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.


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