Tag Archives: Vino Dessera

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!!

Vino Dessera Cabernet Franc

2013 Vino Dessera Cabernet Franc

I’ve had this Vino Dessera Cabernet Franc for a while. I picked it up at Comedus maybe eight months ago, back when I still thought paying 70-something TL a bottle was outrageous. I feel like now that’s my median per bottle amount.

I have an up and down relationship with Edirne’s Vino Dessera. I’ve had a couple amazing wines from them and a couple less wines. Unfortunately for me (and my drinking companions) this one fell into the latter category.

In the glass the Vino Dessera Cabernet Franc was a not very attractive brownish red color. While it has been aged three months in oak I couldn’t detect any discernible oaky scents or flavors. In fact, I couldn’t detect much of any scents or flavors period.

In the mouth low-medium tannins, high acid, and rather high alcohol (15%) gave the wine a very thin feeling. I know Cabernet Francs are generally on the medium bodied scale but I think this bottle had gone on a diet at some point.

It was okay with food but not okay enough to justify the bottle price. Despite this bad experience I’m not ready to give up on Vino Dessera! When they get it right (for my taste) they get it really right so I’m going to keep trying!

Arra Saranda

The 2014 Arra Saranda Blend

I had a while back at a Pop Up event.  At Pop Up you bring your own wine and, as I’ve seen this bottle around a lot but had yet to buy it myself I was happy to share my neighbor’s bottle. Unfortunately I was already in the bottle I’d brought so my notes from this are somewhat less than super helpful…

The 2014 Arra Saranda (a sub label of Vino Dessera) blend is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the “throat burning” Boğazkere I love so much. It’s ruby red color was a little clearer and brighter than I would expect from a blend of these particular grapes. On the nose I got a lot of fruit-mostly red and tart fruits so I’m reading between the lines of my inebriated notes that there were probably cranberry, red currant, and/or cherry notes.*

On the palate it was very juicy and tart, lots of cranberry and cherry but beyond that the flavor was pretty thin; I couldn’t detect anything under the fruit. Low tannins, medium acid, and a medium finish only increased the feeling that I was drinking Ocean Spray mixed with alcohol.

And yet…I’m not saying it was bad. My barely legible notes indicated that I might have kinda liked it. Given that I wasn’t exactly in top tasting form when I had the Arra Saranda I think I would like to try it again under more controlled circumstances.

*Be careful that you don’t smell so deeply it goes up your nose. And if it does be discreet about how you solve your problem…

Vino Dessera Öküzgözü

Vino Dessera Öküzgözü 2012

A few weeks ago I finally made it to Comedus, a great little charcuterie deli nearish my place. In addition to going a little nuts buying a variety of cheeses and meats, I also picked up several bottles of really quite reasonably priced wine, including the 2012 Vino Dessera Öküzgözü.

Comedus had a couple wines by Vino Dessera, the Öküzgözü I picked up (32TL) and a Cabernet Sauvingnon. Since I liked the Öküzgözü so well (spoiler), I’ll probably go back for the Cabernet and if even the nose is at all similar (beautiful, floral with red fruits) I think I’ll like that too.

Aside from my eye drops everything on the table was delicious.

Initially on the palate the Vino Dessera Öküzgözü was not a remarkable wine. Like most of the Öküzgözüs I’ve had the tannins were barely discernible; nor did the wine have much of any finish. However, a nice level of acid combined with a good floral/fruity balance and juicy fruits made for such a charming and delightful flavor that I couldn’t be moved to care too much about missing tannins!

More than just a nice drinking wine, the Vino Dessera Öküzgözü also paired very well with the cheeses and smoked meats we got, highlighting the richness of the meat and playing well with both the strong flavors of goat cheese and the sweetness of caramelized red onions.

So…winner!! There are many reasons I’ll be headed back to Comedus soon and getting another bottle of this (plus anything else by Vino Dessera) is one of them.