It’s been the strangest May since I arrived in Turkey in terms of weather. It’s supposed to be warm and sunny enough to pick herbs in the garden and sit outside for a long brunch or an evening barbeque.
Instead, it’s been like this over a week, stealing the cheerful mood. Snails are plenty here. The French will love seeing these organic escagort. Mr.O deliberately steps on them while walking to tease me with the awful sound of snails getting crushed in shells. 😦 I seem to feel the pricking sensation running down my spine whenever he does that. Why are men like mischievous kids?
The things that get me out of the blues on rainy days are baking or sipping wine with cheese. So I’m going to talk about wine for a change. It’s been a while since I last mentioned wines here. I’ve simply run out of wines to talk about or even to drink. Luckily, thanks to the wine I discovered all by chance, I’ve got by without worrying about my daily dose of the red drop for the last couple of months. How I discovered this rare wine is quite a funny story. I, by now, know all Turkish wine labels and have made my favourite list, but this one caught my attention when I was at Carrefour, stocking up some wines.
Cankara (pronounced /jankara/)…. It’s Carbernet Sauvignon; its winery is in Izmir, where I believe some of the best Turkish wines come from; it’s 2006, 7 years old; it’s in my price range. One Turkish guy in a nice suit, who was talking to me about Turkish wines while looking, said he’d never heard of the winery; nor did I. He said he wouldn’t trust wines from unknown wineries; but I DO!
I grabbed a bottle in case it would turn out to be bad as it’s rare to find Turkish wines that are as old as 2006. I drank it that night and alas, it was good, not amazing but very high quality for what I paid. The pale garnet and brown hue with a sign of aging pleased my eyes. The tannins were still supple with a pleasant finish, though it needed to breathe a bit as it smells a bit nutty when you first open.
Mr.O and I rushed to drive back to the supermarket to buy the remaining stock. As they were on a special clearance shelf, I wanted to buy them all before others do. There were about two cases and we bought 6 bottles because there were only a few 2006s and the rest were 2005. I tried 2005 later that week and found it not as good as 2006, past its time.
One evening some friends came and drank two of my precious wines as they also liked them, and we all drove back to the same supermarket to buy the rest of the bottles. Going there, we made a silly bet that if the number of the wines were under 4, we’d buy the friend a bottle and vice versa.
We were surprised that no one had bought them except us during the two weeks’ period. Well, good for me! You couldn’t get this wine in other places except the main chain in the city centre. I was so curious about the winery and searched on the net for more info just to find that the winery has closed down. What a pity! I like finding good value wines.
When it comes to wine, I’m greedy so I don’t want to share where you can find these wines now; because they’ve been moved to another place but only under 4 bottles are left. I have to thank this wine for having made me last for over two months.
Another wine that is pleasant to drink is Pasaeli, which was one of the first wines I discovered and liked when I first came to Turkey. When I got to know more of the story behind this winery, I liked it more. Near the famous shopping street, Istiklal in Taksim, there is a wine bar, Solera, and it’s one of my favourite hangout place.
Here you can find all Turkish wines as well as exported wines and can taste by glass with good snacks. It has a nice inviting atmosphere and even cats are welcome there, you see?
I introduced this place to a honeymoon couple, who travelled to Istanbul for their special occasion and picked wine for them. Pasaseli 2009 Karalahna, Merlot is a good wine for a mellow and romantic occasion with a light meal or snacks. It’s quite light, floral, fruity with balanced acidity and soft yet firm tannins, supported by Merlot. Karalahna is one of the major Greek varieties planted along the Aegean Sea, especially, on the famous Bozcaada island.
What you see in the photo is mostly likely what this wine will be appreciated with. Turkey(hindi) ham and some apples, cheddar or hard cheese, olives and crusty sourdough bread.
When it comes to Turkish wines, the most important factor is the value. If you don’t suppress yourself or don’t know about the Turkish wine industry, you’ll end up in a wine debt and go bankrupt because the more you pay the better the wine is, and the gap between the good and the bad wines is as wide as the North and South Korea. When I get wines that are not jammy but spicy and oaky, I go, “Hooray!” The labels you will be most likely to hear about Turkish wines are Corvus, Doluca, Kayra, etc, which my poor pocket says are overpriced.
But from my humble experiences, I can confidently recommend Pasaeli to any foreigners who want to taste a good bottle of Turkish wine. Unfortunately, now you can’t access winery websites in Turkey, grrr, so I’ll give you this article on Vinography about Pasaeli, though I might have already given you that in the past post. Oh, well, that’s what wine does to you. *forget* Ah, the bottle you can peek through the glass is another wine, which I’ll write about some time.
What you drink is important but what you drink with is as important. If you want any advice on what Turkish wines to drink, especially good value wines, I’d be happy to help you. 🙂