Tag Archives: Kavaklidere

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!!

Kavaklidere Sultaniye

I took a shot on this one and picked it up at Carrefour a few weeks ago. I’d been avoiding it because it seemed somehow, well frankly it looked like it wasn’t going to be a winner. Was I wrong! Unlike the Pamukkale Sultaniye I reviewed ages ago, the Kavaklidere Sultaniye is not a straight up dry white but a semi sweet; and it was lovely.

The super pale lemony yellow color and floral and hay notes in the nose were promising. Sultaniye is  known for a flavor profile that includes: asparagus, pear, pineapple, mango, floral, lemon, golden and green apples, and hay. In this Kavaklidere Sultaniye, the floral flavors were really pronounced but I was also clearly tasting the pineapple, hay, and green apple. And while this is a semi-sweet; it really is just semi. There was nothing desserty or overwhelmingly saccharine about it at all. The Kavaklidere Sultaniye also went really well with the walnut/grape/dried cranberry chicken salad I made. The pairing really seemed to bring out the mango in the wine which I thought was a bit odd.

The Kavaklidere Sultaniye semi-sweet (yarı tatlı) is definitely going to be a repeat offender in my apartment!

Kavaklidere Ancyra Boğazkere

Such a week and it’s only Wednesday. First I got a job, then I got sick, then I had an Istanbuli police officer show up at my door. But also there was wine!

Last week I got a new consulting contract. Yay money! Means I can afford to keep myself in wine a bit longer. To celebrate we had dinner at Otto in Cihangir (which was great) and we ordered a bottle of the Ancyra Boğazkere. Like the Terra, the Ancyra had many of the hallmarks inherit in the Boğazkere grape varietal: spicy, (dried) red fruits, dark dark red color with blue hues etc.

We both enjoyed it, but for me the Terra wins over the Ancyra Boğazkere because there was one thing it lacked…the tannins. What really blew me away about the Terra was the texture of the wine. For this kind of grape I expected more of a textured mouthfeel than I got from the Ancyra Boğazkere.

Ancyra is generally a widely available wine here. It’s not the worst wine in the world and is pretty common on restaurant menus. A bottle in store won’t set you back too much but for my two cents I think say pay the slightly higher price for Terra!

The 2012 Ancyra Muscat

In an effort to start drinking more white wines to match the warming weather I picked up a bottle of the 2012 Ancyra Muscat at Carrefour and fell in love!

Muscat grapes are of course more widely known for being made into dessert wines but you can find the occasional “dry” Muscat. Although semi-sweet is really far more accurate a descriptor.

With a pale straw color with a delicate, floral nose, a muscat’s flavor profile includes: orange blossoms, honey, honeysuckle, basil, roses, mint, bergamont, lemon balm, daisies, grapefruit, and melon. Daises, that’s a new one.

To me this is a really interesting flavor profile and I would have liked to been able to pick out the basil. However what I did get (the orange blossom, honey, and honeysuckle mostly) made the Ancyra Muscat one of those wines that’s going to be dangerous for me to keep around (and naturally I’m already 2/3 way through a second bottle already) because it was infinitely drinkable. The orange blossoms in particular really jumped out at me and reminds me that the next time someone is visiting from Lebanon, I really need to ask for a bottle of orange blossom water…

Like many semi and sweet wines, the Ancyra Muscat goes pretty well with spicy foods and, you know, it’s pretty darn good on its own. I see myself sipping a rather lot of this on my terrace this summer!

Kavakalidere’s Sade Sultaniye Emir

I’ve had the Sultaniye grape a few times now but haven’t experience the Emir. And, frankly, because Kavakalidere’s 2012 Sade Sultaniye Emir was a less expensive wine I went for it. I won’t make this mistake again.

The Sade Sultaniye Emir was very pale in color, almost colorless really until the light hit it showing a pale yellow color with hints of green. The nose was rather pleasant. In fact it smelled green, not in a grassy way but in a kind of green apple way. I also caught some floral and oak tones in the nose.

It was in the flavor where the Sade Sultaniye Emir lost me. It was buttery and oaky. It wasn’t so much Chardonnay adjacent as it was very much almost just exactly like a Chardonnay. Shudder. It was also tingly on the tongue which, looking back, was probably some of the Emir’s characteristic minerality showing through. While that may be an interesting flavor aspect in another wine, in the Sade Sultaniye Emir it really just created a feeling of acidic effervescence.

It did win points for having a screw cap though! I love me a screw cap wine. That alone didn’t save it though. This is the first wine I’ve reviewed so far that was just all the way a no for me. Trust me; let me take this hit for you and don’t drink this.