Tag Archives: Suvla

Suvla Reserve Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012

As with the Suvla Sur, I’ve tasted multiple vintages of Suvla’s Reserve Petit Verdot Karasakız. Is the Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012 my favorite of the vintages? I honestly do not know since they are all beautiful.

Suvla is a family owned wine producer established by Pınar Ellialtı and Selim Zafer Ellialtı in 2003. The vineyards are nestled in the historical Peninsula of Gallipoli, between the North Aegean coast and the Sea of Marmara where they cultivate a wide variety of grapes. The whites include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, and Marsanne. The reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Noir, Petit Verdot, and Pinot Noir. In addition Suvla produces several indigenous grape varieties, including Kınalı Yapıncak and Karasakız. In 2013 Suvla switched to organic viticulture. As a result they received a certification of ‘Good Agriculture Practice – GAP’.

Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012

I love Petit Verdot. It is highly prized as a blending grape because it adds color, tannin, and floral aromas. However as part of a Bordeaux blend you never really get to appreciate it since it’s usually only 2-7% of the blend.

Petit Verdot is a late ripening grape. Probably for that reason it has never been used to its full potential in France where it originates. The Bordeaux growing season is too short to allow it to fully ripen. However, lucky me, the grape has made a resurgence and warmer countries are now producing varietal, or blend-led Petit Verdot wines. Including Turkey!

Suvla Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012 Tasting Notes:

The Suvla Reserve Petit Verdot Karasakız 2012 is a medium bodied wine with a full-bodied attitude. While not completely opaque, its dark ruby color hypnotizes as you gaze deeply into the wine; like it holds your future.

Blending the Karasakız with the Petit Verdot brings out some of the Petit Verdot’s brighter fruit and earthy flavors. The nose was ripe with blackberry and black cherry, walnut, cinnamon, earth, and meat. Gorgeous, velvety tannins seduce the palate with black fruit and earthy, meaty flavors linger on the finish.

As long as Suvla continues to produce Petit Verdot I will be there to drink it!

The Suvla Sur 2012

I have been lucky enough to try three different vintages of Suvla’s Sur: the 2010, 2011, and 2012. A few years ago I wrote about the 2010 and 2011 side by side so it’s time to tackle the Sur 2012. They’re all beautiful wines. I wish I could get one of each for a vertical tasting but I believe the 2010 is sold out. It hurts no one’s feelings though to drink the Sur 2012!

Suvla is a family owned wine producer. In 2003 Pınar Ellialtı and Selim Zafer Ellialtı established the winery in Eceabat. Because of their location along the Çanakkale Strait (also known as Dardanelles); they named the winery after a bay in the north coast of the Aegean Sea. In 2006 after the first harvest they named the main vineyard ‘Bozokbağ’ after their newborn son ‘Bozok’.

Sur 2012

The Suvla vineyards are nestled in the historical Peninsula of Gallipoli, between the North Aegean coast and the Sea of Marmara. They produce a wide variety of grapes. The whites include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, and Marsanne. The reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Noir, Petit Verdot, and Pinot Noir. In addition they also produce indigenous grape varieties, including Kınalı Yapıncak and Karasakız. In 2013 Suvla switched to organic viticulture and as a result received a certification of ‘Good Agriculture Practice – GAP’.

Sur 2012

Suvla Sur 2012 Tasting Notes:

The Sur 2012 is a Bordeaux blend of Merlot (73%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Cabernet Franc (7%), and Petit Verdot (5%). After fermentation it spent 12 months in oak barriques before being bottled and released.

The Sur is a balance of power and elegance regardless of which vintage you get. At% abv there’s no denying the power certainly! Blackberry, spices, jalepeño, and mocha mingle in the nose. The palate is perfectly balanced with smooth, elegant tannins and mouthwatering acid, Sweet, ripe blackberries, black pepper, and mocha invite you on a romantic journey.

This is one of those wines you could drink in one sitting without noticing what you’ve done. The Suvla Pied Piper beckons you deeper into the bottle until you’ve drowned in it. Happy way to go!

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!!

Christmas Time and Mulled Wine

Christmas is almost here! You know what that means? It’s mulled wine season.  My former roommate and I used to make mulled wine together regularly in the run up to Christmas and I continue that tradition even here in Istanbul where Christmas is sadly not so much a thing,

There are so many recipes and traditions out there for mulled wine but we’ve always preferred the German Glühwein. On our shared blog, ParMieux Adventures she explains the tradition of Glühwein and what the name means.I’m going to let you wander over there and check it out while I stay here and drink it.

mulled wine

There’s something about a pomander that I just love. They’re kind of a pain to make, literally, because pushing the cloves into the orange can be difficult with the cloves trying to poke their way through my thumb while I’m doing it. Despite that I always make them for my mulled wine. If the cloves are stuck in the orange you don’t have to strain the wine later. They also just smell fantastic and make a pretty Christmas centerpiece!

mulled wine

I love Christmas and every year I’m in Turkey for it I get just that much more homesick. It’s probably the only time of the year that I am homesick. I’ve never even decorated here-partially because the owner of my last apartment had stuffed so much furniture into the shoe box-sized apartment there was barely room for me let alone a tree and partially because I’m pretty sure Sherlock would view a tree as her own personal playground.

mulled wine

This year I’m helping my friend with her Christmas Eve pop-up dinner by making the desserts. I’ve been in the kitchen every day this week. I used to make candy and baked goods as Christmas presents back in the States so my apartment may not look Christmassy but I’m feeling the spirit! My feet, legs, and back feel like they’ll never work again but I love it. Throw in some mulled wine and I don’t even feel the aches and pains.

mulled wine

Mulled wine is a very personal thing. Some people don’t like it at all sweet, others want a lot of sugar. I fall into the latter category so if you follow my recipe keep that in mind. However you make it though: Cheers and Merry Christmas!

I’m not a big believer in precise measurements; mostly I just add glugs and skoches of things so feel free to play around with this!


  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1 pomander, halved (orange studded with cloves)
  • Juice from 2-3 oranges
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  1. In a medium size pot heat the water, sugar, pomander halves, and cinnamon sticks until the sugar has totally dissolved.
  2. Pour in the wine, then the orange juice.
  3. Heat on medium low until hot.
  4. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!


Suvla tasting

A Visit to Suvla Winery!

I recently had the opportunity to spend time on Bozcaada and was able to visit the Suvla winery in Ecebat. First of all, I wish I’d realized years ago how easy it is to get to the Suvla winery. The main reason I don’t visit Turkish wineries is because I don’t drive and it’s not like they’re exactly conveniently located. Suvla, in Eceabat, is a short ferry ride away from Canakkale which in turn is serviced by a daily flight out of Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul. Had I but known!

Walking into Suvla was a little, as my friend put it, like arriving at the mother ship. The Suvla store in Ecebat is gorgeous. I approached the wine filled walls like an eager kid in a candy shop wishing I could take a little of everything with me. Thanks to Nusret in the Cihangir Suvla shop we were armed with the name of someone to help us during out visit. Unfortunately after arriving we learned that was her day off! However as proof of how fantastic Suvla is, someone called her and Ecem very kindly came in to provide us with some VIP treatment!

First we had a tour of the factory with one of Suvla’s new wine makers, Hıkmet. He toured us through the factory showing us the grape presses and fermentation tanks (I particularly liked the Dalek-shaped tank in the back) answering my pesty questions all the while. Then he took us into the barrel storage room, a blessedly cool contrast to Eceabat’s 38C heat! Suvla uses oak from France, America, and Hungary I believe he said and the barrels are used for five or so wines before being retired.

Of course we couldn’t be at the home of Suvla and not do some wine tasting! Unfortunately Turkish laws have made it difficult, if not downright impossible, for wineries and shops to provide tastings free of charge, however the Suvla restaurant offers a long list of flights for tasting at reasonable prices as well tastings by the glass. T and I got two different red flights, one from Suvla’s mid priced range of wines and one from the higher end. While I was not surprised that we both loved the Petit Verdot-Karasakız blend; I was shocked, and not a small amount horrified, that I actually kind of liked the (2014) Merlot!

After our tasting and tour of the şaraphane, we refreshed ourselves with a coffee break before heading out for a tour of the vineyards with Suvla’s Australian viticulturist, Mark.

red globe table grapes

I suppose it’s possible that I could have been more excited by this, but not a whole lot. The first thing I learned which was very different for me was that wineries in Turkey don’t own large tracts of land where all the grapes are planted. They have bits of land here and there which enable them to plant different grapes in different types of soils and conditions. As a result, driving between the various Suvla plots we also passed a few individually owned farm plots as well as some of Doluca’s vineyards.

Sad stressed grapes

Suvla plants more than just wine grapes in its vineyards. They also have large sections dedicated to different table grapes that are used in workers’ lunches and farm plots where they grow ingredients for the restaurant and the Kilye line of oils, jams, preserves, etc they produce and sell. Mark stopped often so we could roll out of his Range Rover to get an up close view of the various grapes and so I could pester him with questions about canopies, soil types, drainage, grafting, root stock, and harvesting. We also used the stops as opportunities to try the various grapes. A regular grape will never taste as amazing as will a sun-warmed grape plucked from the bunch on the vine.

A young vine grafted onto American rootstock
Looking over Suvla’s vineyards

After a few hours in the vineyards Mark asked if we’d ever been to Gallipoli and seen the war memorials there. T has been but I’d never been to this part of Turkey at all so he very kindly offered to drive us around on a tour of the area.

Ari Burnu Cemetery

While most of the graves in the Ari Burnu cemetery face the sea, three graves belonging to British Indian Muslim soldiers have their headstones pointing towards Mecca.

Atatürk’s ‘Johnnies and Mehmets’ speech memorial at Anzac Cove

Find Atatürk’s iconic speech here.

Kemekli (bone) beach

As an American the battles at Gallipoli and along the coast now known as Kemekli Beach hold less significance. In fact I dare say that we mostly know it as the unpronounceable Mel Gibson movie. However for the allied armies, particularly Australia and New Zealand, it was an unwinnable blood bath into which Winston Churchill pushed soldiers even while knowing he couldn’t win. Significantly for Turkey, it’s also where a young officer names Mustafa Kemal would distinguish himself and what would begin his path to becoming the father of modern Turkey.

We cannot end this on a melancholy note and of course there must be more wine! So let’s talk about two of Suvla’s wines.

We’ll begin with one that I bought a while ago at the shop in Cihangir. I keep trying the pink wines even though I really just can’t get behind them. In the glass Suvla’s 2015 Merlot, Karasakız Rose is the soft peachy-pink of a sunset. To me the nose was basically pink oak. I did however also get some summer berry and floral scents. On the palate it’s dry with crisp acidity and a decent finish. Not a long one, but it stays with you. There are some nice raspberry and strawberry flavors which normally I love in a wine but the Merlotness of it overwhelmed me.

For 45TL this is not a bad investment and I really think the only reason I didn’t like it is because I just really don’t like the pink wines. However if you don’t share my pink prejudice this would be perfect on a hot summer day!

While actually at the Suvla winery I treated myself to two of the high-end wines that I normally wouldn’t let myself buy in the shop. In fact I’ve managed to forget the cost of them both but suffice to say they’re priced over 100TL/bottle. Really rather somewhat over actually. I am a sucker for Turkish Cabernet Sauvignon though and I really wanted to try Suvla’s award-winning 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Unless you have a disposable income far greater than my own, this is not an everyday wine but a special occasion wine. My special occasion happened to be last Tuesday when I made a particularly good truffled chicken and parmesan panino…

After 12 months in oak this gorgeous deep red Cabernet has a nose redolent with prunes, blackberry, cherry, chocolate, and tobacco. In the mouth the tannins are velvety and luscious and the wine has a long finish with more of those dark fruits, some coffee, and smokey flavors. Wow. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a premium Turkish wine you can stop here. I might not have liked the rose but this one knocked my socks off. So much so that I’m actually letting that previous sentence end with a preposition.

Two years after I began my love affair with Suvla wines I finally visited the winery and it could not have been a more fantastic experience! Thank you to Suvla, especially Nusret, Ecem, Hıkmet, and Mike for a fantastic day!

Suvla Behramlı

2013 Suvla Behramlı

Not even the Suvla shop in Cighangir has the Suvla Behramlı! I found it at the Macro Center in Levent for about 15TL and M got a bottle at the big Migros at Cevahir for 19TL. We must find it closer to home though because it was pretty darn marvelous.

We started our evening with a pricey Vino Dessera and this inexpensive Suvla was so much better. So much better. I was pouring the Vino Dessera for everyone else to avoid drinking it and then plotting how to get more of the Suvla Behramlı for myself. So let’s talk about why it’s so good.

Suvla’s 2013 Behramlı is a big blend starring Cabernet Sauvignon and Karasakız supported by Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and the dreaded Merlot. Cherry red, clear to the rim the nose was full of red forest fruits, maybe some cherry, and baking spices. I suspect this spent at least some time in oak.

‘Wine is Life’ in case you forgot

When I taste wine I usually feel it before I taste it. The Suvla Behramlı is smooth and velvety with medium high tannins, medium acid, and a long finish during which the baking spice flavors really pop. Ont the palate I found the red forest fruits to be more dominate but with a nice spine of those baking spices. We maybe have to field trip a little to get our hands on more of this bottle but it will be worth it.

Before I moved to Turkey I firmly believed that you did not have to spend a lot of money to get a good wine; but then I came here where alcohol and import taxes are insanely high and my median bottle price increased by about 300%. In Turkey where even mediocre wine often costs an arm and a leg Suvla seems be [one of] the only company selling truly great wine at very affordable prices.


Suvla Öküzgözü

The 2014 Suvla Öküzgözü

It’s been a while since we’ve featured a wine by Suvla. The problem with finding a wine producer that you really like is you (or I at least) burn through all their wines really fast and then there are no new wines to taste! That doesn’t mean I’m not still drinking Suvla wines, in fact I had a bottle of their Boğazkere recently, but it does mean I don’t post about them so often. However today we are talking about one of their newer wines, the 2014 Suvla Öküzgözü.

Öküzgözü grapes usually produce a softer light to medium body wine and Suvla’s is no exception to that. On the nose I initially got light aromas of cotton candy and raspberry which deepened with black mulberry, plum, and dried oregano as the wine opened. I thought I also may have got a bit of honey but since I was already a bottle in when we opened the Öküzgözü I might have just been a little tipsy.

On the palate the Suvla Öküzgözü is juicy forest berries, plum, and dried herb. It was a little on the thin side for me, super low tannins, low medium acid, medium alcohol, not much of a finish.

What I found very interesting about this wine was that the grapes come not from Suvla’s vineyard in Gallipoli but from the Bekilli Vinyard in the Güney Plateau in Denizli where they were hand-picked and taken back to Gallipoli for processing.

I can’t say that this was a very remarkable wine however that’s not to do with any fault by Suvla. I tend to prefer Öküzgözü in a blend rather than on its own. If you prefer a softer red though this is a good choice wine for you and at only 29 TL (at Suvla) it won’t hurt your pocketbook.

Suvla Boğazkere

The 2014 Suvla Boğazkere

We know I love Suvla but I love Suvla even more now than before because they are now producing  a Boğazkere, an Öküzgöz, and a Boğazkere-Öküzgözü blend. I am so thrilled I’m practically dancing. While I can’t wait to try them all, this week we’re talking about the Boğazkere.

Boğazkere grapes are dark and often produce purply-red wines and the Suvla followed form. In the nose I thought I detected liquorice, berries, clove, and maybe some eucalyptus. It’s a nice nose. I often find with good wines that I become so immersed enjoying the nose that it’s a little while before get own to drinking. Someone should be making candles that smell like wine. Is anyone on this?*

On the palate the Suvla Boğazkere isn’t as “throat burnery” as the name suggests but the leather, clove, black mulberry, and blackberry flavors are gorgeous. Nice amount of tannins, acid that balances well with the tannins and flavors, and a long finish combine to create a wine that is not only very scrummy, but that is also an excellent example of what Boğazkere grapes are capable of.

A bottle of this won’t break the bank either. The 2014 Suvla Boğazkere retails for somewhere around 30TL (in a Suvla store-anywhere else will carry an ofttimes significant mark up).

*In fact yes-people are on this! Rewined Candles which offers quite a few wine scents including sangria and Winewicks which has a more limited variety of scents. If I’m not going to drink Merlot or Chardonnay the likelihood of my wanting to smell them are pretty low…

2012 Suvla Kirte

The 2012 Suvla Kirte

Every time I visit the Suvla shop in Cihangir I inquire as to whether or not something new has come out. Last time I hit a jackpot. Suvla has a new Kirte. I’ve previously blogged about the 2011 Kirte and the 2010 so it’s time to see what’s going on with the 2012 Suvla Kirte!

Suvla’s Kirtes are the same blend of wines as their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend which remains one of my absolute favorite Suvla wines. However, unlike the (unnamed) blend, the Kirtes are oaked. The extra attention also reflects in the price. Whereas the blend hovers around 28TL/bottle, the Kirtes are in the 40TL range.

The 2012 Suvla Kirte has a dark and spicy nose with undertones of forest fruits; all of which come through on a palate rich with red and forest fruits, spice, and maybe some cassis. Finished off with medium tannins, a well-rounded amount of acid, and a long finish, the 2012 Kirte is a great wine to pair with steak and other grilled red meats. For my taste, it was a little hot and syrupy so it’s not something I would drink on its own.

A nice wine for sure, but for me I’ll stick with the blend.

I recently came back from the States with a gift that is my favorite new accessory to my kitchen. It’s hard to see in this picture but on the upper right is a wooden sign that says: “ALCOHOL Because no great story ever started with someone eating a salad.” I love that my friends know me so well!

Roussanne Marsanne

Suvla Reserve 2014 Roussanne Marsanne

I’m always leery of white wines but I got talked into this one against my better judgement. When I see “aged for 8 months in oak barrels” usually I run the other way. Sigh, there’s a reason we pay attention to our instincts. But with the way the TL is going these days (sorry about that, Turkey) a 97TL bottle isn’t as horribly expensive as it used to be.

Out of the bottle the Suvla Reserve Roussanne Marsanne was a lot paler than I expected, a very soft yellow. The softness of the tint belied the strength of the nose which was very perfumey and full of citrus and oak. Right there my concern over those eight months in oak barrels doubled but I gamely pressed on.

The first sip was very thick on the tongue and cloying, like honey. Then…I got hit in the mouth with an oak 2×4. A shudder ran through my body as it registered the extreme oakiness. I truly could not taste any other flavors for the oak.

I needed to recover from that first sip so I set down the Roussanne Marsanne and steeled myself for another round in which I could hopefully taste more than the barrel. This time, it was soft but with a bit of an acid backbone, buttery…and oaky. Oaky, oaky, oaky. It was like Suvla managed to fit the entirety of the Mirkwood Forest into one bottle of Roussanne Marsanne which, one must admit, is quite a feat.

I don’t want to hate on this but ack, not for me. However if you like oaky as $@!% wines you’ll like this. In fact I poured a glass a day later for a friend who not only laughed when I warned him he’d be drinking the Mirkwood Forest (#bless) but who also really liked it. In the end regardless of what experts (or amateurs like me) say, wine is a matter of taste and you should drink what you like. For me what I like does not include probably 90% of dry white wines whereas my friend obviously does like dry whites. If your palate is like my friend’s then I think you’d really like this one.