Melen Papazkarasi Reserve (2006)

Melen Papazkarası Reserve (2006)

Papazkarasi is a local grape of Turkey which can be used as a table grape (to eat) or in wine making. It is still not very widely used in Turkish wines. I remember that I had once tasted Kutman’s Papazkarasi.

Melen has described Papazkarasi as “forgotten prince of Thrace” and made a wine labeled as “reserve”. They also wrote that the wine is “oak treated”, from which I understand that the wine has been kept in oak barrales or something similar hapened during production process. For me, only the fact that they made a wine from this beautiful local grape was sufficient to glorify. Therefore, I didn’t care much about what oak treatment meant.

I saw Papazkarası Reserve’s 2006 vintage lying on the floor in front of Mania Gurme in Istinye Park (a shopping mall in Istanbul). I thought they wanted to sell all of them immediately since they believed the wine cannot age any longer. I grabbed a bottle at around $ 20.

I think 2006 vintage of this wine should be drank at latest in 2010! Altough I smelled a nice strawberry jam aroma on the nose, I couldn’t feel any tannins, body or acidity when I tasted it. It felt as if the wine had fled away from the bottle and had left a light color and light taste behind. Considering that we cannot know in which conditions the bottle was kept since 2006, it is possible that there are bottles of the same wine in much metter conditions. This one was only our fate, not necessarily yours.

How old should your wine be?

How do you know the best time to open a wine bottle? If you have read my previous post about this subject, you would remember that many of the wines in the market are produced to be consumed when they are rather young. However, this is not true for all wines of course.

We can have a brain storming here togehter, but don’t ask me to to tell my experiences on this subject, because I do not have any. I have never kept a wine at my home for more than a few months. Since I don’t have a wine cooler refrigerator at home, I don’t think that I can preserve wines in proper conditions for years. You may read about the proper conditions here.

Let’s start with the information that is disclosed by the producer. You may see a year in the front side of the bottle. This is the year of the grape’s harvest. It can also be mentioned  how long the wine has been kept in oak barrels or steal tanks or when it was bottled. These information may not be sufficient to judge when to drink the wine as there is not any general rule telling us how long to wait after bottling or production.

If I’d like to buy a wine that is young, but I doubt it would be wise to open it immediately; or, if I’d like to buy a wine that has been produced years ago, I look carefully on the bottle to see something like “this wine can be consumed best by …” If we have not passed the year …. yet, and if I am confident that the wine has been maintained in proper conditions, I buy the wine. Actually, I have never seen someone selling a wine that should have been  drunk years ago. I guess we find such wines only in forgotten spots of our own houses.

Sometimes, there are no information on the bottle at all. Previously, I would evaluate this as a sign for drinking immediately, but I saw that this turned wrong recently for more than once. Based on my limited experience, I can tell you that French wines’ bottles do not provide you with much information on the wine. They do not even need to mention the grapes from which the wine is made of, let alone the best year to drink it or the best food to match with. These wines can be produced with a potential to age for years.

In such hopeless situations, I try to ask someone in the shop to give information. As a last resort, I google it! I write the name of the wine and read the information which appears reliable to me. If still no usefull information, I try to guess 🙂 I have to admit that I usually can not wait so long to open a wine bottle since I am curious about it.

I can summarize the basis of my guesses as follows: Producers generally use fancy expressions to indicate that the wine has a certain quality, so it is woth to age it. Those expressions include “premium”, “special collection”, “reserve” etc. If you find out that you have such sort of wine at home that is a few years old already, do not panic! It is very likely that it is still in good conditions.

Besides, it is known that a wine with relatively higher acidity and stronger tannins can be aged for more years compared to others. So, you may consider that a Cabarnet Sauvignon has more potential to age than a Merlot, and a Merlot has more potential than Chardonnay in that sense. However, you should not overlook the fact that the quality of the grape and the stages of the production process may affect the potential of a wine for aging. You see that this last sentence proves that all my brainsrorming conversation here is useless 🙂

If you believe you learned something from this post, I suggest you better buy wines to drink young and enjoy them. Let’s drink younger wines. There is a lot to learn until we can age our wines.

Wine Tasting in 5 Steps

I attended a wine tasting seminar recently. It was the best wine experiance I had recently. It was an introduction to wine tasting, which anyone who likes to drink wine can enjoy.

I guess there are many institutions that organize seminars like this. I just chosed this one only for practical reasons (its date was suitable for me). It was Kayra Wine Center’s Wine Tasting Seminar in 5 Steps. I had to leave the office a little earlier than normally, but it was worth it.

I have to admint the the content of the seminar was exceeding my expectations. As it was my first time in such a seminar, I was expecting answers to my simple questions like “what should I look for in the glass?”, ” could I ever smell those aromas people keep telling about like flawor or sweaty horse!” or ” what is a wine with full body?”. I found more than my answers in this seminar, it was like receiving a desert with icecream while expecting only a single desert 🙂

In summary, I could say that I learned how every single part of a grape contributes to the wine, what are the differences between production and consumption of different kinds of wines, what I should look for when I’m tasting wine and even which food is compatible with the wines that we tasted there.

It was important to me to learn that high acidity bothers me a little and that lots of tannins do not bother me at all. I even like tannins. While I could only smell  a little fruity and oaky aromas from a wine, other people managed to smell blackpepper, plum, strawberry, mineral etc. This made me a little sad, because I thought that I had a strong nose. I always notice people from their parfumes and I always notice if someone around has used lemon cologne even if they had it hours ago (because I hate the smell of lemon cologne. However, I can’t understand how one can smell moldy carton or sweaty horse when tasting a wine! I comfort myself sayin that everything is possible with enough time and experience. I just need to be patient.