers’ Selection Turkey at the St. Regis hotel. Organized by Gustobar, the event brought together 179 wines from 34 Turkish wineries and about eight international wineries.

Sommeliers' Selection

It was, as one might expect, rather a mad house.

Sommeliers' Selection

That’s not down to the organizers of course. Big tasting affairs like the Sommeliers’ Selection are always a little bit of a mad house as one jostles for position at the tables to get a sample. And what samples! Wines from across Turkey, Italy, France, and Chile were available. I was impressed with the selection of Turkish wines although I was sorry to not see wine from producers like Arda, Melen, Umurbey, Kutman, or Gülor. I was surprised to not see anything from Paşaeli, Corvus, Turasan, or Prodom but somehow not surprised to not see anything from Chateau Kalpak.

Sommeliers' Selection

To my delight (and frankly a little surprise) there were several wineries there I didn’t know at all. One, the Izmir-based Öküzgözü Winery really impressed with its Öküzgözü Foça Karası. Definitely young, this was a bright purple-red wine with strong acid, and the flavors of red berries, cloves, and herbs. I don’t usually like wines made from Öküzgözü grapes but this one I would really love to find again.

Sommeliers' Selection

A HUGE surprise was Saranta’s Chateau Murou line. I tried, and liked, several of these but what shocked me the most was the fact that I like their Merlot. I know, right?! Surprisingly herbal with big red fruits this was, as my friend said, Merlot with a little evil in it. Definitely something I would drink.

Sommeliers' Selection

Of all the wines I tried I was the most pleased with the selection of white wines. I don’t often have good luck finding white wine that I like so I’m looking forward to picking up some of these, such as Nif’s Aegean blend of Narince, Viognier, and Solaris.

The 2015 Narince by Vinoluş, featured at the Sommeliers’ Selection master class, was amazing. Highly mineral with orange blossom, honeysuckle, stone fruits, and maybe some banana, this was a killer wine. Sadly Vinoluş made only 600 bottles of this so I’m thinking that I don’t have a fantastic chance of getting one for my very own.

Sommeliers' Selection

One of my favorites of the day was the Bona Dea line from Ergenekon-another new winery to me. I liked the red on offer as well but the cloudy, unflitered Sauvignon Blanc was light with crisp acidity and full of peaches was the star for me.

In addition to the general tasting I signed up for the master class with sommeliers Ronan Sayburn MS and Isa Bal MS. A complete departure from the tastings I’ve been attending, this was in English in deference to Sayburn who is British.

Sommeliers' Selection

With the two sommeliers participants tasted through a series of 13 wines selected by them [the sommeliers] during a blind tasting. All but one of the selected wines were Turkish. Of these for me the most remarkable were Likya’s Acıkara and Edrine’s Papazkarası. The most surprising? Mon Reve Marselan by Domaine Lucien Arkas. I have openly hated on Mon Reve wines before but this minty, slightly meaty, smokey red wine full of tart blackberries has me thinking again. Yet another wine that I need to find.

Sommeliers' Selection

I was surprised to discover how many people there I already knew from vineyard visits, other tasting events, or social media. It was very nice to see and meet so many people. I will definitely make good on the promises I made to visit wineries, especially Edrine and Vino Dessera as well as to stop in at the Kastro Tireli storefront near Bebek.

Not wanting to ruin a great event by getting drunk I did a fairly decent job of taking only small sips of wine and pouring out the remainder of the glass. As much as it hurts my feelings to spit and/or pour out wine there’s no way I could have tasted even the fraction of wines on offer I did and lived to tell about it had I drunk everything. By the time I got to the master class late in the afternoon though all bets were off and I no longer left wine in the glass. It probably would have been fine if we’d stopped there but there was still a little time after the class before everyone was herded out and most of the wines were left unattended!

Even though today I feel like I won’t even be able to look at wine for at least a week this was a fantastic event. I am so glad I had the opportunity to go and would definitely come back from Italy for the 2018 event!!

2013 Turasan Öküzgözü Boğazkere

It’s been ages since I’ve had an Öküzgözü Boğazkere blend. As much as I enjoy trying the native grape wines in Turkey drinking the same three reds (Öküzgözü, Boğazkere, and Kalecik Karası) and blends of the same does get old. I was, however, only too happy to take up a friend on her offer of a glass of the Turasan Öküzgözü Boğazkere that she brought to a Thirsty Thursday event.

Turasan OB

In the glass the Turasan Öküzgözü Boğazkere was a ruby red bordering on purple, bright and clear. The nose was dark/black fruits. On the palate it was very tart, no tannin, and little bit of a cliffhanger; something of a surprise for anything involving the powerful Boğazkere grape. It was a predominantly fruit-forward wine with flavors of blackberry and cherry but those dropped off quickly leaving very light hints of spice and possibly pine forest.

There’s nothing technically wrong with the 2013 Turasan Öküzgözü Boğazkere. If your preference is easily drinkable, unchallenging wines then this is right up your alley. For me, I like something more complex and structured.

Gulor Öküzgözü-Malbec

2013 Gülor Öküzgözü Malbec

I’m always surprised when I go to Macro Center by how many wines the store doesn’t have. It has a very small alcohol selection, in fact I think my local Carrefour has as many or more varieties. However what Macro Center’s selection does have going for it is the odd bottle here or there that I’ve not seen anywhere else; which is how I ended up with this bottle of 2013 Gülor Öküzgözü Malbec for 71.50TL. Macro Center has an odd pricing structure.

Gülor wines are from Şarköy which makes them part of Turkey’s Thracian wine trail; my preferred wine region in Turkey. Since I had such luck with Likya’s Malbec I decided to go for it and see what Gülor could do with a Malbec blend.

In the glass the Gülor Öküzgözü Malbec is a gorgeous purple with an equally lovely nose of raspberry, possibly black cherry, blueberry, chocolate, and maybe a little mint.

On the palate I got some of the blueberry but not the raspberry or cherry I thought I had detected in the nose. It was a little more…black raisin I think with baking spices and a touch of tobacco. Medium low tannins, lively acidity, and medium body lead into a relatively long finish.

All in all, the 2013 Gülor Öküzgözü Malbec was pretty niiice.

Kayra Buzbağ Reserve Öküzgözü Boğazkere

Kayra Buzbağ Reserve Öküzgözü Boğazkere

Now that my neighbor has turned me on to wines made in Elazığ I’m more and more on the look out for them. Kayra, as mentioned previously, is one of the largest makers in that region and M, who really just likes to say “Öküzgözü” picked up this bottle of the 2012 Kayra Buzbağ Reserve Öküzgözü Boğazkere not too long ago.

This dark, plummy red colored wine has definitely benefited from the 24 months it spent in French oak which is obvious in the clove, cardamom, and leather scents that I got from the nose. Combined with the plum, black mulberry, and dried fruit aromas the Kayra Buzbağ Reserve Öküzgözü Boğazkere had a very promising start.

The Kayra Buzbağ Reserve Öküzgözü Boğazkere has some nice tannins in the mouth from the Boğazkere grapes were well-matched with a medium acid, however there was only a very slight finish. However slight, the finish had a flavor profile all of its own with hints of toast, toffee, and maybe walnuts? More legacies of its oaking.

As I’m describing it I feel a little romantic and thinking, “Wow! This was amazing! Toast! Toffee! Cardamom!” The reality was less enticing. It was nice, I’m not hating on this one, but it wasn’t as fabulous as I make it sound. A solid food wine it compliments meat and grilled food well but is not something I would choose for just drinking. So far my experience with Kayra’s wines has me preferring the Vintage and Versus labels.

Suvla Öküzgözü

The 2014 Suvla Öküzgözü

It’s been a while since we’ve featured a wine by Suvla. The problem with finding a wine producer that you really like is you (or I at least) burn through all their wines really fast and then there are no new wines to taste! That doesn’t mean I’m not still drinking Suvla wines, in fact I had a bottle of their Boğazkere recently, but it does mean I don’t post about them so often. However today we are talking about one of their newer wines, the 2014 Suvla Öküzgözü.

Öküzgözü grapes usually produce a softer light to medium body wine and Suvla’s is no exception to that. On the nose I initially got light aromas of cotton candy and raspberry which deepened with black mulberry, plum, and dried oregano as the wine opened. I thought I also may have got a bit of honey but since I was already a bottle in when we opened the Öküzgözü I might have just been a little tipsy.

On the palate the Suvla Öküzgözü is juicy forest berries, plum, and dried herb. It was a little on the thin side for me, super low tannins, low medium acid, medium alcohol, not much of a finish.

What I found very interesting about this wine was that the grapes come not from Suvla’s vineyard in Gallipoli but from the Bekilli Vinyard in the Güney Plateau in Denizli where they were hand-picked and taken back to Gallipoli for processing.

I can’t say that this was a very remarkable wine however that’s not to do with any fault by Suvla. I tend to prefer Öküzgözü in a blend rather than on its own. If you prefer a softer red though this is a good choice wine for you and at only 29 TL (at Suvla) it won’t hurt your pocketbook.

Diren Gali

Diren Öküzgözü vs the Gali Blend

Today was to have been the last of my 4AM Twitter sessions with VinoRai and Protocol Wine Studio during which we were to compare the Diren Öküzgözü and the Gali Blend. I bought both of the wines on which the discussion was focused and was all set to drink two glasses of red wine at 4 in the morning. Unfortunately dealing with Turkish bureaucracy this week has given me a few headaches, including one last night. When I woke up in pain at 2:30 AM I knew I wasn’t going to be able to participate in the session. Happily at least I can read what everyone Tweeted and, since my headache finally went away, drink a couple glasses tonight.

My desk right now

Let’s start with the Anatolia-based Diren. I’ve had Diren wines before, the Kalecık Karası I believe, and I wasn’t a fan. The nice thing about Diren wines is that they’re everywhere. I picked up this one at La Cave in Cihangir for 25TL.

The Diren 2012 Öküzgözü was an opaque purple-red; very ‘berry’ in color. In the nose I got dark red fruits and spice, maybe some chocolate? On the palate…eh. I found it to be a little on the thin side. There were no tannins to speak of but a fair amount of acid and despite having only 12% alcohol I think it tasted a little hot. I could see this going very well with grilled meats, particularly lamb but on it’s lonesome it was not to my taste. Which, to be fair to Diren, I generally prefer Öküzgözü as a blend. One really interesting thing I learned though is that Öküzgözü grapes produce wines often compared to Beaujolais (which I don’t like so it makes sense that I wouldn’t like the Turkish version!) and can be served chilled! I’m totally putting this in the fridge for a bit.

Moving onto the 2010 Gali Blend which is a Merlot-Cabernet Franc blend (70TL at Solera). I heart Gali wines. They’re a bit more dear to the pocketbook than other Turkish wines but are worth it.  A denser color than the Diren, the Gali Blend was a dense red with little to no opacity.

Gali, which is located in Gallipoli like my bffs at Suvla, produces Bordeaux-style wines and in fact employs a French wine maker. The nose of the blend was swoon-worthy, dark and rich. On the palate-holy tartness, Batman! I almost lost the tannins because of the tart. I’m not sure if that was the fruit or a high level of acid but I would let this one breathe a wee little while. However a longer, slower sip, letting the wine run over my tongue, produced a fair (read medium) amount of tannins and a nice finish; very rich and full of dark fruits. This would love a steak. So would I actually. Sadly for me I have no steak on hand at the moment but this big wine did pretty well with what I did have for dinner: Parmesan and bread with oil and balsamic.

Oh Diren, I really wanted to like you but after drinking the Gali Blend you’re almost offensive. However I will put you in the fridge and we’ll see what happens. Until then I shall continue to play Vivien Leigh to the Gali Blend Clark Gable and swoon over here.


Chateau Nuzu

The 2011 Chateau Nuzu Red Blend

Procured at Comedus for a reasonable 43 TL, this 2011 Chateau Nuzu is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Öküzgözü. We actually drank some time ago, when the January weather was nicer than our current April weather. Le sigh.

Aside from the ruby red color, the tartness on the Chateau Nuzu palate was the first thing we all noticed. It was really acidic giving the wine a sour flavor. With the sour yeastiness dominating, I had a hard time tasting anything else but believe I did detect some plum and cherry flavors hiding in there.

Rather extreme tartness wasn’t the Chataeu Nuzu 2011’s only surprise we discovered. Sediment-lots of it in fact which might explain why the wine was so sour. I’m not expert but my understanding is that sediment doesn’t often appear in wines as young as a 2011 production; it’s more often found in (red) wines that are eight-ten years and older.

All that aside we certainly managed to finish the bottle-no hardship really since it was accompanied by a selection of Comedus’ excellent deli products including one of my new favorite things, thinly sliced, smoked Balkan meat. No idea what that really means but it is excellent.

And prosciutto. Comedus has prosciutto. Is it a wonder I go every couple weeks to stock up on wine and cold cuts?

We had some mixed reactions. M likes wine with high acid levels so he actually quite liked the Chateau Nuzu. E and I were not fans. However even though I didn’t like this one, I’m not going to say that it was a complete miss and I’d be curious to try it again; although next time I will check the bottle before I buy it to see if there’s any sediment in it.

Villa Duluca Klasik

Villa Doluca Klasik Red Blend

As I’ve had uneven luck with them in the past I don’t tend to buy a lot of wines from Duluca. Nor did I buy this one. It’s interesting having partners in wine tasting shenanigans as E&M often buy wines that I wouldn’t. Sometimes for very good reasons but they’re still new to the Turkish wine scene so we forgive them.

I was intrigued by the Villa Duluca Klasik when I saw that, accompanying the Öküzgözü-Shiraz blend was Alicante. Alicante, being a region in (central I think) Spain known for producing Monastrell wines, is not a name I see here often and I eagerly opened the bottle to see how it would affect the wine’s flavor.

Unfortunately I had a hard time with this Villa Duluca Klasik. For one thing, E&M were cooking a curry heavy with lime juice which, while delicious, inhibited my ability to smell much of anything other than lime and curry. Maybe that was for the best. At least E&M weren’t volunteering nose descriptors that would go better with a Lisa Frank illustration than with wine.

The Monastrell effect did not come through the feel of the wine. The Villa Doluca Klasik was very low on the tannin scale, nor did it have much of any finish which lead me to believe that the largest percentage of grape (that and it being listed first-like top billing in a film) was the Öküzgözü.

Despite being a dry wine, there was an odd sweetness and thickness (one that had nothing to do with lovely tannins coating the tongue) which may have come from the Alicante as Monastrell wines are known for their blackberry syrup notes. The whole drinking experience was interesting if not especially tasty. With each sip the wine kind of burst on the tongue then dissipated-much like a raindrop. An alcoholic one. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?! Not wine rain though; think of the stains. Vodka. Yes. I would put buckets on my terrace to catch it.

So in the end, while not offensive (and there are some that are so!) it wasn’t particularly good either. If I had a phone that allowed apps and I could use Vivino (which E&M do in my stead) this would be in the 1.5 Star range for me.

Vino Dessera Öküzgözü

Vino Dessera Öküzgözü 2012

A few weeks ago I finally made it to Comedus, a great little charcuterie deli nearish my place. In addition to going a little nuts buying a variety of cheeses and meats, I also picked up several bottles of really quite reasonably priced wine, including the 2012 Vino Dessera Öküzgözü.

Comedus had a couple wines by Vino Dessera, the Öküzgözü I picked up (32TL) and a Cabernet Sauvingnon. Since I liked the Öküzgözü so well (spoiler), I’ll probably go back for the Cabernet and if even the nose is at all similar (beautiful, floral with red fruits) I think I’ll like that too.

Aside from my eye drops everything on the table was delicious.

Initially on the palate the Vino Dessera Öküzgözü was not a remarkable wine. Like most of the Öküzgözüs I’ve had the tannins were barely discernible; nor did the wine have much of any finish. However, a nice level of acid combined with a good floral/fruity balance and juicy fruits made for such a charming and delightful flavor that I couldn’t be moved to care too much about missing tannins!

More than just a nice drinking wine, the Vino Dessera Öküzgözü also paired very well with the cheeses and smoked meats we got, highlighting the richness of the meat and playing well with both the strong flavors of goat cheese and the sweetness of caramelized red onions.

So…winner!! There are many reasons I’ll be headed back to Comedus soon and getting another bottle of this (plus anything else by Vino Dessera) is one of them.