For the last two weeks I’ve been getting up at 3:50 AM. No one understands why and everyone thinks I’ve insane, including my cat. There really is an excellent reason: wine! I’ll wake up anytime of the day or night for good wine and this isn’t just wine; it’s wine and education (about wine). I like to drink wine, we all know this, and I like to write about it. However mostly I’m just making up things. I don’t have a very refined palate and usually only am able to taste the top notes of wines. So these last two weeks, and next week, have been an opportunity to chat, via Twitter, with other wine lovers.
And not just about any old wine…about Turkish wine! Protocol Wine Studio, an organization dedicated to education about wine and wine culture, is partnering with VinoRai, a Seattle-based wine importer bringing Turkish wine to America, on a three-week discussion about Turkish wines. That is worth a pre-morning call to prayer wake up. The first week’s discussion was focused on Turkey’s history and politics (as they relate to wine) and general viticulture, growing regions, types of grapes, etc. This week we moved on to the wines themselves, specifically the Turasan 2013 Emir.
This is a very cool thing but 6PM on the west coast is 4AM in Istanbul!
|Sherlock thinks I’m nuts for getting up so early.|
Like Turasan, Emir grapes are from Cappadocia where they grow well in the volcanic soil of the region. ‘Emir’ means ‘prince’ and wines made from this grape have been drunk at lords’ tables for millennia. I’ve seen a lot of wines here that are Emir blends but aside from the Turasan no stand-alone Emir wines. The folks at VinoRai told me why: Emir grapes are expensive and not overly easy to produce which makes producing 100% Emir wines expensive and not really sustainable.
The best old-world grape match to the Emir is Pinot Gris or Torrontes and you can food pair similarly: shellfish, fish, chicken, mild cheese, etc. Think Mediterranean food and you’ll probably do well. That’s for the 100% Emir. The more common blends (usually I see it with Narince) have a bit more body to them and will stand up to creamy dishes and likely stronger cheese.
While I’m willing to get up at 4AM; this week I decided I needed to be drinking along with everyone else and picked up a bottle of the 2013 Turasan Emir (35 TL at Solara). When my alarm went off at 3:50 AM I rolled out of bed, started up my laptop, poured a glass of wine, and got ready to join the Turkish wine love fest.
Normally I eschew dry white wines because I find they generally are too oaky for my taste. I was prepared to dislike the Emir…but the first sip both surprised and hooked me! I read later that Emirs are not oaked because the grape doesn’t do well with the wood. I wish more white wine grapes were of that attitude. But I get ahead of myself; one must start at the beginning.
The 2013 Turasan Emir was pleasing right out of the bottle with a pretty straw yellow with green highlights. The nose was all tropical fruits and flowers, citrus fruits, and minerals. On the palate it was lively and crisp with a medium body and a nice finish. One person put it very nicely that the Emir is a “meaty” white with a lot of heft in the texture. In the flavor I picked out largely the tropical flavors, lemon, apple, and minerals (stone mostly). There was one thing bothering me though-a flavor I just couldn’t put my finger one but thanks to another participant I found out what it was: salty! So simple in the end but a flavor I don’t recall every before encountering in wine.
I haven’t tried many Turasan wines yet. Like my peeps over at Suvla they have a wide variety of wines with price points that run the gambit from cheap to ‘when I win the lottery’. I will definitely be trying a lot more of these though and the next time I go to Cappadocia I will make sure a trip to the winery is on my itinerary!
Next week is the last in the two-part session and we will discuss the Diren 2012 Okuzguzu and the Gali 2010 blend. I have some shopping to do!