Tag Archives: Amadeus

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!!

Amadeus MMX 2015 Gelber Muskateller

What is Gelber Muskateller? you ask. It’s Muscat, or technically yellow Muscat. How is that different from any of the other Muscats I’ve reviewed? It’s not really, it’s the same grape. It just happens to be one of the German names (there are unbelievably almost 300 variations on the grape name!) and therefore a fitting name for the Austrian owner of the Amadeus winery to give his wine.

German white wines like Riesling and Gewürztramiener often get a bad rap as being syrupy sweet dessert wines when really that’s not the case. German, Austrian, and Alsace Riesling, Gewürztramiener, and Muscat wines are usually produced as dry wines, not sweet. While Austrians tend to grow more of their native Grüner Veltliner, they also produce dry Riesling, Gewürztramiener, and Muscat.

Amadeus Muskateller

To be honest I was more than a little hesitant to buy this even though it was only 45 TL. I’ve had a bad Amadeus experience before which made me a little gun shy and the guys at the Cave were pushing this one hard. They do annoy me a bit sometimes. If I ask for a recommendation please give me one, but if I go in an tell you that I know exactly what I’m looking for and I want only those specific wines, stop trying fob other wines off on me.

Rant aside, this wasn’t too bad. At 14.5% this wine by Amadeus has a rather high alcohol content for a white wine but made for some beautiful legs in the glass as I swirled the bright gold wine. The nose was very tropical with floral, possibly honeycomb tones. It also felt really good in the mouth with a nice mouthwatering acid to balance the sweetness coming from the high alcohol and a smooth, clean, medium finish that carried through the aromas from the nose.

Amadeus Muskateller

This Amadeus Gelber Muskateller was a lot nicer than I was expecting considering my reluctance to purchase Amadeus wines in general and the less than suave, beat you over the head with the wine bottle sales tactic from the guys at the Cave. I think I need to give Amadeus wines another try.

Amadeus Cabernet

Bozcaada: Amadeus 2013 Cuvee and Cabernet

On our second day on Bozcaada we shared a fantastic Turkish breakfast with our hosts that included products from the island and their own gardens as well my new obsession: tomato jam. But tomato jam Turkish style which means they were whole, kind of candied tomatoes in sugar syrup.Apparently they’re soaked in lye to give them their crunchy texture?

Follow our hosts on social media!

After breakfast we headed for our first wine adventure of the day-to the Amadeus Winery. Amadeus is owned by an Austrian man who grew up in Turkey who turned a family hobby into a business. I was very luckily to be able to talk to the owner for a while about his philosophy behind wine making and the processes he uses. At Amadeus they do not age wine in oak. Partially because of the expense-barrels are not cheap but also because while oak imparts flavor components to wine, it also takes away some of the natural flavors of the fruit. At Amadeus they prefer wines that are more fruit forward so at most they use wood chips in some of their wines.

Amadeus Vinothek on Bozcaada

From Amadeus we headed into town. Bozcaada reminds me a lot of Mykonos which, given the historic Greek population, isn’t really surprising. The town is separated into two parts, the part that used to be all Greek and the part that used to be all Turkish. The Turkish side is organized typically, in that it’s not; streets and buildings are laid out all higgledy-piggledy. The Greek side in contrast is laid out in very precise grids (however only because that side of town was lost in a fire and a visiting American made a city plan for them).

In our wanderings around town we ended up at Talay, the owners of the vineyard we hiked through the previous day. Talay produces a pretty wide range of wines but I’d never heard of them before. Since my trip I’ve noticed one or two bottles at La Cave but Talay is not a widely known name. They have a very laid-back island attitude in regards to advertising: people who we know who we are will drink Talay. Happily I was there on the island to try some of them. I went away with a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon because it took me a full 10 minutes to figure out the (to me) most outstanding flavor: green pepper. I can’t believe it took me that long to put my finger on what it was but I have never had a Cabernet with such a clear green flavor like that.

After our visit to Talay it was back to Lavender Breeze Farm where I was put through my paces on a blind tasting of the house wines. I had two tasks:

1. Identify which was the Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon
2. Match them to three other glasses of Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon

I failed miserably. Miserably!! To be fair even my host seemed a little confused as to which was which. In any case there was a lot of laughter and fun. I need to start practicing this skill at home!

 

You would think that I would really love a wine maker who generally does not use oak and who lives by the fantastic motto of “Life is a Cabernet” would be one of my favorite makers-unfortunately not so. I’ve had a very up and down relationship with Amadeus and while I thought I liked a couple of their wines well enough to buy them and haul them home, I think I might have been partially under an island influence, making me perceive them more favorably than I normally would.

Quite some time ago I tried the Amadeus 2012 Cuvee and really did not like. Really did not like it a lot. And yet while at Amadeus I rather did like the 2015. Did I like it as much when I got it home and was no longer under a possible situational influence?

I actually rather did. I mean I only paid 30 TL for the bottle directly from Amadeus and I think it’s a decent 30 TL bottle. Would I have liked it if I’d paid twice or more that amount at a shop in Istanbul? No.

The Cuvee Rouge is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. In addition to not aging wines in oak, Amadeus also doesn’t filter its wine (again in order to keep as much of the fruit flavor as possible) but despite that the wine was a nice, clear red-no cloudiness. In the nose it was very dark cherries, cacoa, vanilla, and coffee. On the palate it’s a medium-bodied wine with some soft tannins. Lots of red fruit and coffee flavors with a slightly sweet undertone from the vanilla. It went very nicely with strong Turkish cheeses.

The 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (also 30 TL directly from Amadeus) was also a decent wine for 30 TL. Like the Cuvee Rouge it’s a medium-bodied wine, so it’s not your typical big, full Cab.

There’s lots of heavy spices in the nose including green peppercorn and I think some jalapeno. Once you get past that you’re treated to both black and dried fruits like prune and a little baking spice from the oak chips used in the aging. On the palate smooth tannins accentuate the fruit and pepper flavors giving you a pretty decent drinking experience. Although like the Cuvee Rouge-a decent 30 TL drinking experience.

Amadeus Cuvee Rouge

The 2012 Amadeus Cuvee Rouge

I suffer so that others do not have to. That’s what I remind myself when I get a bottle of truly bad wine. Such was the case with the 2012 Amadeus Cuvee Rouge.

Amadeus was another new wine label to me when last I was at Comedus. At 43TL I thought that the Amadeus Cuvee Rouge, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz blend, would be a good try. I mean, how wrong can you go, selecting a wine named after one of the greatest composers who ever lived? Really super wrong apparently.

To describe the basics of the wine: oak in the nose, dark cherries, and black currant followed by a fruity flavor with medium low tannins and  long finish in no way prepares you for how horrible it was. Thick and syrupy, this Amadeus Cuvee Rouge was a red wine hangover waiting to happen. In point of fact it did not wait to happen. I not only refused a second glass but poured out the remains of my first. It was actually offensive.

Make a bad-tasting wine was apparently not enough for the makers of this abomination. It seems they wanted to take a leaf from the Cracker Jack book and included a surprise in the bottle. Not sediment, I think we would have been happy for some sediment. But no, we got this large sliver of, what we assumed was part of the barrel in which it was fermented. Luckily E noticed it before she swallowed.

Avoid. Much like, but really so many times worse than Mozart Kugeln, the Amadeus Cuvee Rouge is a slanderous use of a famous name. I wouldn’t even recommend this to people I don’t like.