Saturday, January 29, 2011

Diren Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Diren Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
While I am preparing this post at my desk at home, I am still supping this wine, the subject of the post. Usually I do not do this. I rather take notes on the wine I'm tasting on some notebook (or sometimes only in my mind) and then wait for an appropriate moment to write a post about that wine. Sometimes, I feel like things may be skipped/forgotten in the time that passes between tasting and writing. Let's see how it works in this way. In fact, you will probably read this post a few days later because I'll wait a few days before I publish my post in case anything else comes to my mind that I'd like to add to the post.

Today's wine is Diren Collection Cabernet Sauvignon. As you may recall from the previous wines of this collection, there are two more grapes that are named in small letters on the bottle: Shiraz and Boğazkere.

Without going into the details about the effect of these two grapes, I'd like to say that I think this is the most delicious Cabernet Sauvignon that I ever tasted. All right, how many varietal Cabernet Sauvignon's did I ever taste? Well, there was Turasan's... Any more? I browse through my notes and I see that there was also Frontera. Maybe I tasted a few in tasting courses or on similar occasions. So, this proves that I am computing an inductive conclusion based on my very limited experience and I express an exaggerated appreciation. I may comfortably argue that there is no impact of the alcohol in my applause as the half of my glass is still full.

First of all, the color of the wine is a very beautiful, dark red. I can describe the aroma that I'm sensing as strong and fruity. I am currently pushing myself to sense and describe more, but I can tell you there is not much hope. Maybe it is because I could not get through the flue as I thougt I did a few days ago.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Diren Collection Boğazkere 2007

Diren Collection Boğazkere 2007

I continue with Diren wines. This time I let my husband to choose because it was his birthday. Before I finished listing what choises we have at home, he declared his choise saying "I dring Boğazkere!". Boğazkere can be a good match with red meat and also with spicy meat. Can it be a concidence that my husband, who loves red meat and Turkish kebap very much) likes to drink Boğazkere varietal?

We enjoyed this delicious wine, which is made from Cabernet Sauvignon with a little touch of Kalecik Karası, drinking slowly and tasting the light bitterness of the lovely tannings. It was softer than I expected (which is good), but it did not stay long on the palate (we did not care much). There was no red meat accompanying the wine though, but the wine was fine and we were in a good mood, so, we enjoyed what we had.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wine in Pavyon*

A few days after I talked about how a good wine serving should be (or should not be), I encountered once more with a wine glass that was filled up to the top. Do they try to train me or what?

Once more, I drank my wine silently, smelling almost no flavor at all. Since the place was in the form of pavyon (yes, I went to pavyon! Actually, I was brought to, but I really had fun. I guess the range of ambiances to which one can accomodate widens as one gets older.) my expectation was to pretend as if I am drinking the cheap wine served there. Once I had the first sip, it appeared to me that the situation is much better than I had expected. After a while, the wine bottle was left on our table and we had the chance to see what we were drinking.

Leona Merlot-Kalecik Karası 2008
We were drinking Kayra Leona Merlot - Kalecik Karası, which is moderately priced blend of Kalecik Karası, one of the most popular local grape varieties, and Merlot, a universally known and popular grape variety. If I can not stick my nose down in the glass, if I can not concentrate in anything but the loud live music, then this would be a good choice. It is easy to drink, has soft tannin and fruity taste, was enough to let us enjoy that night.

*Pavyon is the name we use in Turkey for a specific kind of night club. It is an old, traditional kind of night club, which is conceived as low quality/cheap, since it serves cheap drinks and the live music is mostly performed by unpopular local musicians. The one mentioned in this post is a modern and fancy version which aims (as far as I understand) to regenerate the spirit of payvon in a more decent and high quality environment.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Aroma of Wine

During a seminar that I attended recently Saba Açıkgöz said something, probably without noticing how important it was for me to know, that practically lead to a flash of lightening in the sky for me. My mind achieved a clarity escaping the darkness within which it had been struggling for a while.

Let's confess that you have been wondering how come there are different aromas such as the aroma of carnation, orange, minerals, spices etc. in a wine which is made of grapes only. I have been definitely wondering and could not come close to an answer. I can explain the conclusion that I computed from the words of Saba Açıkgöz as follows: Certain mollecules come into being in the process of fermentation and maturation of the wine. The structure of these mollecules can be so close to other mollecules that are already existing in the nature, that we identify the smell of these new arising mollecules with the smells of those already existing mollecules. In this way, it becomes possible to sense the aroma of something, that has never been close to the wine, from the wine itself. This is what I learned at that day. It makes sense to me, why could not I discover this before?

That short expression that I heard led me to deeper research (googling) and as a result of extensive reserch that I made, I managed to reach more detailed information which support that expression. Those detailed information suggest as follows: Human tongue has a limited capacity to taste and we can only taste certain basic tastes such as bitterness, saltiness, sweetness etc through our tongue. However, if this was all that we could sense from wine, I probably would not create this blog.

In addition to the tastes, there are also smells that we sense when we drink wine. These can be described as aroma in general. Some attentive and knowledgeable persons can distinguish what they smell as aroma or bouquet. In this case, the term "aroma" refers to the smells of rather younger wines that are unique to the grape variety, whereas the term "bouquet" refers to the smells that can rather be sensed in old wines and that arise from the chemical reactions that emerge during fermentation, or emerge as the wine ages or as the wine rests in oak barrels. These could be named as secondary and tertiary aromas.

The volatile and non-volatile compounds that exist in the wine contribute to the formation of the aromas of the wine. During the fermentation process, the smell of the wine changes quickly as chemical reactions create different compounds all the time. As the wine ages and matures, the creation of those compouns slows down and consequently less frequent changes occur in the smell of the wine.

As the researches in this area continue, the possibility of manipulating the wine through the illegal use of additives revolves in the minds. Is it possible that the wine producer is sniggering while we think that we discover the unique and surprising aromas of the wines that we taste?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How Wine Serving Shouldn't Be

A few days ago, I had a dinner with someone that I like very much in a restaurant, which she liked very much and which I was curious about. I was being too optimistic when I thought I could have a meal and a glass of wine there considering that I rarely have dinner after 8pm, especially when I am not hungry. However, I was tasting different combinations of wine & cheese only half an hour ago at Wine & Cheese seminar, even after everyone else had given up trying the wine & cheese combinations and immersed in in conversation. I was really very confortable there. So, I thought there should be something wrong here and I decided to blame the serving of wine in the restaurant.

We both ordered some kind of macaroni and a glass of Frontera Merlot, which was one of the two wines that one can order in glass. While we were waiting with concerns arising from the fact that we ordered wine in glass instead of ordering a bottle, something very surprising form me happened. That nice waiter brought us our wines in glasses that are a little bigger than water glass and that are filled up.  When I say filled up, I mean literrally a full glass of wine. I believe even someone who never drinks wine may have noticed that wine is not served in a fully filled glass. The point in serving the wine in glassess filled up to the half (or even less) is to enable you to smell the wine and to sence the aromas in it. I understood this better when I could not enjoy the wine and prefered water beside my meal. I already had noticed that and had mentioned here that I drink wine with my nose, not with my mouth. This proved my theory to myself.

In short, you do not serve wine in a glass that is filled up to the top. If you do, someone like me can criticise you badly and in fact, that one may be not as polite as me and spread your name everywhere. Since I could not think of warning the waiter in that evening (now I notice I also did not think of taking pictures to show you), I do not want to name the restaurant here. I think complaints about a restaurant should be conveyed to that restaurant first. I may have behaived too nice since the person invited my to there liked the restaurant very much :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wine and Cheese

I really wanted to attend the 4 weeks - wine tasting seminar of Anatolian Vineyards, which promised to enjoy wine better through the improvement of senses and improvement of the ability to perceive. Unfortunately, they could not run the seminar due to insufficient demand. I was so eager to attend a seminar about wine that I accepted their suggestion to attend another seminar, Cheese and Wine, although I never thought before that it might be interesting for me.

Perran Arıbal, who was personally involved in each step of organization including serving of wines, surprised me by recognizing my face from the tasting organization in Kanyon. If you had seen the crowd in Kanyon that they, you would better understand why I was so surprised. It is nice to be remembered :) I will try harder to remember the faces of people I meet.

We had a nice conversation about wine & cheese, under the direction of Saba Açıkgöz. It was obvious that he liked talking about the subject. My impression was that he likes to enjoy anything he tastes. Following his instructions, we tasted six different cheeses matching them with three white and three red wines and tried to figure out which of them go better with each other and why some of them do not make a good pair.

I have seen that a fatty cheese goes much better with a white wine with high acidity than any other alternatives. A fatty goatcheese (which I would not normally prefer) and a Sauvignon Blanc (which I would normally keep away from me due to its high acidity) - Umurbey Sauvignon Blanc 2007 was being tasted - created a delicious taste when I tasted them together. It is possible to generalize and argue that fatty meals go better with highly acidic wines.

I usually eat cheese with bread for breakfast like every other Turkish people. I rarely order a cheese plate with my wine, but then I taste almost each cheese on the plate disregarding their harmony with my wine, because I like cheese of any kind. So therefore, I do not think that this seminar would change my life practically, but I'm sure that there will be a change in my attention and in my expectations whenever I taste something. It was a great, surprising experience to witness how a harmonic couple can create a great taste (1+1=3). Awareness is everything!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How big is yours? - Greenpeace

How big is yours? - Greenpeace:

"There will be no more fishes in the world in 2050. If you think that the sea is a source of infinite abundance, you are wrong. %90 of the big fishes are already landed. %60 of all fishes are gone. The rest will dissappear in 40 years. On that they, the life in sea will also end."

This is a campaign of Greenpeace organized to draw attention to improper fishing in Turkey. I publish this here because I personally want to draw attention to the subject. I grow up eating fishes that we catched together with my cousins and my grandpa and it was an amazing experience for me as a child to see that nature creates its own cycle. It is sad to think that one day it will be impossible due to our own misbehaviour.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who do the prohibitions protect?

This morning, an article about the new regulation issued by Tobacca and Alcohol Market Regulation Institution (TAPDK) in Turkey. The ragulation basically introduces very rigid limitations about the use and the promotion of alcoholic beverages.

Taking the extent of the limitations into consideration, I find it too naive to believe that the reasoning behind these limitations is about protecting people's health or protecting the young people. Getting people under control instead of making them conscious about the threaths is one of the favorite methods of coercive mentality.

I can not see any justifiable reason for these development, but I may not be objective since my personal freedom will be constrained by them. Do you think that these regulations possibly be justifiable and appropriate? Do you think  that it is really necessary to protect some people and can these regulations serve this purpose?

Diren Collection Okuzgozu 2007

Diren Öküzgözü 2007

You may recall that I was very delighted with the flavor/price performance of Diren Collection Merlot. A few days ago, I ordered five bottles of other wines from the same collection through the website of Diren. I gave the first rank for tasting to Collection Okuzgozu. I will be writing about the others in the following days. I brought Collection Kalecik Karasi to a friend of mine who invited us for the new year's eve, but we did not open the bottle that night. So, I will not be abble to comment on it only. That friend of mine is a follower of my blog (Turkish one), so I hope that he will provide me with his comments once he tastes it :)

Diren Collection Okuzgozu is made of the grapes produced in Elazığ ve Denizli. It has intense fruity aromas, soft tannin and high acidity. Although the name highlights only one grape, Okuzgozu, some Cabernet sauvignon was also blended with it. I believe this is a very nice, delicious wine considering its very favourable price at sarapshop (15,90 TL). It was not as impressive as Diren Collection Merlot, but I would still serve it to my friends without hesitation. In fact, I already did.

I understand that the wines of Collection series are not aged in oak barrels, but I smell oaki why? I would be very happy if someone can enlighten me. I plan to attend a tasting seminar soon. I hope I'll learn there how to evaluate the tastes and smells that I perceive.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wine from Chile: Frontera

Frontera Merlot

 I had the chance of tasting two different Chilean wine from the same producer within a week. The first one was Frontera Merlot and the second one was Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon. I can't tell you the year of harvest or production since I forgot to take notes. If these were Turkish producers' wines, the year of harvest would be written in the front side of the bottle, but this is not the case as you may see on the photos.

Frontera Cabarnet Sauvignon
I chose Frontera Merlot from the wine menu when we had a dinner out. It did not dissappoint us. We were so badly starving that anything to eat or drink could delight us. The wine had fruity, sweet aromas which made it nice and easy to drink.

On the other hand, Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon was a choice by a friend of mine on another day. Since I tasted a very soft wine just before it, I expected that this one would be a little to strong for me. I did not come out so. It was almost as round as Merlot I guess. I am guessing because I did not taste it very carefully.

Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon

I drank both wines gladly, but let me say that I don't think it's necessary to import wine from Chile to Turkey in order to have a wine with this quality. I am certainly glad that I have the chance to taste different wines from different regions. I may continue to taste and enjoy Chilean wines in the future. However, I just don't want to make an impression letting you think that these two wines are better than Turkish wines in the same price range.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Turasan Okuzgozu 2005

Turasan Okuzgozu2005

We were at our friends' home on new year's eve. I picked up two bottles of easy drinking wines with soft tannins. We could only taste one of them, Turasan Okuzgozu 2005. The other one was a Kalecik Karası varietal but I can not tell you about it since I did not have the chance to taste it.

Turasan Okuzgozu 2005
You may be familier with Okuzgozu & Bogazkere blends from Turkey. It is very popular and unique to Turkey. I can tell you that Okuzgozu itself can offer a very nice wine, too.

There is more acidity in this wine of Okuzgozu, compared to the versions blended with Bogazkere. In fact, acidity became more sensible to me as it rested in the glass. It still offers a nice drink with red fruity aromas along with a little spicy ones. It is a medium-full bodied, fresh, nice wine. Besides, I have to say I liked the design of the sticker on the bottle very much.

I bought this wine from at 20 TL. This was my first online wine shopping and it can be the last one, because it is possible that the new draft bill about online sale of alcoholic beverages ends this kind of sale if it is ratified.

The aim of the bill supposed to be protecting youth under 18 years old. As if there is any control over the sales in grocery stores to prevent the young people under 18 from buying alcohol! Considering that on line shopping requires a credit card and online banking, I do not believe that there might be a considerable number of under 18 people that buy alcohol online. Besides, it is already forbitten to sell to under 18 people alcoholic beverages. So, I think the aim should be solve the problem (if there is any) by implementing this rule properly, not by eliminating any kinds of sale altogether.

I wish a new year with more sensible regulations.