Tag Archives: Gordias

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!!

Gordias Boğazkere

The 2012 Gordias Boğazkere

I fell a little in love with Gordias wines previously after trying the Kalecik Karası and Narınce. Then one afternoon in Sensus Galata I found MORE. More Gordias wines! Including a Gordias Boğazkere (55TL) and the “throat burner” Turkish grape has long been a favorite.

I really let the anticipation on this one build and took some time to enjoy the deep, purply red color. Then on to the nose; what is that? Seriously it took me about 10 minutes to figure out what I was smelling. It was so familiar but at the same time utterly elusive-until it hit me; pine forests and leather.

The nose is replete with pine forest and leather with berry undertones. It was fascinating. Not in a, I couldn’t stop inhaling long enough to drink way, but in an I said “This is fascinating” and smiled every time I inhaled way.

There is a lot of leather in the Gordias Boğazkere mouth, nice medium tannins, and a long finish. At first it was a little acidy for me but it opened beautifully to bring up more leather, dark cherries, and chocolate.

Drinking this wine was a true shpadoinkel moment. It is beautiful. In a way every sip weirded me out a little because of the pine and sometimes overwhelming leather (frankly it was a little bit like being back at my dad’s farm sitting in the tack barn which is surrounded by Christmas trees). I still really liked it though. I will definitely buy this again.

Especially since the Gordias Boğazkere pairs so beautifully with foods I like: tomatoes, salt, strong cheese, and the magical truffled almonds from Trader Joe’s that my bestest friend and co-blogger Lauren sent me from the US. She sent me a 6 ounce bag last Christmas and I have managed to conserve them by eating only a few at a time. There are still a few left! However I no longer have to be so parsimonious because she bought me two more bags!

Gordias Narince

The 2012 Gordias Narince

Now is the time I try to switch to white or rose wines to beat the Istanbul summer heat. Since I am really enjoying this new winery, Gordias, it seemed a good place to start my summer trend. For one thing, I really like the minimalist goat-looking logo. More importantly though-the wines are killer.

I’ve been a little on the fence about Narince wines; aside from the unicorn that is an unoaked Chardonnay, I’m just not really into dry whites. I am into Gordias though so when I found a bottle of Narince at Solera (55TL) I decided to give it a go.

The Narince is not a big wine, it’s a nice, easy drinking wine. Kind of like a porch wine actually. In fact, narince means “delicately” in Turkish. Often compared to Chardonnay, it’s a versatile grape that takes well to both steel and oak aging. In the case of the Gordias Narince, I’m guessing by the clear glass bottle that it was not treated with oak.

The Gordias Narince is pale straw with a lightly floral nose. On the palate it is soft but lively with light flavors like pineapple and plumeria and a lingering finish. The Gordias Narince is a light wine that leaves a lasting impression (a good one in case that wasn’t clear).

Gordias Kalecik Karası

The 2012 Gordias Kalecik Karası

Tuesday morning I was sitting in the local tax office when the power wet out. I hoped it was just a flicker but we soon learned that it was all of our neighborhood. Then we heard that it was all of Istanbul…then 50 cities across Turkey. Dude. What could we do but drink wine?

Earlier I’d stopped in Solera, the wine house just up the street from my apartment, where they offer 25% discount on bottles that you buy for take away, and picked up a couple new reds, including the Gordias Kalecik Karası. Country-wide power outage, candle light, and Turkish homework seemed a great excuse to break out one.

I was thrilled to discover a new Kalecik Karası. An award winning (Decanter Bronze) one no less. The 2012 Gordias Kalecik Karası is actually not a 100% varietal but a blend of 85% Kalecik Karası, 10% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Franc.

Against the romantic glow from my Carrefour tea lights, the Gordias Kalecik Karası was the pretty red of sweet cherries just before they’re fully ripe. One the nose it was lovely: all red berries with strong cherries, undertones of strawberry, and for the first time ever I actually smelled the cotton candy.

Is someone working on alcoholic cotton candy? Shouldn’t someone be?

The flavor followed the nose nicely with cherries being the strongest and most obvious flavor. Soft with very low tannins, medium high acid, and a long finish rounded out the delightful flavor.

The 2012 Gordias Kalecik Karasi is for me a real winner and I think it’ll become a regular in my cellar (i.e. the half-case wine box I keep all my reds in. classy, I know). And at 45TL with the Solera to-go discount won’t break my bank. Which is great since I kind of owe the Feds some money.