See also Young Turks of note.
I have already outlined some of the issues and delights associated with Turkey's new wave wines in Talking Turkey, Turkey – some background and Turkish island wine. Here are more than 80 tasting notes on some of the most prominent Turkish wines. About 50 of them were taken at the extensive Swissotel tasting pictured below, organised by wine educator Yunus Emre Kocabaşoğlu for wine producers, other wine professionals and wine students. It was a little daunting to stand up in front of them and give my views on these wines, especially since not all my views were informed by unalloyed rapture.
Other tasting notes were made on the two field trips I was lucky enough to make: one to the new Corvus winery on the wine island of Bozcaada and another to Kavaklidere's new Pendore estate inland from Izmir. This explains why there are quite so many tasting notes on wines made by these two producers – although they are clearly both in the vanguard of modern Turkish wine producers' pursuit of top quality.
Crunch points include the continuing tensions and distance between grape growers and wine producers; yields that can be too high for better quality wine production; underripe phenolics; problems associated with the long distances that some grapes are transported; oak quality and management; and the choice between international and indigenous vine varieties which I will discuss at some length on Saturday.
I have listed the tasting notes by colour of wine and then alphabetically by producer name, so you may have to look in the white wine section to find background on a given producer.
The first six wines were tasted at Corvus winery on the island of Bozcaada.
Corvus, Teneia Çavus 2004 Turkey 16 Drink 2006-10
This wine was made by Corvus’s Italian consultants with no prior knowledge of the opprobrium heaped on this table grape by some Turkish wine producers. Quote marked god but still admirably frsh on the nose with good, lemony, mouthfilling fruit.
Corvus, Teneia Çavus 2006 Turkey 16 Drink 2007-11
Lemony fruit again with some minerality this time. Softer than the 2004 but admirably dense and confident. Really very good for a wine made from table grapes.
Corvus, Zeleia Vasilaki 2004 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2005-08
Green gold to look at. Aromas of green leaves. Good palate weight without that much acidity.
Corvus, Zeleia Vasilaki 2005 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2006-09
The orange peel flavours associated with this Greek grape variety, a speciality of the Turkish island of Bozcaada, were more marked on this wine than on the 2004, suggesting it might be best drunk fairly young.
Corvus, Zeleia Vasilaki 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-12
Cask sample straight from oak that seemed if anything to accentuate this variety's slight bitterness. Very substantial body.
Corvus, Blend Bianco 2006 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2008-11
Çavus 30%, Vasiliki 60-65%, Sauvignon Blanc 6-7%.
Very substantial and interesting. Well balanced and tangy – a sort of Mediterranean version of one of Friuli's best blends.
Diren, Selection Beyaz 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-10
Anatolian winery run by a family that has been quite experimental. Narince 50%, Chardonnay 50%.
Zesty, delicate. Relatively light but nothing wrong with that. On a hot day this would be a godsend.
Doluca, DLC Sultaniye/Emir 2008 Turkey 15 Drink 2009
Sultanine 63% , Emir 32%, Muscat 5%
Some real interest on the nose, zesty with fresh green acidity. It seems to me as though the Emir is the dominant feature here,
Idol, Ege Bağları Chenin Blanc 2008 Turkey 14.5 Drink 2009
Newish, bullish producer which also produces raki, the aniseed spirit so beloved of Turks.
Very fresh, clean note with green apple notes but a bit astringent and a little heavy on the finish. Bone dry without quite enough fresh fruit character in the middle.
Idol, Ege Bağları Viognier 2008 Turkey 15 Drink 2009
Curious, different sort of nose. Perfumed. Slightly salty. Acidity and alcohol dominate the finish. Some weight in the middle. There is certainly some Viognier character here. May be more impressive as the vines mature.
Kavaklidere, Cankaya 2008 Turkey 15 Drink 2009
This is a fresh, inexpensive blend widely available on the Turkish market made from Narince ('like Chardonnay – a bit oxidative, creamy texture, amber colour'), Emir (a very promising variety from volcanic Cappadocia) and Sultanine (the ubiquitous drying grape Thompson Seedless).
Very good value at €6 in Turkey for drinking in its first year. Not long but fresh and honest. Not oaky, and not desperately popular in Turkey because no international varieties are involved. 12.5%
Kavaklıdere, Côte d'Avanos Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2007-08
Though the varietal aroma seemed less marked than when I first tasted it this wine has an admirably sleek texture and attractive balance. Quite long. Good balance. Probably best drunk young.
Kavaklıdere, Prestige Narince 2007 Turkey 15 Drink 2009-10
Fermented and aged for a year in entirely new French oak.
Like a slightly paler version of the Turasan Seneler Narince. Hint of white pepper on the nose then perhaps just a little bit too sweet on the finish?
Kavaklidere Narince/Emir 2008 Turkey 16 Drink 20??
From Côtes d'Avanos in Cappadocia with respective proportions 86/14. Narince on lees in new oak. Emir on lees in one year-old barrel. Tasted at Pendore.
Lots of winemaking rather than vine or vineyards on the nose! Sweet start, less obviously Emir and Narince than the unoaked versions. Sweet finish. A well made oaked white but slightly frustrating for me because I'm still at the stage of wanting to taste the unadorned character of the varieties themselves. Some attractive notes of acacia honey.
Kocabağ Emir 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-??
Cappadocian producer, controlled by Kavaklidere for the last few years. Wine made in caves etc. 100% Emir.
Some real substance and character on the nose. Laurel leaf aromas? Attractive mouthfilling fruit. Good texture and racy acidity. Fresh and firm, positive finish. I don't have enough experience of Emir to be able to predict how long it might last.
Pamukkale, Anfora Chardonnay 2005 Turkey 14 Drink 2007?
This wine had 18 months in oak and is overwhelmed by the taste of sweet oak. Then a bit watery on the palate. Then slightly oily oak impinges again. No refreshment. Turkish Airlines serve this.
Sarafin Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Turkey 15 Drink 2009
Turkey's first international-style boutique producer, now controlled by the large Doluca operation.
International aroma - wines like this are made all over the world. No great fruit concentration. A bit short but at least there is no specious added sweetness.
Sevilen, Premium Chardonnay 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-11
Very competent medium sized outfit near Izmir with a particularly good restaurant.
Creamy, good oak management. Refreshing!!! Lively well balanced. Some length. Some ageing ability?
Turasan, Seneler Narince 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-11
Mid sized Cappadocian winery that imports grapes from Tokat in the far north east of Turkey. Barrique aged.
Mid gold, some oak but attractive oak! Not too sweet. Reminds me rather of a white Graves. Pretty. Delicate touch. Lively. Some ageing ability.
Umurbey Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Turkey 14.5 Drink 2008
Small winery in Thrace owned by Mr Umur.
Interesting nose but a bit hot and heavy. This seems a bit sweet and flat at first and then finishes quite tart .Not integrated. Maybe on the way down?
Turkey would seem a good source of dry rosés (as Lebanon is), and they love to eat out of doors, but Turks themselves don't seem very keen on this wine style at present.
Mey Kayra, Terra Kalecik Karası Rosé 2008 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2009
The old monopoly Tekel, sold to Texas Pacific Group in 2004, thereby putting many a processing plant on the market. Winemaking consultant is American. Saignée product.
A red Spangle [boiled sweet/hardy candy] sort of colour. Jujube. Good balance. Nice and dry. Slightly astringent finish. Pretty simple but good balance. Probably great with grilled fish out of doors.
Pamukkale, Anfora Trio Rosé 2007 Turkey 15 Drink 2008
Shiraz 40%, Kalecikkarası 40%, Cabernet Sauvignon 20%.
Smells and tastes a little sweet. A bit heavy and maybe a little old?
Sevilen, R Syrah-Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2008 Turkey 16 Drink 2009
Good balance and interest on the nose. Delicate texture with really fresh fruit. Pretty sophisticated. Well balanced.
Büyülübağ Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-12
Very individual winery on Marmara Island and also buys grapes from around Izmir. Strong personality. First gravity flow winery in Turkey. The owner couldn't come to our tasting in Istanbul because the government inspectors insisted on checking his stocks that day apparently. Barrique aged.
Healthy, attractive aged ruby with some development. Some odd wood on the nose? Lots of acidity. A real attempt at distinction and sophistication here – possibly let down by the cooper? Dry finish. Excellent potential in Bordeaux mould.
Büyülübağ, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2008-14
In barrique 14 months.
Clean, fruity, very pure nose with real smoothness. Claret! Very familiar to me. Well balanced and sophisticated. Super refreshing. Not quintessentially Turkish perhaps but Bordeaux-like, and very well crafted.
These Corvus tasting notes, with the exception of those prefaced 'In Istanbul', were taken at ex-architect Resit Soley's Corvus (= crow) winery on the island of Bozcaada.
Corvus, Aegea Kuntra 2004 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2006-08
Kuntra is the Greek name for the grape known as Karasakız in Turkey and used mainly for distillation. Here it is produced on the island of Bozcaada.
Already quite mature-looking. Rose petal aromas and very soft but it has aged pretty fast. Dusty and light.
Corvus, Aegea Kuntra 2005 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2007-09
Very sweet start and then acidity starts to kick in – is it losing fruit already?
Corvus, Aegea Kuntra 2006 Turkey 15 Drink 2008-10
At this relatively early stage in its life the wine looks very tannic and chewy but with disconcertingly low acidity. Can't really see its ever being beautifully balanced.
Corvus, Vinium Karalahna 2004 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2006-09
This is thought by the Turks to be the grape known as Xynomavro in Greece and used for distillation in Turkey.
Lively deep crimson although it smells fully evolved. Fresh flavours and very soft fruit. Fully evolved tannins but nice, lively acidity.
Corvus, Vinium Karalahna 2005 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2007-11
Very attractive, complete and well balanced. Damson (sour plum) fruit and very round with good freshness.
Corvus Öküzgözü/Boğazkere 2004 Turkey 16 Drink 2006-09
Öküzgözügözü 70%, Boğazkere 30% aged for 12 months in large Italian oak botte.
Looks quite old and evolved.Very mellow yet with some nuance. Transparent, very fruity. At its peak surely? Can't see what one might be waiting for in this wine. Not especially long, but good attack and life.
Corvus, Rarum Kuntra/Karalahna 2004 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2007-10
The was made by co-fermenting these two Turkish brandy grapes and is really very promising. Lively, juicy, well balanced and with quite enough substance and life.
Corvus, Rarum Kuntra/Karalahna 2005 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-12
Very sweet nose. Less integrated than the 2005 but the blend certainly improves Kuntra.
Corvus, Cabernet Sauvignon/Kuntra 2005 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2008-12
This would have to be labelled Kuntra/Cabernet Sauvignon in the EU because this is mainly Kundra but I found the two elements in the mix so different and still separate that I couldn't really get to grips with this recipe. Maybe it just needs more time?
Corvus, Merlot/Karalahna 2005 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-12
In fact this is 70% Karalahna and seems as though it still has some developing to do even if the Merlot is fairly evolved with hints of rusty nail . The nose however is very lively and fresh and this could be a promising assemblage.
Corvus, Aeolis 2004 Turkey 16 Drink 2007-10
This blend incorporates not just Cabernet and Syrah but Kuntra and the two supposed local blending partners Öküzgözü and Bogazkere.
This vintage was ready, round and easy with slightly rustic tannins.
Corvus, Aeolis 2005 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2008-11
Another blend of local and international varieties.
Round on the nose with a good spread of well integrated fruit across the palate. Pleasing even if not especially distinctive. Better tannin management than the 2004.
Corvus, Blend No 1 2004 Turkey 17 Drink 2009-13
Shiraz comprises 40% of this very successful blend that is now mellow and velvety with impressive density of already mellow fruit. Vivacious.
Corvus, Blend No 1 2004 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2009-13
In Istanbul: Syrah 40%,Cabernet Sauvignon 25 %, Merlot 15%, Cabernet Franc 10 %, Karalahna 5%, Malbec 5%. 12 months in barrique.
Some evolution at the rim. Big and round and well balanced. Meaty. Quite concentrated. Lots of fruit but some structure too. Good lively finish. Nice freshness with the acidity pretty obvious.
Corvus, Blend No 2 2005 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-11
In Istanbul: Cabernet Sauvignon 40 %, Syrah 25%, Merlot 15%,Cabernet Franc 10 % ,Karalahna 5%, Malbec 5%.
Relatively mellow and easy – quite soft and sweet and accessible. Some real interest and intrigue in this wine that has a beginning, middle and end. Dry on the finish ie not sweet and sickly.
Corvus, Blend No 2 2005 Turkey 16.5+ Drink 2010-15
Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 40% of this, a blend that varies year to year.
Full, dense, drier than No 1 and obviously destined for food. Well made and still youthful. Promising.
Corvus, Blend No 3 2006 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2011-14
Big, full rich and sweet. Seems rather more obviously ripe and New Worldy than Nos 1 and 2.
Corvus, Corpus 2004 Turkey 17 Drink 2008-12
Corpus is Corvus's top wine made up of about two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and what the owner calls Shiraz.
This right bank style wine was really quite rich and full, verging on overripe. Extremely opulent and velvety – I urged owner Resit Soley to try to get Robert Parker to taste this as I think he would love it.
Corvus, Corpus 2004 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2009-13
In Istanbul: Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Merlot 25%, Syrah 15%. In barrel for 16 months.
Very deep crimson. Lots of fruit preserved in this – the antithesis of the Gulor 2006! Very sweet start with some Merlot bloodiness and Syrah leatheriness. Real vigour and ambition here. Very long, still pretty youthful.
Corvus, Corpus 2005 Turkey 17 Drink 2009-15
Less concentrated than the 2004 and slightly dry and dusty, as though a little drought affected? Simpler than either the 2004 or 2006 but creditably transparent and expressive,
Corvus, Corpus 2006 Turkey 17+ Drink 2010-16
This blend contains some Cabernet Franc too and seems the most sophisticated so far. Very exciting and nuanced. Probably the best Turkish wine I have tasted so far, even if not the most distinctively Turkish. I suspect the ingredients were shipped in to the winery on the island of Bozcaada from a wide range of locations.
Diren, Selection Kırmızı 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-11
Boğazkere 33%, Cabernet Sauvignon 33%, Syrah 33%.
Quite delicate. Cabernet dominates the nose. Sweetness and very harmonious, but what has happened to the famous tannins of the Boğazkere?! Already quite easy to drink. Some, but not lots of, fine sandy tannins on the finish. Not for the long term, I think. Perhaps a terroir effect as their white wine is also notably delicate?
Doluca, Signium 2006 Turkey 15 Drink 2010-12
Shiraz 54%, Boğazkere 33% (don't know what else is in this blend which was aged in a mix of American and French oak for 13 months).
Very dark crimson. Quite a bit of oak on the nose, lots of acidity and a bit of hole in the middle. Astringent. Not quite whole.
Doluca, Karma Shiraz/Boğazkere 2007 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2009-12
Shiraz 82%, Boğazkere 18% aged for 15 months in two-thirds US and one-third French oak.
Bright vibrant crimson. Full on, fruit-driven nose. Very direct, no subtlety and rather dry tannins on the finish. Very New World.
Doluca, Kav Boğazkere/Öküzgözü 2006 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2008-10
Boğazkere 55%, Öküzgözü 45%.
Healthy red. Sweet and a little spritzy even with some rather obvious acid. You can taste the tannins and maybe some added acid? Not very harmonious.
Gülor, Sangiovese-Montepulciano 2005 Turkey `16 Drink 2008-10
Small, interesting, experimental Thrace producer.
This wine really does smell of Sangiovese! Light and lively. Need knowledge of Chianti to appreciate this – otherwise you might might think it a bit thin but there is fruit in the middle – much better than most non Tuscan Sangioveses that come my way. Long.
Gülor Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2006 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2008-10
Dried herbs nose and some vegetation – more there than just Bordeaux fruit. Lots of acidity and seems as though quite oxidative winemaking. `Dusty fruit on the finish. I feel as though some of the fruit has escaped, whether through oxygen or high temperature.... Shame as there is real character there.
Idol, Consensus 3 Meşe Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot 2006 Turkey 15 Drink 2009-10
Unoaked Shiraz 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 25%, Merlot 25%.
Rather obvious 'Australian' notes. Sweet and a bit stringy on the palate.Very fruit forward and New World – rather drying tannins on the finish.
Kavaklıdere, VinArt Kalecik Karası/Syrah 2008 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2009-12
Unoaked Kalecik Karası 60%, Syrah 40%.
Pretty full and assertive. Hint of boiled sweets again. Sweet start. Some tannin.
Kavaklıdere, Prestige Boğazkere 2004 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2008-11
100% Boğazkere, 100% aged for 12 months in old French oak.
Healthy crimson.Some rather attractive oak effects on the nose. Fine tannins but it is more vigorous than the other 2004s. Slightly dry.
Kavaklidere, Ancyra 2008 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-10
Kalecik Karasi grown around Ankara.
14.5% alcohol but good acidity. There's a good mouthful of rather cappuccino-like bright fruit in this wine. Fruity and round 10 euros = med price in Turkey.
The following wines, many of them cask samples, were tasted at Kavaklidere's impressive new Pendore estate inland from Izmir at a decent altitude on gentle slopes. Stéphane Derenoncourt and his team are consulting there. Kavaklidere's talented woman head winemaker Asli Odman is there frequently and gives most of the fruit one day's cold maceration before fermentation. The vineyards look very well looked after and they try to delay ripening and ripen phenolics by playing with irrigation.
Kavaklidere Carignan 2008 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-10
Very ripe and gentle and more lush Derenoncourt than typical Carignan. No oak. Very gentle. Little bit of acid but pretty good.13.2%
Kavaklidere Alicante 2008 Turkey 15 Drink 2011-13
Very dark, quite spicy oak for the moment. Bitter cherries. Very fresh fruit. Quite a bit of acid. 14%
Kavaklidere Merlot 2008 Turkey 16 Drink 2012-15
In new Taransaud.
Gentle and soft and the new oak is very well managed. Sweet and only very slight chewy on the end. 15.1%
Kavaklidere Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2011-17
Assemblage of different parcels.
Firm and correct. Just a hint of greenness on the finish. Definitely chewy after a very sweet mid palate. Still pretty chewy but it may well take on flesh in the middle..? 14.6%
(I mixed the Merlot and Cabernet 50/50 in a glass and found it pretty nice.)
Kavaklidere Syrah 2008 Turkey 16 Drink 2010-15
Very dark purple. Leather and opulent. Very fruity, a little bit in your face...Very sweet. Liquorice. 14.6%
Kavaklidere Öküzgözü 2008 Turkey 16.5+ Drink 2009-11
Aged in tank + 10% new barrel. This variety has very big grapes and they have to 'bleed' it to concentrate the juice. It was not picked until 23 Sep (same date as in Eastern Turkey).
Exceptionally fruity with good acidity. Very lively – a really nice mouthful of zesty fruit. Good integrity. Damsons. Juice!!!! Quite productive – and also a table grape. Also planted in Thrace. 14.3%
Kavaklidere Bogazkere 2008 Turkey 16 Drink 2011-14
Not picked until 19 Oct when the nights are pretty cool which preserves the aroma. Three days cold maceration and gentle remontage.
Very strong character. Firm and dusty and chewy but some plumpness. Then all that tannin on the finish is a bit of a killer. Apparently this is much suppler and fruitier than in Eastern Turkey. The grapes are apparently so tannic you couldn't think of eating them. 13.8%
Kavaklidere Öküzgözü/Bogazkere 2008 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2010-13
80% Öküzgözü, 20% Bogazkere.
Well judged boisterous wine with lots of fruit and a fine structure. Dusty tannins.14.2%
Kavaklidere Bogazkere 1997 Turkey 16 Drink 2005-10
1997 was a very good vintage apparently and this bottle was rushed to the airport to catch me just before departure so that I could see what happens to this tannic variety with extended bottle age. (Somehow or other it was allowed into the departure lounge.)
The wine seemed rather more rustic than those made at the moment, but then Turkish wine was then at a very different stage in its evolution. Difficult to tell whether the acidity and slightly inky bitterness on the finish is because of the winemaking techniques that prevailed then or because of this famously tannic grape's inherent qualities but a reasonably attractive bouquet had developed. It's still not nearly as charming as 100% Öküzgözü!
Kocabağ Kalecik Karası 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2008-10
Unoaked – all fruit. Sweet and full and lively and round. SO charming!What's not to like? Great balance.Though it tastes as though there's a fair amount of alcohol in here.
Likya, Kızılbel Cabernet Sauvignon/Boğazkere 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2011-14
Thoughtful new producer in an isolated site in the mountains 1,100 m above the holiday centre of Antalya on the south coast. He exhibited at the London Wine Trade Fair and had very good reception. Cabernet 80%, Boğazkere 20% (the Turkish grape like Tannat).
Unoaked but very interesting. Hint of something green on the nose. Very sweet start on the palate. Lots of personality! Gripping tannins on the finish. Real texture. Rather confident. Good potential here.
Likya, Kızılbel Merlot/Syrah/Öküzgözü 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-11
Merlot 30%, Syrah 30%, Öküzgözü 40%.
Very dark crimson.Sweet and round. Real charm even if not for the very long term. Cherry juice! But a nice kick on the finish.
Melen, Reserve Öküzgözü 2006 Turkey 16 Drink 2008-11
Medium sized, on the ball Thrace winery. Öküzgözü 80%, Merlot 10%, Shiraz 10%.
Smoky, mulberry nose with real charm. Relatively light but well balanced. A little chewy on the finish, but this should be fine with food. Positive finish.
Melen, Ganohora Merlot 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-11
Sweet, easy and very fruity. Very easy to like and a good example of the varietal for teaching purposes? Not for the very long term.
Mey Kayra, Imperial Shiraz 2005 Turkey 16.5 Drink 2008-12
This wine has achieved great fame in Turkey because Isa Bal, the Turkish sommelier at the Fat Duck, has put it on the list there, along with Sevilen Centrum Syrah. Syrah 99 %, Petit Verdot 1% aged for two years in Radoux.
Light and well balanced – mild and more subtle than most. Not over the top. Almost lean in a Turkish context!
Mey Kayra, Vintage Shiraz with a touch of Petit Verdot 2007 Turkey 16 Drink 2010-13
Syrah 85%, Petit Verdot 15% aged for 18 months in American oak.
Very dark crimson. Oaky Australian Shiraz style. All upfront. Very sweet and alcoholic. Chock full of ripe fruit then tannin.
Mey Kayra, Buzbağ Rezerv 2004 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2006-08
This seems to be the brand, owned by what was once the monopoly, that tourists remembered from their visits to Turkey way back. Öküzgözü 55%, Boğazkere 45% aged for 24 months in oak.
Light ruby. Sweet and very mellow and a bit dusty on the finish. Past its best?
Mey Kayra, Buzbağ Rezerv 2005 Turkey 16 Drink 2007-09
Öküzgözü 50%, Boğazkere 50%.
Fresh damson (sour plum) fruit flavours and surely at its most expressive already. Some fine tannins on the finish. Dry finish.
Pamukkale, Anfora Shiraz 2005 Turkey 16 Drink 2008-11
Aged in French oak for 18 months.
Bright crimson, simple fruity style. Clean and sweet and straightforward. Hint of malt.
Prodom Syrah/Petit Verdot/Cabernet Franc 2006 Turkey 16 Drink 2009-12
Very new, ambitious winery near Izmir. This is their first vintage. One to watch.
Very deep crimson – healthy glow. An unusual note on the nose. Sweet start and chewy finish. Good fruit but maybe slightly odd wood? Interesting.
Sarafin Shiraz 2007 Turkey 15 Drink 2009-11
Contains 5% Cabernet Sauvignon apparently.
Dark crimson. Rather reduced? And very taut and austere on the finish. Not much juicy fruit in the middle. Young vines and reductive winemaking?
Selendi 2006 Turkey 15.5 Drink 2008-10
Interesting story to this winery. A successful banker retired and bought the plot of land. Israelis prepared it for him. 'People love his wine because they love him,' I was told. All proceeds from the wine go to educating girls. Cabernet, Merlot, with a bit of Syrah.
Dark crimson. Not the freshest of fruit but a hint of chocolate malt and easy to like. Neat, dry tannins on the finish.
Sevilen, Centrum Syrah 2006 Turkey 16 Drink 2010-12
Very dark crimson. Sweet and luscious and round. Lots of juice even if not that much subtlety and sweet rather than savoury at the moment. A bit simple with a certain rawness. Young vines? Not much undertow or subtlety.
Talay Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2006 Turkey 16 Drınk 2008-11
Very old, traditional producer on the island of Bozcaada.
Very dark crimson. Sweet, beef extract nose. Reminds me of a spicy Maremma red! Very lively and with an attractive hint of bitterness.
Turasan, Seneler Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Turkey 15 Drink 2009-12
Cappadochia operation but the fruit was probably brought in – possibly exposed to too much heat? Fermented in 500-litre casks.
Very deep colour. Overripe notes – smells very Napa to me! I'd like just a little more purity and freshness – just a hit of port, and certainly dustiness. But it may be very popular style in Turkey where wine drinkers tend to prefer New World styles to European?
Umurbey Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2007 Turkey 15 Drink 2009-10
Light crimson. Much simpler and more New World than the Büyülübağ Cabernets tasted immediately before it. Sweet and fruity – straightforward. Fruit driven, not desperately ambitious or interesting but perfectly acceptable. Not for the long term.
Urlice Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Turkey 14.5 Drink 2009
Very small operation near Izmir.
Is it 100% clean? Very tough astringent, over extracted? Or maybe too much press wine? Not very harmonious but certainly Cabernet Sauvignon. A bit of a hole in the middle.
Urlice Merlot/Shiraz 2005 Turkey 16 Drink 2008-12
Slightly greyish crimson. Leather and molasses and then quite a bit of tannin on the end. Pretty austere finish, presumably from the Syrah. Slightly rustic tannins but well intentioned.