Tag Archives: sparkling wine

My Favorite Turkish Wines of 2017

2017 was a crazy year. It began with a last minute trip to Iceland where wine is even more expensive than it is in Turkey. Spring was full of whirlwind wine trips to Israel, Georgia, and Greece. This summer after a two-year lapse I went back to the States to see my family in Michigan and Vegas. In the fall I went to Elmali, Turkey to visit a great winery and in December I visited Graz, Austria for the Krampuslauf, Christmas markets, and wine shopping.

In addition to the travel I attended or led a couple dozen wine tastings. Including one on a private yacht on the Bosphorus where I was so sea sick I gave all my notes while gazing at the horizon trying to not hurl.

Some of my travel didn’t work out. I’ve been gearing up for a year to move to Italy to complete my wine education and spend a few years exploring all of Italy’s wine regions. And then I couldn’t get the visa! In the end I’m happy to stay in Turkey. I have a good life here, a lot of wine still to try, and a new project I’m really excited about.

Likya vineyards

Likya Vineyards

I tasted a lot of Turkish wine in 2017. They ran the entire gamut from DNPIM to ‘where has this been all my life’?! Below is a list of my favorite Turkish wines that I tried this year (in no particular order). Unfortunately my typing is a lot slower than my drinking so I haven’t posted reviews of all of them. Hardly any if I’m being really honest. If I’ve reviewed it there should be a link to the page but if I hadn’t and you’re curious drop me a line!

2017 reds

Reds:

  1. 7Bilgiler Solon Attica
  2. Barbare Ambiance
  3. Likya Pinot Meunier
  4. Chateau Nuzun 2011
  5. Barbare Libra
  6. Karnas Zinfandel
  7. Gelveri Kalecik Karasi
  8. Pasaeli Papazkarasi
  9. Trajan Rezerv Kalecik Karası 

2017 whites

Whites:

  1. VinAida Grenache Blanc de Noirs
  2. Chamlija Blanc de Noirs Fume
  3. Vinolus Narince
  4. Saranta Chateau Murou Chardonnay
  5. Vinkara Hasandede
  6. Vino Dessera Kalecik Karası Blanc de Noirs
  7. Arda Rezerv Narince
  8. Porta Caeli Pacem Sauvignon Blanc
  9. Urla Hypnose

Likya vineyards

Roses:

  1. Porta Caeli Felici
  2. Chateau Nuzun Rose

2017 others

Sweet:

  1. Arcadia 333

Sparklings:

  1. Suvla Kinali Yapincak
  2. Kayra Cameo

I can’t wait to see what there will be to taste in 2018!

Kayra Cameo Sparkling Wine

Turkish sparkling wine is fairly new to the market. While previously there may have been one or two, it feels like the industry exploded with them over this spring and summer. Now you can find sparkling wine offered by a variety of producers including Vinkara, Pamukkale, Suvla, Kayra, and others.

Previously I posted about Leona Bubble, one of the two sparkling wines made by Kayra. The Kayra Cameo is a blend of the same grapes but is a higher-end version of the Bubble.

Cameo

The winery’s name is taken from the Turkish word “kayra” which means benevolence, grace, and kindness. A family endeavor, Kayra has two main bases in Turkey, one in Elazığ and one in Şarköy. The Elazığ winery in Eastern Anatolia was established in 1942, and the Şarköy winery in Thrace was established in 1996. With assistance from lead winemaker Daniel O’Donnell, Kayra produces an impressive 10 labels each with its own unique characteristics.

Leona Bubble

Part of the Kayra series, the Cameo is a well produced sparkling wine made in the tank, or charmat method. Unlike the traditional method (think Champagne), whereby wine goes through a second fermentation in the bottle to create bubbles; in the tank method the second fermentation happens in a large pressurized tank. The sparkling wine is then bottled and sealed.

I’ve had the pleasure of drinking Kayra’s Cameo several times now. In fact it formed the basis of a yacht-board wine tasting I hosted this summer! It doesn’t get much better than drinking sparkling wine while on a private Bosphorus cruise!

Cameo

Kayra Cameo Tasting Notes:

Like many sparkling wines, the Cameo is a non vintage-meaning it is a blend of wines harvested in different years. The blend includes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Misket. Between the lovely flavor and the relatively low alcohol (11.5% abv) this is definitely a wine that is dangerously delicious!

The Cameo has a lovely aromatic nose filled with delicate fruits and cream. White peach, citrus (grapefruit particularly), and pineapple all vied for attention. Bubbles are fine and tight giving the wine a nice, frothy mouthfeel. It almost feels like the flavors of peach, lemon pith, blood orange, and grapefruit burst out of the bubbles as they dissipate on the tongue.

So far my favorite Turkish sparkling wine is the Cameo! While it seems that sparkling wine is often reserved for a special occasion at an average price of 99 TL the Cameo won’t break the bank if your special occasion is as simple as opening a good bottle of wine!

Kayra Leona Bubble

For years I avoided most sparkling wines. I found that almost all of them made me ill; instant migraine. Maybe I’m just getting more drinking practice now because that hasn’t happened in a while; freeing me to explore Turkish sparkling wines like the Leona Bubble.

Kayra, one of Turkey’s largest and most prestigious wine companies, produces two sparkling wines: Cameo and under its Leona label, Bubble. Both are relatively inexpensive although the Cameo (review soon!) is definitely the higher quality of the two.

Leona Bubble

There are six different ways to make sparkling wine: traditional method (Méthode Champenoise, méthode traditionnelle), tank method (or charmat), transfer, ancestral, and continuous (the Russian method) methods, and simply adding carbon dioxide. Wine Folly has a great article detailing each method; but briefly:

Traditional: In 2015 UNESCO awarded the traditional method, used largely to make Champagne, with heritage status. In this most celebrated, and expensive method, the base still wine is made as any other wine would be made then bottled. Then in tirage, the winemaker then adds yeast and sugar to the bottled wine to start the second fermentation and wines are bottled (and topped with crown caps). The second fermentation happens in the bottle. The CO2 gas created by the fermentation process has nowhere to go so it turns into liquid and dissolves back into the wine creating the bubbles. The wine is then aged, riddled, disgorged, a dosage is added (or not depending on the desired style), and finally corked.

Tank: This method, closely associated with Prosecco, starts out similarly to the Traditional method. However the second fermentation happens in a large tank. After the second fermentation ends, the sparkling wine is bottled without additional ageing.

Transfer: This method is nearly identical to the Traditional method until the riddling and disgorging. The bottles are emptied into a pressurized tank and sent through pressurized filters to remove the dead yeast bits (lees). Then, the wines are bottled using pressurized fillers.

Ancestral: This method of sparkling wine production uses icy temperatures (and filteration) to pause the fermentation mid-way for a period of months and then wines are bottled and the fermentation finishes, trapping the CO2 in the bottle. When the desired level of CO2 is reached, wines are chilled again, riddled and disgorged.

Continuous: In this method, used by Russian sparkling wine makers, wine is moved from tank to tank each with a different purpose. After the base wine is blended, the winemaker continually adds yeast into pressurized tanks. Wines are then moved into another tank with yeast enrichments. Finally, the wines move into the last set of pressurized tanks where the yeasts and enrichments are settled out, leaving the wine relatively clear.

Carbonation: In this cheapest method, CO2 is added to the base wine in a pressurized tanks.

Leona Bubble

Kayra Leona Bloom Tasting Notes:

The Leona Bloom was made in the cheapest sparkling wine method of simply adding CO2 to still wine. However it is still a pretty decent bottle of fizz. A blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Misket; it’s fresh, light, and utterly quaffable.

The nose displays a balance of aromas from the three grapes. A slightly musty aroma underlines peaches, white flowers, and grass resulting in a bouquet that is both fresh and deep. Tight bubbles burst with the ripeness of summer peaches and florals for a warm, albeit brief, finish.

A non vintage blend, like the majority of sparkling wine, this particular one was bottled in 2013. With only 11.5% abv the Leona Bloom is an easy and enjoyable drink.