Master Class ‘Wines of Turkey’

Emir, Narince, Kalecik Karasi, Okuzgozu, Bogazkere… I’m not talking to you in Chinese but in Turkish ! Turkey, the Rising Land, is the fifth producer of grappes in the world with 1000 different varieties. But only a few 10 is used to produce wine. Wine is traditional, for the Christian minorities (mostly Armenian) and Jewish or for the layman elite Muslims. With 78% of the wines which have been rewarded during international competitions, it is time that we lift the veil on 11 000 years of history at Vinexpo for its second participation this year. 

In order to do it correctly, a big specialist was here : Tim Atkin, Master of Wine and Turkish wines specialist. 

Where is soul, Here is hope” Turkish Proverb 


The Turkish market is a market full of future ! Bear represents 86% of the drink consumed and the wine represents only 7% but it’s increasing. Turkey is number 5 for the worlwide production of grappes (4 264 000 tonnes) and is the 4th country in size of vines cultivated after Spain, France and Italy. Only 2% is used for wine and the consumption per capita is 1L/ year. Between 2011 and 2012, Turkish wines have won more than 500 medals ! Incredible !     

There are many indegineous vines likeEmir, Narince, Sultaniye and Bornova Misketi for white grappes and Calkarasi, Kalecik Karasi, Öküzgözü and Bogazkere for black grappes. There is also a lots of international varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. 


– Emir, Kocabag Winery of Cappadocia region, 2011 (100% Emir)

Considered as one of the best winery of the region, its wines are extremly searched for. On 35 hectares, 5 type of indigeneous vines are growing. It exports to the USA, Canada, Germany and Japan. It also tries to take the best of its volcanic terroir from Anatolia.

With a nice yellow in the glass, the first nose is curious with a smoky lemon. An impression of sour appears also ! The second nose confirms the lemon and notes of dry fruits are coming. The mouth is fresh with acidity. A little bit straight and like it was water, a salty flavour is on the tongue. The finish is floral with rose and also hazelnut. The acidity is still present, it’s a nice wine to drink, it’s clean ! 

– Chamlija Narince, Irem Chamlija Winery of Mountains Strandja region, 2012 (100% Narince)

Originally from Bulgaria, the family Camlica is a pro of earth. Near Istanbul (120 km in the west), it’s the third generation who manages the property still today ! 

Very clear yellow, limpid and bright, the first nose is nice like a Muscat with peach, apricot and yellow rose notes. It’s powerful and quite sexy ! The mouth is fresh with apricot, peach and white grappes. Acidity is persistent like the lemon one. The finish is mango oriented.

– Prestige Kalecik Karasi, Kavaklidere Winery of Central Anatolie region, 2009 (100% Kalecik Karasi)

It’s the leader winery in Turkey with 84 years of existence and 610 hectares of vineyard. Its principle is simple : to produce anatolian wines with anatolian grappes which are exported over 21 countries. 16 brands have been created, representing 47 wines and since its participation of competitions, the winery had won more than 700 prices. It’s biggest proud ? That the national flight company serves its wines on board. 

Ruby with a nice clear crown, the nose is interesting with notes of cold ashes, fig and cherry. There is also a floral side and even dry plum. The second nose is aromatic and fresh. The mouth is light and aromatic with sweet cherry and cocoa notes. The finish is very nice on dry grappe. The sugary impression disappears progressively and lets spicies notes. The finish is woody and bitter. 

– Pendore, Kavaklidere Winery of the Aegean region, 2010 (100% Bogazkere)

Ruby red, limpid and shiny, the first nose is aromatic with dry fruits flavours like raisin… It’s also very ‘gourmand’ thanks to fresh fruits notes like strawberry and cherry. The second nose allows us to discover wild strawberry. It’s fresh… The mouth is also interesting with sugary and strawberry. A little bitterness appears also, it’s nice but finally it’s straight.  

– Karma, Doluca Winery of Thrace in the eastern Anatolia region, 2010 (Cabernet Sauvignon and Öküzgözü)

It’s a family firm ! After he has done his studies abroad, Nihat A. Kutman came back in his country in 1926 in order to create this winery. Today, at the head, it’s the third Kutman generation which proposes 40 products and shares 14 millions of bottles per year. 

With a very nice and deep ruby, the nose is pepper oriented and then let appear red fruits and black fruits. Spicy, the second nose is more open with curry, fruits and acidity. The mouth is fresh with strong tanins. Aromatic, it’s a nice wine with a fruity finish. 

– Kayra Versus, Kayra Winery of the Sarköy region, 2010 (100% Cabernet Franc)

The winery Kayra goal is to make the wines from Anatolia beautiful ! Two production areas are sharing the total production of 9,2 millions of litters : one has been built in 1942 in the eastern Anatonlia and the other one in 1996 in Thrace. 

With a very nice deep red ruby, the first nose of this Kayra is reminding me whiskylactione, mushroom and coconut. The barrels aging has been really strong. The second nose is spicy with curry but also fruits. Le mouth lets appear sugar, freshness, spices and nice tanins. A bitterness is also around. It’s quite good but the fruit is hidden by this bitterness…       

– Mahrem Syrah, Mozaik Winery of the Urla region (Izmir), 2010 (100% Syrah)

Modern winery because it has been created in 2006, it’s an italian agronomic ingenior who is dealing with this baby. The sustainable development is an important key and finaly it follows a really frenchy vinification with a barrels aging and a bottling at the property.      

Always ruby, the nose is fun with red fruits and spices. The second nose is aromatic, persistant with a little green note and also coconut and vanilla. The mouth is fresh with bitterness. The red fruit is fighting with plum and an acidity at the end. The finish is all about coconut and vanilla… We can really feel the barrels aging. 

– Mahrem Tannat, Mozaik Winery of the Urla region (Izmir), 2010 (100% Tannat)

Ruby with a nice aromatic first nose with plum, fig and smooth cherry. The second nose is more about acidity, plum and redcurrant. Vanilla and coconut appear : it’s really the Mozaik signature. The mouth has got sugar with powerful tanins. Structure is amazing. Coconut, vanilla, blackcurrant and blackberry : nice twist ! Delicate but the tanins are maybe a little bit too strong for the moment !      

– Sur, Suvla Winery of Gallipoli, 2010 (50% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot)

In the historical Gallipoli peninsula of Dardanelles, the Suvla winery searchs to produce charming, smooth wines which are matching perfectly with food. Created in 2003, 80 hectares of vines have got the certification ‘Good Agriculture Practice” (GAP). The winery has been built in 2009 and all the consultant œnologists are french. 23 labels, premium and ultra premium, are produced each years.     

Ruby with an orange crown, the nose seems to be full of Brett (wet horse ! yuk !!)… It’s smoky, full of leather but it’s also smelling lily flower !! There is a heavy and pepper side. The second nose is more about leather than lily flower even if it’s strongly coming after. The mouth has got sugar, it’s like burnt and there is always this curious taste of lily flower ! The tanins are powerful, on the tongue is powdery. Lightly green, nice but very curious… One word : unique. 


Enjoy this article?

If you enjoyed this article you can share it with your friends and continue to discuss it on social networks.