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Have you tried Turkish wine?

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Turkey is one of the biggest producers of grapes in the world, so it’s not surprising they make wine, but why haven’t we heard of it? Turkey is the world’s sixth producer of grapes, but only 2.5% of them are used to make wine. Turkey has an ancient history of winemaking stretching back to 3000-4000 BC! Today wines of Turkey are becoming internationally recognised, picking up awards along the way, and boutique producers are forcing the bigger companies to step up, so we’re seeing a real improvement in the quality of Turkish wines overall.

Turkey is not a nation of wine drinkers, due to the Muslim-majority population and the strict alcohol laws and high taxes that have been put in place by the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Wine producers are not allowed to use ads, sponsorship, product placements, or wine tastings to promote alcohol consumption. Some companies have given up on wine-making and instead make their money through table grapes, grape juice concentrate, grape molasses, and raisins. However, the Turks are a creative bunch and many wine producers are finding ways to encourage people to engage with their wine through vineyard tours, writing about wine in English, and promoting exports.

A vast number of grape varieties are indigenous to Turkey, which gives it a point of difference, and some of these grape varieties make wines that really stand out. Kalecik Karasi (kah-LEE-chick ka-RA-si) is a dark-skinned variety that produces light- to medium-bodied red wines, similar you might say to pinot noir. Bogazkere (bow-AAZ-ker-ay) is famous for its high tannins and literally means “throat burner”, one wine journalist said that when she tried the Bogazkere grapes all the water was sucked out of her mouth and she thought she was going to die! The wines made from this grape are dark in colour, full bodied, with dense tannins and complex flavour profiles, similar to Tannat. Bogazkere is a fantastic wine to serve with kebabs, BBQ, slow roasted lamb, or strong cheese. Okuzgozu (OH-koos-goh-zoo), literally meaning bull’s eye, has high acidity and earthy, red cherry fruit flavours, which Kayra’s winemaker Daniel O’Donnell describes as Turkey’s Barbaresco. The Bogazkere grape will always make wines that taste of the grape, but Okuzgozu is more flexible.

At Wine Discovery, we have a few very special Turkish wines that we can share with you at wine tasting parties, hen dos and corporate events.

Kayra, Kalecik Karasi, Anatolia 2014 £12.00 https://www.wine-discovery.co.uk/the-shop/kayra-kalecik-karasi-2014/.

This is a light bodied wine best served slightly chilled. With an earthy base and lots of fruit this wine is intense in flavour and great to accompany food. The tannins are there but not overpowering, and the unique flavour only available from Turkey and the spicy notes make this wine truly amazing.

Kayra, Beyaz Kalecik Karasi Rose, Anatolia 2015 £12.90 https://www.wine-discovery.co.uk/the-shop/beyaz-kalecik-karasi-rose/.

This is an absolutely outstanding rose, utterly elegant with a stunning combination of red grapefruit, mandarin, rhubarb and celery leaf. It’s a blanc de noir style, and has naturally low malic acid, which gives a slight tingle on the tongue and unripe strawberry flavour. We have never been so excited by a rose wine before, and made by a winemaker known as the Princess it’s certainly fit for royalty. It must be served chilled to deliver that fresh bite, and it won’t last, so drink it now.

To try these Turkish wines and other wines that you may not have tried before, why not organise a wine tasting party? We would be happy to host a private wine tasting or a corporate wine tasting. Wine Discovery also specialises in hen parties, do you need any classy hen do ideas, alternative hen do ideas or unique hen party ideas? Then give us a call on 0800 133 7869 and we will organise a wine tasting party for you!