Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Turkish Wines

Every time I think I have even the smallest handle on some infinitesimal part of the wine world, something comes along that shows me just how more is out there. In this case, Turkish wines. I'm not sure why Turkish wines haven't come across my radar beyond being mere blips, but it turns out that Turkey is (according to some sources) the fourth largest wine grape producer in the world. Huh? Why are they not better known then? Shane Rai of VinoRai is out to change that. Founded in 2012, VinoRai is a fine wine importer that is focused on emerging wine regions, with exclusive rights to represent Turkey’s finest wineries.

The Turkish wine renaissance continues its momentum in the U.S. with the introduction of four new and distinctive wines by VinoRai, national importer of quality Turkish wines. Shane provided me with samples from two wineries who are working with both indigenous and international varieties. Located in Cappadocia, Turasan has been owned and operated by three generations of the family spanning 70 years. The Turasan family is the region’s first modern wine-making family, where wine-making history and tradition goes back 7,000 years to the Hittites and Byzantines. Diren is located in Tokat, Mid-Eastern Anatolia, a region famous for its unique white Narince grape, and was established in 1958. It is well respected for its focus and excellence in producing wines from regional indigenous varietals.

Turkish Wines

Tasting Notes
2013 Turasan Emir: vinified in stainless then aged sur lie in stainless for 6 months; light straw color; citrus, orchard fruit, floral, and fennel aromas; citrus, floral, orchard fruit, and mineral flavors; 13.5% ABV; agglomerate cork; 20,000 bottles produced; SRP $14.

2012 Diren Öküzgözü: 85% Öküzgözü, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; vinified in stainless steel; aged  1.5 years in stainless; dark garnet with ruby edges; dark cherry, pomegranate, plum, and spice aromas; stewed plum, red berry, forest and herb flavors; typically a high acid grape, this is very smooth and balanced; luscious mouthfeel; 13.3% ABV; cork closure; 1,000 cases produced; SRP $15.

2011 Diren Karmena Red: Öküzgözü, Boğazkere, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot; vinified in stainless steel; aged 12 months in French oak, then 1.5 years in stainless; sparkling ruby red color; cassis, dark cherry, and green pepper aromas; rhubarb, smoke, red berry and herbal flavors; light bodied, balanced, with a tannic finish; 13.5% ABV; cork closure; 2,500 cases produced; SRP $13.
These are truly one of a kind wines, both in flavor and in texture. Pleasant on their own, these wines exhibit more characteristics when paired with a variety of food - these wines would be great at any special occasion, when their quality and uniqueness will have your guests amazed they are drinking wines from Turkey. Also, if you're interested in new varietals, these three bottles afford three new entries into your Wine Century Club list.

Wines provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.

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1 comment:

  1. Glad you got to try them and liked them as well!
    These wines (and the rest of our wines) are now available in select restaurants and retailers on the West coast (Seattle, Portland, SF) with plans to be in certain East coast markets very soon.
    They are also available on Amazon (tho for CA residents only for now): http://goo.gl/6jh4t6
    Happy holidays.
    -Shane (CoFounder, VinoRai, www.vinorai.com)