Tag Archives: Gali

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!!

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.

 

Gali Evreshe Bordeaux Blend

The 2010 Gali Evreshe is the most expensive wine I’ve bought so far running around 50TL a bottle. Was it worth it…eh. It wasn’t bad! Quite the contrary. With an intense, dark plum color, light tannins, a soft feel, and a smooth flavor the this Bordeaux blend was quite drinkable.

Price is not always an indicator of a good wine in the states or Western Europe. One of my favorite wines when I lived in DC was an $8 bottle of Zinfandel.* However here the opposite is usually true in that the higher priced the wine is, the better the quality, as with the 100TL bottle of Prodom I plan to splurge on for my birthday. The Gali Evreshe was quite good; but it’s not the best wine Gali produces and, at that price, not even the best Turkish Bordeaux blend you can get.

*Just to give you an idea of mark up here in Turkey. Between the old alcohol taxes, import taxes, and the new alcohol taxes imposed last year, a bottle of Ravens Wood Old Vine Zinfandel, which runs between $12-15 at Trader Joe’s, costs 95TL (about $42) here. That’s a difference of roughly $30 dollars making it nearly three times the cost.