Tag Archives: Ma’Adra

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!!

The 2014 Ma’Adra Blend

After the rousing success that was the Ma’Adra Cabernet Sauvignon and the disappointment of the Syrah, I decided I might as well go for the hat trick and try the 2014 Ma’Adra Blend-a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. For 60 TL at La Cave it wasn’t as dear as either of the others so it didn’t hurt to try.

Ma'Adra Blend

A dark purple, full body in the glass with nice legs, the nose of the Ma’Adra Blend was really quite promising: raspberries, cedar, a hint of tobacco, baking spices, and milk chocolate.

On the palate the Ma’Adra Blend was initially rather sweet with jam, tobacco, and vanilla. The acid was rather high for my taste but the silky tannins and longish finish were nice. The more we sat with it the more flavors from its 18 months in oak became apparent. Under the jammy fruits was also a good deal of baking spices and caramel.

Yes that all sounds rather nice; but I didn’t love it. Nor did I hate; it was perfectly drinkable. However the Ma’Adra Cabernet Sauvignon impressed so much that they’ll have to do a lot better than the Ma’Adra Blend to compete with themselves.

The 2012 Ma’Adra Syrah

I had such hopes for the Ma’Adra Syrah after the way E and I fell in love with their Cabernet Sauvignon. Alas our hopes and expectations were dashed when we opened this one. At 90TL from La Cave that was a pricey heartbreak.

Syrah wines are supposed to be domineering bad asses with at least a solid medium body to back up powerful fruit and oak flavors. I think Ma’Adra missed the memo with this one.

Ma'Adra Syrah

Tasting notes 2012 Ma’Adra Syrah:

It started out well. In the nose of the Ma’Adra Syrah I got a lot of blackberry, black pepper, hazelnut, and vanilla which was really pretty nice. Then we tasted it which is where it all fell apart. On the palate the Ma’Adra Syrah was…medium. It had low-medium tannins, medium acid, and a medium finish. The fruit was the most dominate thing in the flavor with some of the black pepper and vanilla but the hazelnuts disappeared on me completely.

In the end the whole experience was very, ‘meh’. To be fair it did grow on me as we drank it but a wine that costs that much shouldn’t have to grow on me so I don’t think I’ll be going back for more of the Ma’Adra Syrah.

Ma'adra Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 Ma’adra Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Finally the guys at La Cave gave me a good recommendation! I’ve been burned by them a few times but I decided to try the Ma’adra Cabernet Sauvignon because it’s a new brand on the market from the Aegean and because generally I like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Before we even opened the bottle E was admonishing me for the bad influence I’ve had over M. In the past the two of them were of the ‘wine is wine’ school and when they came to Turkey wouldn’t spend more than 20-25 TL per bottle. Now he’s taking the tasting process seriously and coming home with bottles that cost 40 TL and up. I’m not sure if the fact that E very much loved this 75TL bottle of wine or if it’s also my fault that now I’m ruining her palate for cheap wine.

The time this Ma’adra spend in French oak was immediately obvious. The nose was full of vanilla with hints of baking spice. I was also getting a lot of black fruits like black raspberry. What I did not smell at all was green pepper which, according to the bottle, is one of the things I should have been smelling. Oddly enough though E, who usually describes wine with unhelpful adjectives like ‘butterflies, fire trucks, and conga lines’ did get the green pepper.

In the mouth the wine was velvety with medium tannins and acid and a nice finish. The raspberries were even more obvious to me here as were the baking spices. Basically, to me, the Ma’adra Cabernet Sauvignon smelled and tasted a little like the raspberry walnut blondie brownies I love so much. Which is really dangerous because I like to eat those for breakfast and as much as I have been tempted to have wine for breakfast before I am firmly resolved to not do any drinking until the clock is no longer in the AM.

I’m now very excited to try other wines by this producer. The Ma’adra Cabernet Sauvignon is gorgeous and I will definitely be buying it again.