Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book: Wines of the World

Wines of the World
Honestly, the initial impression of this book on me was not positive when I saw it for the first time. Its shiny outlook, the expression on the cover sayin "your essential handbook", the fact that the book is written collectively by several writers, these all made me think that this might be a shiny but empty book. I thought that a collectively written book belonged to no one and therefore  none of the writers would assume it as its own book, so none of them would care about it much. I was wrong.
I actually borrowed this book and I was supposed to return it to its owner ages ago. I don't even remember when I borrowed it. I thought that I would just browse through and then give it back, but then I started to read each line carefully and an endless period has started. In fact, such books are not really my style, because I never recall the names and dates mentioned in the book after I finish it, but I still like reading them.
As the name suggests, the book is about the wines produced throughout the world. While doing it, each country's wines are described in separate sections. Subregions within countries have their own subsections too. The characteristics of wines and the producers in different regions are mentioned in those sections.
You may recall that the previous books that I mentioned here classified the wines based on the grape types. This book, however, classifies the wines based on the place, which seemed to me as a bad idea at first. After I started to read, I actually liked it. I makes perfect sense when you think that each grape reveals different characteristics in different regions.

The quality of paper and printing is very good and the details and explanations in the book are actually interesting. The book is printed by Dorling Kindersley and you may buy it from bookstores in Turkey as well, in addition to amazon.com. It literally has been my "essential handbook" for a while as written on the cover. May be it becomes yours too.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Idol Smyrna Merlot 2009

Idol Smyrna Merlot 2009
A few days ago, I felt like drinking red wine and I was very surprized when I saw that we have only one bottle of red wine left. I guess we did not notive that we have been gradually consuming more and more wine :) 
Actually, there was a bottle of Corvus waiting for its turn (we should better drink it before the weather gets to warm in summar) and another bottle of sour cherry wine, but they don't count. The last bottle left was Idol Smyrna Merlot 2009, not a choice, just by chance. 
It is a fruity wine with cherry red color, full body and nice tannin. Miraculously, I sensed a little grassy aroma and also smelled coffee. I'm not sure whether I really felt this or I just concived myself that I felt it, since I have leaned myself on thinking "would I ever manage to write tasting notes mentioning off-the-wall aromas"
I think the wine has a nice, strong taste. We could not finish the bottle that night and put it into the refrigrator. The other night, I wanted to drink wine again and since I did not have the patiance to wait until it gets a little warmer, I tasted it while it was still very cold. It was a disaster. I understand now why producers always put a statement on the bottle indicating the best temparature for serving. Then I waited well behaved until it got warmer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Graffigna Malbec 2008

Graffigna Malbec 2008
This is the first Malbec wine I have ever tasted. I had no idea about Malbec and I just wanted to try one from Argentina.
Graffina Malbec 2008

I was a little dissappointed when I saw that the cork was a synthetic one. Once upon a time, the instructor of a wine tasting seminar told that a synthetic cork should not be considered as a proof for a low quality one. Still, I can't help mysself thinking that the procuder would pay for a natural cork if he believed that the wine is worth. You may see below the difference between a synthetic (left) and a natural (right) cork.

Syntethic vs Organic Cork
Anyway, I poured the wine into the glass and I liked the nice red-purple color. I smelled intense fruits followed by a little black pepper. Then I tasted and I thought I'd like it better in ten minutes. I prepared the dinner meanwhile, and before I started to eat, I took another sip of the wine. Yes, I liked it. It was a little silky, moderately tannic wine with a moderate body and nice texture.

I bought this wine from onlinemahzen at 29 TL (around $18). By the way, onlinemahzen opened their store in Etiler - Istanbul recently. They can't sell online anymore, but they don't throw in the towel. I couldn't visit the store in Etiler, but I feel like I will visit the store in Atasehir soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cycles Gladiator Zinfandel California 2006

Cycles Gladiator Zinfandel California 2006

A few days after we had tried Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir, we tried Cycles Zinfandel as well. I admit that I found the only difference from Pinot Noir was that it had less sweet aromas in it. That's it! I guess I did not like these Cycles Gladiator wines so much.
I think I'm going to try other Pinot Noir and Zinfandel wines soon.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kayra Restaurant Week

I just read that Kayra Restaurant Week has already started in Istanbul. I think this is a very nice organization. If I'm not wrong, the previous one was in April 2010 and I had a nice dinner and wine in a member restaurant around Bagdat Caddesi. This year, the restaurants in Nisantasi are hosts of the organization. 
During Kayra Restaurant Week (10-20 March), you may go to one of the member restaurants and choose among the menus that are designed by experts of Kayra Wine Center. These menus are fixed menus, which consist of 3-4 meals and wine. 
This is actually an organization for people who want to try new wines or new food & wine combinations, chosen by the experts. If you want to choose your own meal & wine combination, this is not your kind of organization
You may see the restaurants offering those menus here and other details of the organization here. I would like to mention that this organization is not only about eating and drinking. You may also see the details of other events such as parties or dinner conversations here.
p.s. :The website of organization is designed only in Turkish.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir California 2008

I had a last chance to order online from onlinemahzen.com just before they had to end online ordering. My order included two bottles of Cycles Gladiator. I did not heard this name before and I could not get much information when I googled it. I still ordered them because of curiosity again.

One of these two bottles was a Pinot Noir, which I tasted (from another producer) and admired a few weeks ago for the first time. Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir California 2008. Remember when I told you about the Bulgarian wine that we drank with our friens and that I also told you that it was not enough for us and we opened another wine too. This one was that other wine. If you could not remember it, you may see it here.

Cycles Gladiator is the name of the wines of a producer in California. Their wines attract attention easily due to their interesting label design. This design, which I understand also gives the wines their names, is based on an artists work dated 1895 from Paris. It has a story starting from bicycle reaching to freedom and happines. You may read it here.

Coming back to our story, I really expected a wine like fairy tale from this bottle. This expectation actually only relied on Pinot Noir. I did not have any idea about the producer as I mentioned. However, I did not really found a wine like a fairy tale. Perhaps we may call this one as short story :)

It is a medium-full bodied, softly tannic wine, which has aroma of strawberry jam. I don't want you mislead you, I don't mean that it is a strawberry wine. It is a California wine made of lovely Pinot Noir grapes with strawberry jam aroma. It has so sweet aromas that one feels like drinking a sweet wine and it leaves strawberry jam like taste on the palate.

Honestly, I believe I can drink better wines at 35 TL (around $22). So, I do not consider buying this wine again for now.

I wish that one day, I will have tasted so many Pinot Noir's that I can write about Pinor Noir of France vs California.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wine from Bulgaria

I like the evenings with friends at home. We had one of those lovely  evenings on last Saturday. We were three ladies and one gorgeaus man :), so we talked about man, women, most recent gossips and drank wine. They brought us a bottle of wine from Bulgaria and a pack of fresh Turkish coffee. Coffee is still waiting in the kitchen but the bottle was empty in one hour after they came to us.

The wine was a gift to one of our friends by another friend of her, who recently visited Bulgaria. She thought that she would not drink it alone, good for her :) So, we drank it all together. Everything on the bottle was written in Bulgarian. So, I don't have any idea about the grapes or about specialties of the wine, if there are any. 

It was a wine of 2005 with settled but not dissappeared fruity aromas. There was no sediments in the bottle at all, but the wine's red color was so light and transparent as it usually is in old wines. It has marked tannins, similar to Bogazkere of Turkey, but they almost dissappeared after a while of resting in the glasss. It was a nice wine at the end. We drank it all and continued with another wine.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kavaklidere Angora 2008 (white)

Kavaklidere Angora 2008

The other evening, I felt like drinking white wine. I had a bottle of Kavaklidere Angora, I didn't know where it came from. It was already in the cooler, so I opened it. Behind the bottle, it was written that the wine is made of Sultaniye grapes, from Denizli. There were also pictures of lobster and fish (I think so) for those who look for food & wine match. I just had a few nuts along with the wine.  

It was a very easy to drink, a little sweet tasting, flowery and fruity wine with a very nice smell. It's not good for those who like burning acidity of some white wines, but it's good for me. Its color is actually more yellow than it appears on the photo. When I realized that I did not even try this white wine, which can be bought from almost everywhere at a very moderate price, I promised myself to give more chance to white wines from now on.