Tag Archives: Arcadia

Arcadia Odrysia Narinca 2015

In the spring I attended an Arcadia wine tasting with Murat Mumcoğlu of Şarap Atölyesi. We tried a variety or red and white wines; one of which was the Odrysia Narince 2015. Wine made from Narince is not difficult to find; but finding one as special as the Odrysia is not easy.

Narince is a native Turkish grape. Originally from Tokat in Anatolia it is both a table grape and is used to make wine. “Narince” in Turkish means “delicately” which perfectly describes the wines it makes. Narince wines display sophisticated and elegant fruit flavors and are very ethereal and aromatic. They reveal aromas of orange, grapefruit, lime, white pineapple, quince, plumeria, acaccia, fruit blossom, basil, ripe green apple, and walnut.

In addition, the oh so popular grape leaf dishes in Turkish cuisine are made from Narince leaves. This actually presents an interesting conundrum for wine makers. While Arcadia cultivates its own Narince, not everyone does. Most Narince vineyards in Tokat are owned by independent vignerons. They then sell the grapes to viniculturists and the leaves to people who preserve them for food. The problem is that the leaves mature sooner than the grapes. As a result they’re harvested while the grapes are still maturing and desperately need canopy cover.

Odrysia

Father and daughter team Ozcan and Zeynep Arca established Arcadia Vineyards in 2007 to make and showcase terroir-driven wines from Northern Thrace. From planting the vines to vinifying the grapes, they insist on careful production methods and minimum intervention, so that their wines can express the unique terroir of their beautiful vineyards. Arcadia wines are all made from estate-grown fruit. In 35 hectares of vineyard they grow nine different types of grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Sangiovese, Pinot Gris, Öküzgözü, and Narince.

Odrysia

Arcadia Odrysia Narinca 2015 Tasting Notes:

While Arcadia’s Odrysia is all delicate florals don’t let that fool you! At 13.5% abv this is still a serious white wine. Before bottling Arcadia put the Odrysia through only a limited filtration process. As a result the wine maintained its full aromas. The nose is very floral with perfumed plumeria floating above citrus, mineral, and quince.

Lively mouthwatering acid encourage the flavors to leap off your tongue. Citrus, lemon peel, plumeria, and yellow apple liberally flecked with minerals; like a lemon syllabub graced with a sprinkle of fleur de sal.

Gorgeous. I’ve had quite a few of Arcadia’s wines now and they have never let me down.

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!!

Arcadia’s Zesty 2012 Gri

I bought this a little hesitantly since I had bad luck with Arcadia’s Sauvignon Gris but my friends at Solera promised me it would be good and they have yet to steer me wrong. And I’ll give another chance to anyone who uses peacocks on all its labels. At I think only 75 TL (minus the 25% take away discount) this Sauvignon Gris Pinot Gris blend isn’t cheap, but it won’t break the bank.

Brilliant pale gold in the glass at least this Arcadia was starting off on a pretty foot. The nose was also quite lovely with white flowers, melon, and tropical notes with an underlying sweetness (probably the flowers). On the palate it was all zesty acid and citrus with tropical notes and more flowers.

Arcadia 2012 Gri
The guys at Solera are rarely wrong, I did indeed like this one. This could pair very well with food but was also quite enjoyable on its own. I’m not waxing poetic as I often do for the red wines, but more white wines like this and the Kayra Viognier and I might stop drinking white wines only in the summer.

Arcadia Pinot Gris

Arcadia 2012 Pinot Gris

Recently I let the guys at La Cave talk me into another bottle of wine; the Arcadia 2012 Pinot Gris. I do need more whites now that summer is on and at only 49 TL I wasn’t risking too much with this one. Plus I liked the art work. I’m not usually a huge fan of Pinot Gris. Like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, also known as Pinot Grigio, wines have a wide range of flavors depending on whether they were grown in cool climates (Italy and most of the USA/Australia) or warm climates (the Alsace, France, Turkey). And as with Sauvignon Blanc I prefer the warmer climate “riper” styles but usually as a food wine.

Arcadia’s 2012 Pinot Gris is a pretty nice example of a warmer climate style and given the price is actually a great bargain if you like this style of wine. While I was largely pleased with the flavor, again for me it was a food wine and my over all experience with this was enhanced a great deal by accompanying it with one of my favorite summer foods: chicken salad with red grapes and walnuts.

In the glass this estate-bottled Arcadia 2012 Pinot Gris is a beautiful gold color. For this particular wine, Arcadia uses limited filtration so there was some sediment in the glass-something I had not before encountered in a white wine. The nose was very citrusy which also came through on the palate-citrus, melon, honey, and a bit of something from the oak but I couldn’t quite identify that. Like a cooler-climate Italian-style Pinot Gris, I also detected some minerality at the end of the finish. It seemed fairly high in acid, in fact that was my very first impression, but it smoothed out a little.

To be honest I liked this more than I thought I would and for only 49TL it’s not a bad white to have on hand. For me it was definitely a food wine and it definitely needed to be served quite cold but I think this isn’t the last time I’ll be seeing this Arcadia Pinot Gris!

Arcadia Sauvignon Gris

Arcadia Sauvignon Gris 2010

“‘The time has come,’ the walrus said, ‘to talk of other things’.” For me that means it’s time to switch from my beloved red wines to the whites I try to drink during the warmer months. Now that summer is upon us I will try to drink more whites, like the Arcadia Sauvignon Gris and may even face off with a few Chardonnays. To kick this off I went to a white wine tasting with some of my girlfriends.

Organized by Istanbul-based British pub, Pubness, we were to taste our way through four different Turkish wines with French sommelier Jean Luc. Forty to sixty people were expected at this event but only nine of us came. While some of that may be attributed to flaky people this was also a day when Istanbul experienced a 4.4 magnitude earthquake, a bombing that killed 11 people, a bus accident that killed several more people, and severe weather. Given all that I’d say nine people was a pretty decent turn out. Apparently not for Jean Luc who, and I am not kidding, refused to go ahead with the tasting because he wouldn’t lower himself to speak to such a small group. The Pubness owners apologized profusely while Jean Luc sat at the back of the bar, wrapped in his own imagined superiority. We went on to enjoy our evening sans Jean Luc, spoke to Pubness’s bar manager about the wines we were supposed to have sampled, and had our own fun while loudly disparaging Jean Luc, his heritage, what his ego was compensating for, and pretty much anything else we could think of.

Jean Luc wankery aside, we begin this season of whites with the 2010 Arcadia Sauvignon Gris. A lovely person gave this to me as a gift for my house warning so I don’t know how much it’ll set you back. I found this an interesting if not exactly enjoyable wine.

For one thing it was a learning experience for me. I’ve never had a Sauvignon Gris before so imagine my surprise encountering it here in Turkey. The Sauvignon Gris grape is a pink grape which, at least in this case, produced a brilliant, clear pale straw/gold color. Most commonly found in the Loire valley, it’s usually labeled only as a Bordeaux wine as it’s apparently illegal to label it with the grape name.

walnut tulum & chevre cheeses w/ lavender apricot jam

At first I had a hard time smelling past the oak in the Arcadia Sauvignon Gris to the fruit underneath but as the wine opened more I got some apple and stone fruit along with sweet spices and almond. The flavors were quite nice and paired beautifully with the walnut tulum and chevre cheeses that I had. Tulum seems to be Turkey’s response to Stilton, it’s got a very strong flavor.

While the flavors were nice enough where the Arcadia Sauvignon Gris let me down was the mouth feel. It’s very flabby. I got no acid at all from this and I wonder if the bottle had gone off. Have you ever drunk water that’s been overly softened? That’s what this felt like. I’ve never had such a flabby wine before and while I appreciate that I now really understand what it means when you say ‘flabby wine’ I will be more than happy to not ever repeat the experience again.

Speaking of flabby…’Jean Luc’ is now code for anyone being too pretentious, egotistical, self-important, etc., etc. The real shame of the evening was that for all the sommeliers trying to change people’s mind about the accessibility of wine and the poor imagine of the snooty sommelier many hold there is a Jean Luc perpetuating the stereotype. I am sometimes pretentious but I vow that when I get my sommelier certificate I will not be a Jean Luc!