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My Tasting Notes of 32 Turkish Wines Enjoyed During the #EWBC 2012

Written on 23-11-2012 by Dusan Jelic, Belgrade, Serbia

With Charles Metcalfe and Tim Atkin MW during the Grand Terroir Tasting at #ewbc 2012 in Izmir, Turkey

Digital Wine Communication Conference has taken place in Izmir, Turkey from November 9-11, 2012.

A few powerful entities joined forces in order to organize this epic event: Vrazon (www.vrazon.com), Wines of Turkey (www.winesofturkey.org), Turkish Culture & Tourism Ministry and a string of other generous wine-loving sponsors.

280 ‘delegates’ from 40 different countries participated and amount of networking done was simply insane. Perhaps the energy of the digital summit could be best summed up by a memorable tweet of a British wine journalist & writer Jamie Goode who stated on November 17 on his twitter account @jamiegoode: ‘Miss the camaraderie od the bloggers conference #ewbc’.

I attended four thematic technical wine tasting led by the distinguished wine personalities:

1. Indigenous Turkish Grape Varieties Tasting (presented by Joel Butler MW)

2. Signature Blends from Turkey: the Art of the Blend (presented by Isa Bal MS & Alder Yarrow)

3. International Varietal and Blended Wines from Turkey (presented by Christy Canterbury MW)

4. Grand Terroir Experience - Regional Technical Tasting (presented by Tim Atkin MW & Charles Metcalfe)

In addition to these well-organized and very exciting events I also had an opportunity to taste some of the wines from 26 Turkish wineries, which were on display for 2 days (also including some wines from Georgia!).  


A list of 26 Turkish winery participating at #ewbc 2012 together with the links to their websites


Doluca (www.doluca.com)

Kavaklidere (www.kavaklidere.com)

Kayra (www.kayrawinec.com)

La (www.lawines.com.tr)

Pamukkale (www.pamukkalesarap.com)

Selendi (www.selendi.com.tr)

Sevilen (www.sevilengroup.com)

Suvla (www.suvla.com)

Vinkara (www.vinkara.com)

Yazgan (www.yazganwine.com)

Mozaik (www.mozaiksarapcilik.com)

Pasaeli (www.pasaeli.com)

Prodom (www.prodom.com.tr)

Urla (www.urlasarapcilik.com.tr)

Arcadia (www.arcadiavineyards.com)

Buyulubag (www.buyulubag.com)

Chamlija (www.iremcamlica.com)

Diren (www.diren.com.tr)

Gulor (www.gulorwine.com)

Likya (www.likyasarap.com)

Gali (www.gali.com.tr)

Chateau Nuzun (www.satonuzun.com)

Kocabag (www.kocabag.com)

Umurbey (www.umurbeyvineyards.com)

Urlice (www.urlice.com)

Vinolus (www.vinolus.com)


Based on all the wines available, I have picked 32 wines and paid a bit more attention to them. Most of them were a part of the various technical wine tastings so it was easy to explore them very carefully. As a part of my tasting notes you will find a few stars attached to each of the wine tasted.


A brief description of my wine assessment system


3*         Wine without faults, however plain and ordinary (not a single wine that I tasted in Turkey got this mark!)

3.5*      Wine without faults with a subtle hint of greatness

4*         Exciting wine, a true representative of the terroir & winemaking practice applied,  able to bring about a lot of pleasure especially when paired with local food. Wine I would like to drink every day if it is possible.

4.5*      Extraordinary wine, bringing enormous amount of pleasure - a world class wine! To be consumed during the special occasions or important celebrations. Wine to celebrate life!

5*          The very best wine the region has to offer:  a fabulous wine by any imaginable standards.


Tasting Notes of 32 Turkish wines


1. Yazgan Emir 2011 [4*]

Wine has a straw yellow colour, perfectly harmonious, smooth, silky, though slightly sour on the back palate. I picked scents of ripe apples, citruses and tropical fruits. Tasting ends with a lingering aftertaste of honeysuckle and citruses. Crisp acidity. Indeed a very refreshing wine, perfect for summer or any other warm days throughout all seasons.


2. Pasaeli Yapincak 2011 [3.5*]

A complex wine with a great acidity. Crisp style. It has a good minerality and it could be described as a ‘fruit bomb’. Kept in a stainless steel with a bit of sur lie (ageing on the lees). An interesting wine.


3.  Vinkara Narince Reserve 2010 [4*]

Wine with a very good acidity & pleasant citrus variations both on the nose and on the palate. A bit of lees-y feel and also a subtle kiss of oak. Tropical hints, lemon and lime prevail. Great wine but need a bit more body and texture to be a really world-class wine.


4. Sevilen Plato Kalecik Karasi 2011 [4*]

Scents of blueberries, spices, pepper and even rose petals. Smooth tannins, very fruity, kiss of oak. Key feature is a vivid floral bouquet. Wine is done in a very delicate style and resembles a good Pinot Noir.


5. Vinkara Kalecik Karasi Reserve 2010 [4*]

Light red colour, grapes came from clay-loam and alluvial soils of Ankara/Kalecik region. Gently perfumed wine with the incredible bouquet and a lot of subtle power. Will further develop in a three to five years time.


6. Kavaklidere Prestige Kalecik Karasi 2009 [4*]

I spotted notes of strawberries at the first contact. Very fruit intense wine with some peppery and leathery notes as well. Wine is harmonious, earthy with fine tannins. This is a bit richer style of Kalecik Karasi.


7. Kavaklidere Pendore Okuzgozu 2010 [4*]

Deep ruby colour. Meaty, gamey, forest-floor kind of scents. Wine is very juicy, with a subtle touch of peppery notes. Almost Zinfandel-like and imbued with the loads of raspberry fruit. Ultimately this is a very food-friendly wine.


8. Kayra Vintage Okuzgozu 2009 [4.5*]

Meaty, juicy wine. Still climbing up and developing in a bottle. Beautiful on the nose, but ultimately it’s a very complex and powerful wine. Pretty high in alcohol, plenty of intensive floral notes, full-bodied. Smooth and round tannins. It superbly displays richness without harshness. Lingering aftertaste of dark berries and some exotic spices. A perfect wine for rich read meat as well as for strong, full-bodied cheeses.


9. Doluca Tugra Bogazkere 2009 [4*]

It is leathery, meaty wine. Bogazkere means ‘throat burner’ in Turkish. This wine has an awesome perfume and exceptionally smooth tannins. Alcohol is 15.5% however wine is fully harmonious as other components blend-in beautifully.


10. Kayra Bogazkere 2009 [4*]

Nice red garnet colour. It tastes like sour cherries. Hints of meat, red fruits and leather. Wine is blessed with powerful tannins. Lingering aftertaste of leather & meat enhances the joy of consuming this wine.


11. Pamukkale Anfora Trio 2011 (40% Chard - 40% Narince, 20% Sauv Blanc) [3.5*]

Light yellow colour with aromas of citruses. A bit sour on the back palate. Easy drinking, uncomplicated wine for every day’s drinking.


12. Kavaklidere Cotes d’Avanos 2011 (67% Narince - 33% Chardonnay) [4*]

Complex wine with superb acidity & a bit of lees-y feeling. Notes of Chardonnay dominate. It’s a harmonious, well-crafted wine with good fruits, indeed drinkable wine with crisp & refreshing feel.


13. Doluca Karma 2010 (75% Chardonnay - 25% Narince) [3.5*]

It’s a wine with a pleasant acidity, however a bit bitter with a hint of some sour funky notes. Aromas of citruses dominate the blend.


14. Pamukkale Anfora Trio 2010 (40% Shiraz, 40% Kalecik Karasi & 20% Cabernet Sauvignon) [3.5*]

This is a relatively balanced wine, and very easy to drink. Good ripeness of the fruit displayed and there is a feel of smokiness. It’s a good and uncomplicated wine.


15. Gidatay Prodom 2011 (60% Syrah - 40%Kalecik Karasi) [4*]

This wine is full-bodied and rich. Alcohol level is 14%. Ripe tannins blend beautifully with soft and smooth structure of the wine. Vineyards are at 900 m altitude which helps this wine to retain great acidity. Kalecik Karasi has some Pinot Noir-like properties, which is very exciting indeed. Ultimately, it comes to my mind that the wine has a bit of a Rhone-like in character.


16. Sevilen Plato 2010 (65% Syrah, 30% Okuzgozu & 5% Petit Verdot) [4*]

This wine has a nice intensive red colour. On the nose plums and red fruit puree. A little bit overripe but still harmonious and inviting. Fruit is rich & ripe and intensity is a right word for it. Wine has a lingering aftertaste of dark chocolate & exotic spices.


17. Vinkara Reserve [Red] 2010 (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot & 20% Syrah) [4*]

Cabernet-dominated powerful blend with 14.5% of alcohol. A bit of green peppers feel that may be tricky at times but blends in here beautifully. I usually prefer this greenness or herbaceousness in my Cabernet Franc; however it enhances this wine. Wine has a lovely tannic structure. Soft and smooth notes of Merlot with exotic spices provided by Syrah accompany nicely the raw power od Cabernet Sauvignon.


18. Doluca Karma 2010 (75% Cabernet Sauvignon & 25% Okuzgozu) [3.5*]

Wine has a deep red colour. The wine has a pronounced acidity & its tannin structure is good. With 14.3% of alcohol it is pretty powerful. I feel it could be a great food wine. An interesting attempt to combine the king of red grape: Cabernet Sauvignon & one of the top local performers - Okuzgozu.


19. Suvla Sur 2010 (50% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc & 2% Petit Verdot) [4.5*]

This wine has a beautiful intensive red colour with some purple touches. Wine has an awesome tannin structure and its components are perfectly in harmony. Sour cherries dominate on the nose and continue through on the palate. This wine is judiciously oaked and can definitely age gracefully for a good 5 to 7 years. Tannins are strong yet smooth, so the wine is powerful yet gentle - almost like ‘a golden hand in a velvet glove.’ Undoubtedly it’s a great wine to match with rich Turkish or international food - such as various red meat-centered culinary experiments or powerful cheeses. Finally I believe it is one of the top-end red blends in Turkey!


20. Kayra Imperial 2006 (80%Okuzgozu, 6%Bogazkere, 7%Syrah & 7% Petit Verdot) [4*]

Wine is very fruity and has a superb acidity. It may be a bit too ripe. It has a lot of dry fruit scents on the nose and similar subtle hints on the palate. With 14.5% of alcohol this is a serious wine. It has unusual taste for me, as the local varieties dominate, however it is very inviting wine.


21. LA Mon Reve [White] 2010 (75% Chardonnay & 25% Chenin Blanc) [4*]

This is an interesting blend of two international white varieties. Organic grapes were used for the wine. It is elevaged: referring to the wine’s maturation in barrel, during the winemaking process, and it was sur lie aged. On the nose we have predominantly tropical and green notes. This wine is ample on the palate and pretty crispy. It is awesome value for money.


22. Likya Arykanda 2011 Sauvignon Blanc [3.5*]

13 years old vines were located on sandy soils. This wine is characterized by crisp acidity. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. I picked a lot of elegance with grassy characters. Finish is however fairly short.


23. Suvla Reserve Chardonnay 2011 [4*]

The wine has a lovely golden colour. It has a very complex nose with a crisp acidity showing up immediately. Wine is 100% barrel fermented. This wine is dry and it has only 3 grams of residual sugar (RS) per liter. I picked a lot of elegance in the wine, as well as a strong fruity note, which all belongs pretty much to a New World style of Chardonnay.


24. LA Mon Reve Tempranillo 2010 [3.5*]

Carbonic maceration was used here, no oak, stainless steel tanks. Wine is savoury, meaty with some mulberry touches. Wine has a great acidity, ripe notes dominate and there is a lot of juiciness. It’s a very nice example of an easy drinking wine. 


25. Pamukkale Nodus 2010 (50% Merlot & 50% Cabernet Franc) [4*]

This is a very aromatic wine with a superb structure. This wine reminds me to a Rhone-style elegance. It’s very perfume-y and not too powerful, with only 13.5% of alcohol. All components of wine are incredibly well-integrated.


26. Selendi Sarnic Shiraz 2011 [4*]

The wine is characterized with a fine and intensive dark red colour. Plum puree and scents of prunes dominate. This wine has a very good tannin structure. The wine was kept in stainless steel and maturation took place in barrique barrels. This wine may well resemble to an Australian-style Shiraz- namely a very powerful and rich wine.


27. Selendi Red Blend 2010 (38% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah & 8% Cabernet Franc) [4*]

A wine has a profound dark red colour. With 14.5% of alcohol this is a bold wine with powerful yet smooth tannins. Ripe fruits are properly integrated and this wine makes you think about the matching food. I fancied a leg of lamb or a similar delicacy.


28. Yazgan Mahra 2011 (70% Cabernet Sauvignon & 30% Syrah) [3.5*]

This is an easy-going wine with 13.5% of alcohol. It is definitely a very good food wine, however a bit tart on the palate.


29. Urla Tempus 2010 (40% Merlot, 41% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon & 4% Petit Verdot + Cabernet Franc) [4*]

It has an intensive dark red colour. This wine comes from the 10 to 11 years old vineyards planted on limestone soils. Ripe notes dominate, with strong hints of a fig jam. This is a pretty complex wine with a very fine tannin structure.


30. Mozaik Mahrem Tannat 2010 [4*]

I first observed a dark concentrated colour. This is a very fruity wine. It is a first vintage of it and the wine has 13.5 % of alcohol. I picked some subtle hints of violets and rose petals. It would definitely go well with strongly-flavored dishes.


31. Prodom Petit Verdot 2010 [5*]

The wine has a fabulous tannin structure which secures a graceful aging in a bottle. Tannins are powerful and heavy yet they do not overpower other components of this wine. Instead these tannins enhance a beauty of this Petit Verdot. I picked a lot od blackberries and a hint of pencil shavings. On the palate this wine shows a powerful hint of leather-like aromas. The wine lingers forever with the smooth and very satisfying aftertaste of cedar-like notes. I strongly feel that this is a very special wine. Produced in a tiny quantity Prodom Petit Verdot shows the brilliance at such an early age. It will continue to develop for at least 3 to 5 years and can only become more complex. This is a brilliantly crafted-wine which can be already pronounced as a Super-Turkish Petit Verdot. Cheers!


32. Sevilen Centum Syrah 2010 [5*]

It is a fact that Turkey has the greatest percentage of Syrah/Shiraz plantings of all the vines. This Syrah is the best I have tasted as it is a fabulously complex wine. Its colour is deep and profound. The subtle hints of white pepper are intermingled with the charming floral bouquet. Suddenly a scent of plums feels your nostrils with pleasure while a bit later you had a feeling of a Cuban cigar in your mouth. Dark berries are there and they are beautifully balanced with powerful aromas of dried red fruits. Exotic spices finally touch your back palate and you immerse yourself in a lingering aftertaste of white pepper-like aromas and exotic spices that lasts forever. This is an absolutely brilliant wine, which shall develop further in the next five years. Sevilen Centum Syrah 2010 is the best Turkish Syrah I have ever tasted. Cheers!


The above wines show very clearly that we entered the era of Turkish Wine Renaissance! Cheers to that!