Monday, November 29, 2010

Wine Tasting @ Kanyon

Kanyon - Kerem Görsev is playing
I had the chance to attend the wine tasting days in Kanyon Shopping Mall in the last day of the organization. On the same day, I also met two different groups of my friends and I even managed to shop for a few small things and I did all of this in Kanyon. So, I'm very proud of my organizational capability :) I had a very lovely day. I also feel like a did some charity since I dragged some of my friends to the wine tasting organization.

When I arrived Kanyon around 11:30 - 12:00, Kerem Gorsev was rehearsing and the warm atmosphere backed by the music was a nice warm up for me. I like even the rehearsal of piano music. The wines started to appear on the stands around 13:00, but we had to wait until 15:00 for tasting, until the end of the concert. Then it was almost a hurray! There was a serious crowd willing to taste wines which I certainly did not expect to see.

I went to Doluca's place first with the intention to taste Karma Chardonney Narince, their new white wine, and to introduce it to my firends, but they only had Doluca Antik, one of their cheapest and oldest wine. I realize now that I did not ask them why they did so. Then I leaned towards Pamukkale but they said they runned out of Anfora Shiraz Reserve, which is one of their best as far as I heard. In fact, they had one on the stand, but I gues it was part of the decoration so they did not open that one.

Umurbey Wines
I tasted so many wines from Diren, Idol, Umurbey, Urla, Likya, Sevilen, Vinkara, Yucel, Silent Valley, and Buyulubag that I can't really say how many. I spent most of my time with Idol, Sevilen, Umurbey and Buyulubag. This may be due to their attention and patience to my questions rather then their wines :) A lot of times I was offered with rose wines first, I guess their favorites are rose in these days. I admit that I tasted Idol's Smyrna Shiraz-Grenache at my own will, simply because I wondered how Granache was like. Then I tasted Smyrna Shiraz and liked them both.

Umurbey Rezerv 2007, Urla Nero D`Avola – Urla Karası, Buyulubag Adakarasi, Buyulubag Shah, Sevilen Centum Syrah, Sevilen Majestik, Sevilen "900" Petit Verdot are other wines that left a positive impression on my mind. I may have drunk Sevilen wines for the first time and I want to make it up to myself because they have really nice wines. After I anchored on their stand and tried 3-4 wines consecutively, I fortunately remembered that alcohol does not stand still in the body as it does in the bottle and I took a break. I certainly do not blame myself for having tried too much wine in a short time. I think the organizators are to blame since they did not put any bins for spitting after tasting.

Perran Aribal from Anatolian Vineyards was offering solution tasting to demonstrate the differences between the impacts of French oak, American oak and no oak (I hope I'm explaining it correctly). This was the most interesting part of the organization for me.

Sevilen and their indefinite choices

Actually, it is not my stlyle to taste wines in such a crowded place. I have difficulties in concentrating and after a few glasses of wine (even though they poured very little since the aim was tasting), it gets more difficult to notice the differences between the wines. Therefore, I preferred to enjoy what I was having once I figured out that I could not focus on the details anymore :) That's way I can't offer you detailed tasting notes. I already mentioned the wines that I rememeber, which I also liked.

I like Urla since they produce wines from Urla Karasi, Silent Valley since their grapes are produced in Bodrum and since their wines are new (they don't have their own production facilities yet, they are now producing with guidance of Corvus), Buyulubag since their grapes are produced in Avsa Island and since they use Adakarasi which is an authentic grape. There were of course reasons for which I liked the others, but I already forgot most of them. I better try them again one by one, soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kanyon Wine Tasting Days

There is a wine tasting organization in Kanyon, İstanbul between 25-28 November. You may see the details here. Don't get trapped by the name "wine tasting". There will be more than just wine tasting, such as concerts, seminars etc. You may participate in those seminars, walk around in Kanyon, and taste a little wine and colour your day if you wish. I am excited hoping to taste a few wines for the first time in the same day. I hope I'll be there.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Most of the wines that I mentioned here by now were made of a certain grape, namely Shiraz. This is not a coincidence. I chose this consciously, because I wanted to choose a grape for the period in which I would start raining my palate and I ended up with Shiraz. Now, I want to tell you a little more about Shiraz, which is a very popular grape in Turkey and which is used either in blends or by itself.

In the time when I was so illeterate that I could not understand anything from wine menus, my cousin told me choosing Shiraz would make it easier for me since it was very likely that I would like wines of Shiraz. I did not know why she said so, but I followed the word Shiraz in the menus and I can tell you that she was right.

The first thing I should tell you is that Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape. The same grape is called as Shiraz In Australia and called as Syrah in almost any other place in the world. It is also called mostly Shiraz in Turkey as far as I have observed.

Fortunately, Turkey is one of the many places where Shiraz is produced, but the best quality Shiraz are planted in France and Australia. The wines of Shiraz usually have a dark color and fruity aromas, and they have a good potential to age, but they can also be drunk rather young. I think, people who are not familiar with wines can like Shiraz due to those fruity aromas and also due the fact that its tannins are not as strong as they are in Bogazkere. As a hint for beginners, I can also tell that the wines made of Shiraz usually make a good pair with meals of red meat.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kayra - Terra

Kayra has a brand (serial) called Terra. I tasted and mentioned some wines of this brand before. Now, I'd like to tell you what we should understand when a wine is branded under Terra.

All Kayra wines named as Tarra are produced based on the "terroir" principle, which basically means that the wine is produced where the underlying grape is grown. The term terroir is a French term, which basically means "place, earth, homeland" etc. The term is used in wine business to indicate the characteristics of the grapes caused and shaped by the geographical features of the area where the grape was grown. Terra's wines are produced in production facilities located in the areas where the grapes used in those wines are grown. For instance, Terra Bogazkere is made of Bogazkere grapes, which is grown in Diyarbakır ( in South-Eastern Anatolia), and is produced in a production facility located in Elazığ (Eastern Anatolia).

There is a group of wines named under Terra Anataolia: Shiraz, Bogazkere, Okuzgozu-Bogazkere, Okuzgozu, Kalecik Karasi, Kalecik Karasi Roze and Sauvignon Blanc-Sultaniye. These are all made of grapes grown in Turkey. As far as I understand, Terra Shiraz and Terra Kalecik Karasi, are produced in different places than where the grapes were grosn. So, they are exceptions I guess.

There are other also wines of Terra called Terra de France, Terra Italia and Terra California. Those are produced in the places mentioned in their names and imported to Turkey by Mey Icki.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Terra de France - Pinot Noir 2008

Terra de France Pinot Noir 2008
Pinot Noir is a sensitive, demanding grape variety and it is not produced in Turkey (at least as far as I know). It is produced in some European countries, especially in France, in South Africa and in America. I hereby ask the Turkish producers: Why don't you have it in Turkey? When I was a little kid, Turkey imported banana and kiwi, but they are very cheap now, so I guess they are locally produced in Turkey. So, you can do it if you want :)

As you may guess, I recently tasted a wine made of Pinot Noir, for the first time in my life. I don't want to be unfair to Shiraz, Bogazkere or Chardonnay, but this was something. I felt like I tasted tagliatelle for the first time after eating only penne for years! In short, I thought something like "where was my mind" or "where was Pinot Noir before?".

I am very good at discovering such beauties earlier than other people. The first make-up tool (poudre or similar) I ever bought might be a Chanel and then I would never like anything from another brand. When I think wisely, I can say that I was lucky that I did not start wine drinking with Pinot Noir.

Terra de France Pinot Noir is a wine made of the grapes harvested in Languedoc, France. It is bottled there too and brought to us in Turkey by Kayra. It has strong red fruity aromas, soft tannin and isn't long lasting on the palate. This discription does not really reveal how delicious it was. I can say everyone on the table admired it, not only me. I think you should try it by yourself.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Abundance vs quality

Wine producer may grow their own grapes as well as they may prefer to buy grapes from other vineyards. They buy grapes at a price determined based on the unit amount of grapes. So, the price is proportionate to the amount of the grape to be bought.

On the other hand, high yield is not a positive property of a vineyard from the perspective of wine maker, since the quality of grape improves as much as the yield is limited. So, the grape producers face a unplasant dilemma. They are paid higher if the amount is higher, but the quality diminishes as the amount gets higher.

I don't have any knowledge about vinification. So, I don't really know how exactly the limitation of yield affects the quality, but I know that the winemakers who have their own vineyards care about this limitation very much. Therefore, I understand it should be very important for them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I'd like to tell you something that I noticed when I was reading about winemaking, but when I set down on my computer, I noticed that before going in those details about winemaking, I need to give some basic information about it first. Therefore, I will give you very basic information about wine production today. I won't even use wine terminology, it will be so basic.

Wine can be made of several kinds of fruits, but I will generally be writing about wines made of grapes. Wines can be made of either a single kind of grape or a mixture of several kinds of grapes. The first is called varietal, the latter is cold usually as blend.

There are three main wine categories based on the color: White, Red or Rose. Contrary to expectations, white grapes can be used for making of red wines, and vice versa. The main reason for this is that the color of the wine is caused mostly from the skin of the grape. When you take away the skin of the red grapes during the initial stages of production, you can produce white wine using red grapes. For this reason, it is not possible to produce red wines from only white grapes. You have to use red grapes at a certain rate to make use of the color in the skin of the red grape.

When the grapes are collected for winemaking, the ill or rotten ones are separated, and the rest is pressed to make must. At this state, the skins can be taken away and there is only juice left, if the intention is to make white wine. For the red wine making, skins are left there and allowed to give their taste, smell and color to the must. When roze wine is made, the skins are left for a wile, but removed after a while. The must is left in either steel or oak tanks for fermentation. I time, the sugar in the must/juice is converted to alcohol. Then, the wine can be transferred to oak barrels for resting. This depends on the characteristics of the grape and of the wine. After this stage, the wine is ready for bottling.

This is a simple and short summaru of winemaking. I wanted to write this because usually I got tired of reading winemaking stages described in detail using scientific terms. I will be writing about the thing that I mentioned at the beginning of this post in another post.