Tag Archives: Doluca

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!!

Villa Duluca Klasik

Villa Doluca Klasik Red Blend

As I’ve had uneven luck with them in the past I don’t tend to buy a lot of wines from Duluca. Nor did I buy this one. It’s interesting having partners in wine tasting shenanigans as E&M often buy wines that I wouldn’t. Sometimes for very good reasons but they’re still new to the Turkish wine scene so we forgive them.

I was intrigued by the Villa Duluca Klasik when I saw that, accompanying the Öküzgözü-Shiraz blend was Alicante. Alicante, being a region in (central I think) Spain known for producing Monastrell wines, is not a name I see here often and I eagerly opened the bottle to see how it would affect the wine’s flavor.

Unfortunately I had a hard time with this Villa Duluca Klasik. For one thing, E&M were cooking a curry heavy with lime juice which, while delicious, inhibited my ability to smell much of anything other than lime and curry. Maybe that was for the best. At least E&M weren’t volunteering nose descriptors that would go better with a Lisa Frank illustration than with wine.

The Monastrell effect did not come through the feel of the wine. The Villa Doluca Klasik was very low on the tannin scale, nor did it have much of any finish which lead me to believe that the largest percentage of grape (that and it being listed first-like top billing in a film) was the Öküzgözü.

Despite being a dry wine, there was an odd sweetness and thickness (one that had nothing to do with lovely tannins coating the tongue) which may have come from the Alicante as Monastrell wines are known for their blackberry syrup notes. The whole drinking experience was interesting if not especially tasty. With each sip the wine kind of burst on the tongue then dissipated-much like a raindrop. An alcoholic one. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?! Not wine rain though; think of the stains. Vodka. Yes. I would put buckets on my terrace to catch it.

So in the end, while not offensive (and there are some that are so!) it wasn’t particularly good either. If I had a phone that allowed apps and I could use Vivino (which E&M do in my stead) this would be in the 1.5 Star range for me.

Safir Semi-Sweet Misket

I am making it my mission this summer to try all the Misket wines produced in Turkey! And so far all of them are winners. Doluca’s Safir semi-sweet Misket is no exception. Before I wax poetical about its orange blossom and honeysuckle flavors, a little technical information about the Misket grape is needed, I think.

Misket (or Muscat for us Westerners) grapes come from Izmir along the Aegean. The wines they produce run the gambit between “dry” to dessert. I say “dry” though as my personal experience, with any Muscat, not just Turkish, is that a so-called “dry” Muscat leans a little closer to semi-dry than straight up dry.

The nose of a Misket will be full of tropical fruits, flowers, and citrus which are all easily detectable; and also apparently bay leaves and thyme which I have a harder time smelling. The easily drinkable flavors of honeysuckle, orange blossom, basil, roses, mint, honey, bergamont, lemon balm, daisies, grapefruit, and melon make this a wine that goes well with all sorts of cheeses (from mild dessert cheese to cheddar and blues), seafood, spicy food, light foods…and it’s just delightful all on its own!

I have tried several Miskets now from Terra, Ancyra, and now Doluca. I don’t have a favorite yet but I know there are a few more out there. Either I’ll hit on one eventually or will spread the love around to all producers all summer!

And less anyone think I’m just really well-informed about Turkish grapes, let me burst those bubbles by saying that (aside from my taste buds) all my information comes from the Wines of Turkey website 🙂