So since I just crossed the 200 follower threshold, I thought I'd celebrate today with a little bit about Turkish wine.... I'm not a connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but I do enjoy the occasional glass, especially from a boutique vineyard.
(Vineyards are lovely setting for any sort of mischief...no? Just wait till you see the ones in Cappadocia! Early Chirstians were making wine in the underground cities there centuries ago.)
A little more history:
With the rise of the Islamic Ottoman Empire, winemaking in Turkey experienced a significant decline. Then in 1925, Ataturk (the first Turkish President) opened a state run vineyard and over the years, it's become a more viable business for entrepreneurs. Some successful Turkish wineries include Sarafin from the region of Thrace and Kavaklidere from Cappadocia. Stateside, Total Wine stocks Kavaklidere for between $12-14 a bottle online.
Unique red varietals include:
Öküzgözü (ox eye): This unique ageable dry red wine – Öküzgözü ages well up to 10 years – has a bright red color, reveals intense fruity flavors of raspberry and cherry, and is rich with a well-balanced body with light tannins. The alcohol ratio of wine is between 12 - 13%. Öküzgözü is best served at 16-18 degrees C (61–64 degrees F) and is a perfect match with different dishes served with a cheese sauce, casseroles, red meat, grills, cheese and poultry. (wikipedia)
Boğazkere: The characteristics of this wine is strong body, very enjoyable long finishing, dark red color with dark blue hue, very rich and strong aromas of dried red fruits, spices. Good for aging up to 10 years. Recommended with red meat kebabs, turkey, salmon and cheese. Especially eastern Anatolian cheddar or Gruyere cheese. (again, wikipedia)
Winemakers grow standards as well, blending Anatolian varieties with European varieties like Shiraz, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet. A popular white is Narince, which is Chardonnay-like, supposedly with notes of fruit and white flowers. It's often mixed with Semillon grapes.
Here's a CNN report about the Revival in Turkish Wine:
I'll toast to that! Şerefe! (Sheh-re-fe)