This year, during one of his many jaunts abroad, Hubby went to Turkey. He sent updates about the views, the mosques, the sights at night. And, bless him, he brought home wine.
Two bottles of Turkish wine. Wasn't quite sure what to expect, as I'd never had wine from that corner of the world before. I was intrigued; would it be similar to some of the eastern European wines I've tried, or wholly different? We opened each on separate occasions, paired with different meals. I have to say I prefer the white, but both made for a decent quaff.
A few quick facts about wines from Turkey ...
Anatolia, where the majority of Turkey's vineyards are rooted, makes up the westernmost point of the Asian continent, a peninsula bordered by three bodies of water: the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean. The Republic of Turkey takes up two-thirds of Anatolia's land mass; split by the Bosphorus Strait, Turkey has both a European side and an Asian side.
Winemaking in Turkey can be traced back some 7,000 years, through a tumultuous history of wars, land changing hands, and the like. There are eight main indigenous grape varieties used in wine production, along with several traditional European ones, including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and merlot, to name a few.
The two bottles lovingly brought home by Hubby were from the Doluca Winery. Since 1926, three generations of the Kutman family have kept the business flourishing. While Doluca's main offices are in Istanbul (with as many satellite offices as the Kutmans have vineyards scattered throughout the country), the main production is done in Murefte, where Nihat Kutman first began tinkering with native grapes and unique blends.
Antik 2009 Boğazkere / Shiraz - Boğazkere is grown mainly in the Denizli province. For this blend, small amounts of gamay and cinsault went in along with the shiraz. Deep, opaque garnet colour; licorice, cassis and green pepper aromas; big and jammy; faint acidity and not much in the way of tannins.
Antik 2009 Emir / Narince / Semillon - This is a beyaz sek s̥arap (dry white wine). Narince grows in the clay-and-sandy soil of Tokat province, bordering the Black Sea. Emir is found in the volcanic soil of Nevşehir province, nestled in the microclimate of a basin 900 feet above sea level. This wine delivered fragrant notes of honeydew melon, citrus and delicate flowers; it was medium-bodied, with moderate acidity heightened by a tangy, tart-lemon finish.
(Source: Wines of Turkey, which includes an excellent map of Anatolian wine regions.)