This post is about pork and wine.
I’m a pork ham smuggler. We all expats are. When I eat pork, I feel like taking illicit drugs and I don’t like that feeling, especially with food. What puts me in dilemma and makes me even more guilty is when I ask for other people to bring pork hams for me. That is how I felt last week when I picked up Jambon iberico and a bottle of Rioja wine from Mr.O‘s parents. Expats help each other in this way – by bringing things from outside Turkey – and without the support, we cannot survive.
Turkish veal ham doesn’t give the same level of satisfaction and umami as Italian prosciutto and Spanish jambon does. If you have jambon and anchovies in your fridge or pantry, you’re qualified as a gourmet. 🙂 But it’s hard to be a gourmet here and I hear expats making plans for a pork run to Europe.
Spanish ham, especially, iberico is the world best. I indulged in it with Spanish Rioja wine. The jambon was marvellous. I should have eaten like the Spanish, eating it with tomato-rubbed bread. I remember seeing people rubbing halved-tomatoes on toasted bread in a Catalan restaurant in Barcelona, which I found very exotic.
For Ederra, crianza 2010, it was a fruit-forward and savoury everyday drink that goes with most food, for which many people like it. It, being labelled as Crianza, is of medium quality with 1 year oak barrelling and 1 year bottle ageing. It has attractive purple colour and super fruity aromas, which make people’s mouth water. When I hear the word, Rioja, the unique smokey flavour and high tannins come to my mind, but this bottle had soft tannins, which was a good match for the tasting platter.
Cured-meat makes everything taste so good, therefore it saves an effort for complicated cooking. Jambon, tomato, cheese and egg are the combination that makes everyone go bonkers. I dashed to the opportunity to make a grilled toast with the above combination and caramelised onions as a fanciful addition. It warmed my heart instantly.
With the rest of jambon, I will make a pasta simply with Parmesan cheese and rocket salad with roasted figs as it’s a fig season here. However, how I really want to eat it is to simply wrap it around a fresh fig and sip a glass of French Pinot Noir or an equivalent.
Speaking of figs, I’d like to mention a Turkish winery whose wines I’ve been enjoying for some time. As most Turkish wines are not worth to try, I’ve been surviving on foreign wines smuggled in on every possible occasions, but the wine I think worth to buy is Suvla. This young winery is producing wines whose characteristics are quite different to typical Turkish wines, which are sweet with no structure and with faulty aromas.
I’ve made several visits since I first discovered the place a year ago and bought their Grenache Noir, which was full-bodied with intense dark fruit flavours such as blackberries, plums, and very distinctively figs, and also clove.
Over a couple of visits recently, I tasted more of their wines and I found their white wines and rosé, which is called “Blush”, quite outstanding, and so is the Rose. Nice on a summer day!
For the reds, I didn’t get to taste the wines that had won many gold medals in overseas competitions because they weren’t on the tasting menu. Unsure of their taste, I only bought the ones I tasted and liked for a table wine – Blush and Kirte , which is a new line. I also took Karasakiz just because of the Decanter sticker on the bottle but it wasn’t good so I made Sangria with it.
Kirte, or Alcitepe, is the southern part of Galllipoli Peninsula, where WW1 was fought and many Anzac soldiers are resting in the cemeteries, and their vineyards are taken care of under the GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) and the grapes are hand-picked at dawn. I know there are Turkish wines better than Suvla but the discovery of Suvla gave a breath of fresh air to my grim impression on Turkish wine, for which reason I don’t hesitate to buy their wines.
The wines are honestly priced, and even ones under €10 have decent quality unlike some other old and better-known wineries, their prices have gone up since I wrote this review.
On another occasion, we stopped by again and bought a case of Kirte and a couple of Sulva Sur 2010, which was really good, full-bodied with lots of fruit and spice in harmony. I wish I could drink it everyday but the price is a bit too steep for an everyday pleasure.
Most readers would have no idea what I’m talking about so I’d cut it short. But before I go, I will give you a link to an article about Suvla on Vinography. If you ever travel to Turkey, you might like to check out their shop and try some wines and also their olive products and jams, etc.