Tag Archives: Domaine Lucien Arkas

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!!

Smyrna

Smyrna Sauvignon Blanc Trebbiano 2014

The Smyrna Sauvignon Blanc Trebbiano I picked up a Carrefour not too long ago. I’ve never tried any of Smyrna’s wines and since summer is still on and I needed more whites I figured why not. This was a good decision.

I always hesitate a little over Sauvignon Blancs never knowing if I’m going to get something that’s on the herby and green pepper end of the scale (which I do not like) or the riper peachy and fruity end of the scale (which I do like). Because wine roulette is not my favorite game, despite how often I seem to play it here, I was thrilled when I detected lost of fruit in the Smyrna  nose including: peach, pear,  and citrus. It was also a little floral versus the herbaceous nose early harvested Sauvignon Blancs display.

On the palate the Smyrna was soft but with a zesty spark of acid. I didn’t get any of the green herbal flavors often found in Sauvignon Blanc; rather it’s a nice accessible wine with lingering flavors of tropical fruits, peach, and white flowers. Sure it’s not winning any gold medals any time soon but I don’t always need or want something that I feel like I have to mull over every sip. For 30-something TL at Carrefour I am happy to have a wine every once in a while that I can just drink and enjoy with my dried fruits and apples/goat cheese/honey and not worry about having deep thoughts while I’m drinking it.

This is my white wine comfort zone: fruity (particularly those peach and tropical favors), no noticeable oak, medium-low acid. I want to like some of those heftier, oakier whites*, like last week’s Son of Mirkwood; I just…don’t.

*Except Chardonnay. Why someone wants to ruin a perfectly nice wine like Chardonnay by aging it in oak instead of steel is beyond me. But to each his own.

Mon Reve Tempranillo

The 2012 Mon Reve Tempranillo

Despite my previous, failed attempt to enjoy a Turkish-produced, Spanish-style wine I decided I would try again with the 2012 Mon Reve Tempranillo. Despite costing far more than anyone should pay for a young Tempranillo (46TL at Carrefour) it was pretty decent.

In the glass it was a lovely burgundy with purple hints. On the nose-red fruits, cherry, plum,and  tobacco; all of which also presented on the palate. Low tannins, low acid, not really much of a finish at all…if you’ve enjoyed Tempranillo before then imagine your standard Tempranillo, water it down a little, and viola.

In the end, it tasted pretty similar to your $5 Spanish Tempranillo. And while I like $5 Spanish Tempranillos just fine, I don’t like paying more than that for them! So to the Mon Reve Tempranillo I say ‘sure’ to the flavor but a big ‘no thank you’ to paying that price again.