Category Archives: Petit Verdot

Kastro Tireli Karkaia 2013

I haven’t yet dived fully into Kastro Tireli’s wines. Outside of the Narince-Viognier I previously reviewed I’ve only also had this Karkaia, a Bordeaux-blend style wine. However I’m so pleased to see that their wines are pretty widely available now. Especially as I’m a fairly lazy individual and still haven’t made it to their storefront in Bebek.

Committed to quality over quantity, Kastro Tireli, which began planting in 2004, does everything by hand. The winery is also dedicated to organic viticulture. If you cannot visit them in Akhisar and want a bigger experience than just picking up something in the bottle shop-head to Bebek. And then mock me with how great your experience was. Maybe then I’ll stop being lazy and finally make a visit!

Karkaia

Kastro Tireli Karkaia 2013 Tasting Notes:

The Kastro Tireli Karkaia is a big, bold blend of traditional Bordeaux grapes. This beautiful, deep ruby wine combines not only Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but also Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

The alcohol is quite high (14.9%!) so you’ll want to give this some breathing time or otherwise aerate it. Without the benefit of breathing the nose is initially quite tight and alcoholic. However once it does have a chance to settle, the nose is redolent with fruit and spice. Black fruits (black currant, blackberry, and black plums) are mingle with vanilla and sweet, baking spices. It’s saved from being too sweet any syrupy by a zing of green bell pepper. Beautiful, round tannins support rich fruits and spices on the palate.

Overall the Karkaia is a well-balanced and elegant wine that only increases my estimation of Kastro Tireli as a whole. I look forward to trying more of their wines!

Suvla Reserve Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012

As with the Suvla Sur, I’ve tasted multiple vintages of Suvla’s Reserve Petit Verdot Karasakız. Is the Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012 my favorite of the vintages? I honestly do not know since they are all beautiful.

Suvla is a family owned wine producer established by Pınar Ellialtı and Selim Zafer Ellialtı in 2003. The vineyards are nestled in the historical Peninsula of Gallipoli, between the North Aegean coast and the Sea of Marmara where they cultivate a wide variety of grapes. The whites include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, and Marsanne. The reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Noir, Petit Verdot, and Pinot Noir. In addition Suvla produces several indigenous grape varieties, including Kınalı Yapıncak and Karasakız. In 2013 Suvla switched to organic viticulture. As a result they received a certification of ‘Good Agriculture Practice – GAP’.

Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012

I love Petit Verdot. It is highly prized as a blending grape because it adds color, tannin, and floral aromas. However as part of a Bordeaux blend you never really get to appreciate it since it’s usually only 2-7% of the blend.

Petit Verdot is a late ripening grape. Probably for that reason it has never been used to its full potential in France where it originates. The Bordeaux growing season is too short to allow it to fully ripen. However, lucky me, the grape has made a resurgence and warmer countries are now producing varietal, or blend-led Petit Verdot wines. Including Turkey!

Suvla Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012 Tasting Notes:

The Suvla Reserve Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012 is a medium bodied wine with a full-bodied attitude. While not completely opaque, its dark ruby color hypnotizes as you gaze deeply into the wine; like it holds your future.

Blending the Karasakız with the Petit Verdot brings out some of the Petit Verdot’s brighter fruit and earthy flavors. The nose was ripe with blackberry and black cherry, walnut, cinnamon, earth, and meat. Gorgeous, velvety tannins seduce the palate with black fruit and earthy, meaty flavors linger on the finish.

As long as Suvla continues to produce Petit Verdot I will be there to drink it!

Chateau Kalpak BBK 2011

Even before our trip to Chateau Kalpak with Em and AJ I’d had a few of their wines. One of them being the AWC Gold Medal winner BBK 2011.

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 2011

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 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.

Chateau Kalpak BBK 2011 Tasting Notes:

The BBK might be Chateau Kalpak’s second wine but that in no way means it’s an inferior wine. In fact personally I liked the BBK 2011 more than I did the same vintage Chateau Kalpak. A bold blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot with a 14.7% abv, the BBK 2011 is a wine to be taken seriously.

The nose is a dark, romantic mystery. Aromas of black fruit, baking spices, dark chocolate, and mocha wrap your senses like a silken cocoon. Beautifully balanced with velvety tannins, the BBK held us in thrall and continued to develop and open as we sank into its spell. In addition to the black fruits and dark chocolate from the nose; clove, vanilla, and caramel each vied for their turn to take center stage. The long finish lingered with flavors of smoke and a hint of meat.

We made a pilgrimage in that bottle and found the light. It might have been a brilliant ruby light, but we found it.

The Suvla Sur 2012

I have been lucky enough to try three different vintages of Suvla’s Sur: the 2010, 2011, and 2012. A few years ago I wrote about the 2010 and 2011 side by side so it’s time to tackle the Sur 2012. They’re all beautiful wines. I wish I could get one of each for a vertical tasting but I believe the 2010 is sold out. It hurts no one’s feelings though to drink the Sur 2012!

Suvla is a family owned wine producer. In 2003 Pınar Ellialtı and Selim Zafer Ellialtı established the winery in Eceabat. Because of their location along the Çanakkale Strait (also known as Dardanelles); they named the winery after a bay in the north coast of the Aegean Sea. In 2006 after the first harvest they named the main vineyard ‘Bozokbağ’ after their newborn son ‘Bozok’.

Sur 2012

The Suvla vineyards are nestled in the historical Peninsula of Gallipoli, between the North Aegean coast and the Sea of Marmara. They produce a wide variety of grapes. The whites include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, and Marsanne. The reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Noir, Petit Verdot, and Pinot Noir. In addition they also produce indigenous grape varieties, including Kınalı Yapıncak and Karasakız. In 2013 Suvla switched to organic viticulture and as a result received a certification of ‘Good Agriculture Practice – GAP’.

Sur 2012

Suvla Sur 2012 Tasting Notes:

The Sur 2012 is a Bordeaux blend of Merlot (73%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Cabernet Franc (7%), and Petit Verdot (5%). After fermentation it spent 12 months in oak barriques before being bottled and released.

The Sur is a balance of power and elegance regardless of which vintage you get. At% abv there’s no denying the power certainly! Blackberry, spices, jalepeño, and mocha mingle in the nose. The palate is perfectly balanced with smooth, elegant tannins and mouthwatering acid, Sweet, ripe blackberries, black pepper, and mocha invite you on a romantic journey.

This is one of those wines you could drink in one sitting without noticing what you’ve done. The Suvla Pied Piper beckons you deeper into the bottle until you’ve drowned in it. Happy way to go!

A Visit to Flam Winery

Some time ago I posted a review of Flam’s Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. Since I was able to visit the Flam Winery, located outside Jerusalem. While there I tasted wines, bought wines, and got to meet the charming founder and owner, Israel Flam.

Flam Winery

Flam Winery is a family business. Israel’s wife, two sons, and daughter are all involved in the business. They planted their vineyards in the Upper Galilee and Judean Hills. Like many Israeli wineries Flam shares a dedication to creating terroir-driven, quality wines.

They insist on low-yield harvests that are then hand harvested and sorted. Established in 1998 Flam emphasizes quality over quantity. This is especially evident in the winery’s annual production numbers. Flam continues to produce a limited amount every year; averaging 150,000 bottles.

Flam Winery

Flam makes two main lines: a classic blend and a reserve. There is also the Flam Noble however production is so limited I wasn’t able to get my hands on any. I did get to taste two of the classic blends and the three reserves. Also not on offer for the tasting was the Flam Rose (Cabernet Franc and Syrah) but since I don’t particularly like rose I was okay about that.

Flam Winery

Flam Classico Tasting Notes:

Flam Classico is a single vineyard blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Syrah. Aged 30% in American oak and 70% French oak this is a drink it soon wine. By which I mean it is not ageable.

The nose is fruity with some soft spices. It’s a medium-bodied wine with 13.5% abv. The palate is again fruity with green pepper, spice, good tannin structure, and fairly high acid. This is a food wine and would probably pair well with meat, tomato-based, and rustic dishes.

Flam Winery

Flam Merlot Reserve 2015 Tasting Notes:

One interesting thing I learned at Flam is that Israeli wine laws require that single-varietal wines have to be 85% that wine to be labeled as such. So Flam’s Merlot is not 100% Merlot, it’s at least 85% Merlot. I was naturally prepared to not like this, because Merlot.

After 12 months in French oak, the Flam Merlot Reserve had a nose of spices, violets, and red fruits. The tannins were slightly sharp but some bottle time would make this really elegant. The wine was fruit-driven with soft spices and a slightly sweet finish. All in all not bad for a Merlot. But not exciting enough to get me to buy any.

I did walk away from the visit with a few bottles: another Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, the Syrah Reserve (which surprised me), and the Flam Blanc. Reviews on the latter two soon!

Chateau Kalpak 2011 Bordeaux Blend

The Chateau Kalpak 2011 is a classic Bordeaux blend made by one of Turkey’s premiere winemakers; Chateau Kalpak. Made in a chateau-style this 2011 blend took a well-deserved gold medal at the 2014 Austrian Wine Challenge.

What is a “chateau-style” wine? The word came into use originally to describe wine in France where winemakers used grapes all grown on one “terroir” (a specific patch of land) to achieve a house-style wine with a consistent character across vintages.

Chateau Kalpak wines are made in this style. The Chateau Kalpak 2011 is a classic Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. All the grapes are grown in one vineyard in Gellibolu. After fermentation and blending they are barrel aged for an impressive 32 months in Hungarian oak barrels.

These wines won’t set you back the same amount as France’s Chateau Margaux.  Rather they are reasonably priced and in fact are not even the most expensive Turkish wines on the market at roughly 115TL. They are however among the most special wines available in Turkey.

Chateau Kalpak 2011

Chateau Kalpak 2011 Tasting Notes:

In the glass the Chateau Kalpak 2011 is a brilliant ruby and the nose is redolent with sour cherry, bright red fruits, eucalyptus, and mint. The palate is balanced and round with medium, smooth tannins and a long finish. While reflective of the nose, the flavors on the palate expand to include baking spices and an even deeper expression of the red fruits.

The 2010 Paşaeli 6N

I found this post buried in my drafts folder. I think it’s from last winter so color me embarrassed! Regardless of my embarrassment the 2010 Paşaeli 6N is too good to not post. This Karasakız, Merlot, Petit Verdot blend is a gorgeous example of how right a blend of native Turkish and Old World grapes can go.

Paşaeli 6N

Before we get into the notes lets talk about the name. What’s in a name? A political statement in this case! I’ve wondered about the name of this wine since the very first time I tried it and it was only recently that I learned the story behind it. So I guess it was actually fate and not laziness that kept this from getting posted back when I originally wrote it.

Gold was found in the Kas mountains here in Turkey. Of course, with no thought to the environmental impact or the major disruptions it would cause people living there the government handed out contracts to people who quickly got to work destroying the environment. The Turkish word for ‘gold’ is altın. The word for ‘six’ is altı so the numeral 6 followed by an ‘n’ when said together is a word play that sounds like the Turkish word for gold. That combined with the big red slash creates a wine taking a political stance: no gold.

Paşaeli 6N

Tasting notes 2010 Paşaeli 6N:

After only six months in French oak this Paşaeli 6N blend managed to soak up a fair amount of oaky goodness.The nose was deep and intense, full of dark fruits like black cherries and plums, dried herbs, and smoke. On the palate there were velvety tannins with well-balanced acid and a gorgeous, long finish. In the flavors I detected tart, forest fruits and chocolate to balance the smoke and herbs on the nose.

So so beautiful. In general I have liked the Paşaeli wines I’ve tried but for me, the Paşaeli 6N is by far the best. Paşaeli produces quite a few wines and yet they somehow remain rather difficult to get your hands on here in Istanbul but they’re usually worth the effort it takes to hunt them down. And sadly I haven’t seen the 6N recently at all. If anyone knows where I can get another please let me know!

The 2013 Prodom Petit Verdot

For a very brief time I tried OK Cupid in Turkey. It was a largely uneventful experience but I mention it because it was while on a date that I found this week’s wine. He knew I was a wine lover and asked me to recommend a bottle so we wandered into a shop over in Karaköy (I know! I went to Asia for this guy but he was pretty cute, and tall, and a doctor). I was expounding on the merits of different wines when I saw the Prodom label. I started to tell him that if he wanted to invest the money then Prodom was a sure bet. Then my eyes caught up with my mouth and I saw something I’d never before found in the shops in my area: a Prodom Petit Verdot. I grabbed the one bottle and hugged it to my chest while saying: “Except this one; this one is mine.”

Probably needless to day but we haven’t been out again. For a wine like the Prodom Petit Verdot though it was a fair trade.

Prodom Petit Verdot

The nose of this beautiful wine was full of black fruits and flowers-violets and maybe lilac? Fourteen months in (French) oak have helped tame the high tannins into a really gorgeous velvety mouth feel with a long, enjoyable finish. The flavors called to mind blueberries and blackberry jam and mocha.

If you’re interested in trying a Petit Verdot varietal then the Prodom Petit Verdot is a nice place to start. Yes it’s going to put a small dent in your pocketbook but it could be worse. If you want to trek over to Karaköy to Rind then it will only set you back 95 TL; but if you’re too lazy to go to Asia then you can find it at the Savoy tobacco shop (in Cihangir on Siraselviler) for 115 TL.

The Chateau Kalpak Twin

I have two favorite Turkish wines-and one is the 2011 Chateau Kalpak Twin.

Chateau Kalpak is a semi newish winery, located in Şarköy on the Marmara Sea. I say semi newish in that I’ve only noticed the wines here in Istanbul for about the last 18 months or so but I believe their vines have been cultivated since the early 2000’s.

Getting a bottle of Chateau Kalpak Twin is not for the faint of heart though. Suvla has the best price at 100 TL, Savoy Tobacco and La Cave are both around 115 TL, and at Solera it will set you back 140 TL (-25% if you buy it to go). Is it worth the price tag? Absolutely yes.

Chateau Kalpak Twin

A lot of love has gone into making the Chateau Kalpak Twin. Proven if nothing else by the silver medal it won at the AWC in Vienna in 2015 and the gold it took in 2016. This careful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot has spent a whopping 32 months in oak with minimal filtration. It’s a big wine 14.8% alcohol and it really needs to breathe or be run through an aerator; maybe twice. Your patience will be well rewarded though.

I love the story of the Chateau Kalpak Twin. After blending their 2011 Chateau Kalpak and sending it off to VIenna for competition they kept blending the wine because they weren’t happy with it. In the end, the blend they’d sent in won the gold but now they had another blend they liked better; and that’s what became the Chateau Kalpak Twin. While this is a pretty special story it’s also a sad story because it means that the Twin is only available in the 2011 vintage; in limited quantities.

Chateau Kalpak Twin

Chateau Kalpak Twin Tasting Notes:

The Chateau Kalpak Twin is a super complex wine. At first in the nose I got red fruits, spices, oak; but the more I let myself dive into to the aromas the more layers I found: green peppercorn, green bell pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, possibly some ginger, and forest aromas.

On the palate the delights of the wine continued with smooth, round, silky tannins and a long finish; a really long finish. The mouthwatering acid was accompanied by bursts of red berry fruit flavors to complete the picture.

Yes, the Chateau Kalpak Twin is a little expensive but it’s not nearly the most expensive wine I’ve had here in Turkey-and it is so very much worth the investment.

The 2014 Urla Tempus

I’ve been eyeing this 2014 Urla Tempus wine for a while but it’s 195 TL at Solera and I have a hard time coughing up that much for anything. However I have found it both at the Savoy tobacco shop in Cihangir and at Macro Center for 125 TL – far more reasonable in my opinion!

Urla Tempus
The Urla Tempus is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc and has a fairly whopping 15% APV. It’s a double gold winner in the US and fully deserves to be. In the glass the dark ruby red wine smelled velvety and deep. The nose was all black cherries, dark chocolate, and mocha which echo in the palate with beautiful velvety tannins and a long finish. A really long finish.

Urla Tempus

I have a stockpile of draft reviews to post which includes excellent wines, good wines, okay wines, and bad wines-but very few truly remarkable wines. The Urla Tempus was one of them; so much so that I made it the static picture for my website. It definitely falls in the ‘dangerously drinkable’ category and could easily hold its own against quality European wines. I already want another bottle.

Urla Tempus

This one is really gorgeous and fully worth the 125 TL price tag. M says it’s okay to pay to spend 125 TL on a special occasion wine but not on an every day wine-this is where our wine philosophies diverge. To me any day you open a wine this beautiful is a special occasion!