Barbare is one of Turkey’s really special wineries and the Ambiance 2012 is no exception. I don’t know exactly what makes them stand out so much. Many other wineries here, even its neighbors in Thrace, are quality wine producers with equal dedication, skill, and passion. But there’s just something about Barbare that always excites me.
Barbare Vineyard’s tale begins in 2000 when Can Topsakal decided to join the exciting world of winemaking after completing his university education in France. His quest to find the most suitable soil and microclimate for his vineyards took him on a journey from Çeşme in the Aegean region to Tekirdağ in Thrace. Subsequently, Topsakal purchased 57 acres of land in Tekirdağ to establish Barbare Vineyards and set forth on making his dream a reality with Xavier Vignon, a prominent oenologist and wine consultant for numerous Chateau Wineries in France.
Barbare is committed to the philosophy that “winemaking begins at the vineyard” and has a low-yield strategy and the average yield at Barbare’s vineyards is 350-400 kg annually. Not only aren’t the grapevines watered unless absolutely necessary, the grapevines are carefully monitored to ensure homogenous maturity and yield capacity. As a result, Barbare is able to produce superb wines with vibrant and distinct hues, complex aromas and soft tannins. The vineyard practices organic viticulture and holds the ECOCERT certification for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes.
Topsakal decided on the name Barbare to pay homage to the history of winemaking in Thrace and because of the vineyard’s location along the ridges of Barbaros, a small and picturesque village.
The grapes at Barbare are fermented in heat-controlled stainless steel tanks, with a maximum residual sugar ratio of 0.5 g/l to produce dry wines. After fermentation is complete (two to six weeks on average), the wines undergo malolactic fermentation. During this process in winemaking, tart-tasting malic acid that is naturally present in grape must is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid to create a rounder, fuller mouth feel. Wines are then matured in French oak barrels. Barbare uses Allier, Vosges and Nevers French oak barrels and follow the “mature the wines without too much oak” principal.
Barbare Ambiance 2012 Tasting Notes:
The Barbare Ambiance is a Rhône-style blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mouvédre. Although at 15% abv is a bit higher in alcohol and body than its French inspiration. The nose is stunning. and expressive. Aromatic with black fruits, black pepper, savory olives, earthy tobacco, and hints of vanilla and coffee from its 12 months in French oak. The palate is balanced with tactile and supple tannins and a long, elegant finish. Beautiful flavors of spiced plum, vanilla, coffee, and tobacco.
Turkey is a land that nearly drowns in the flood of Bordeaux blends. Even Barbare makes Bordeaux-style wine. And while the Ambiance is beautiful in its own right, the refreshingly different blend makes it a stand out. This is one of my favorite wines that I drank in 2017.