A Wine Journey to Anatolia

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Buzbag organized an event to rediscover the harmony of Anatolian cuisine with wine. Thanks to this event, we had the opportunity to follow the footmarks of wine from Eastern Anatolia to Hittites’ earthenwares, from home made wines of Antakya to Buzbag on our tables in Kosebasi Restaurant. As Cuneyt Uygur, Manager of Kayra Wine Center, said, it was not a competition, it was rather a journey and Kosebasi’s cuisine and Kayra’s Buzbag wine accompanied us in our journey.

Buzbağ Emir-Narince 2010
This was a dinner which provided the proof for arguing against the belief that wine should be consumed along with Italian pasta, with French style foie gras, or with an almost raw but still soft piece of steak. Buzbag has discovered a way to bring people like me (who doesn’t like kebap) to a kebap restaurant! They offered delicious Turkish food of Kosebasi together with Buzbag wines along with nice conversation about wine. The following wines were served: Buzbag Beyaz (white), Buzbag Klasik, Buzbag Elazig Okuzgozu, Buzbag Diyarbakir Bogazkere, and Buzbag Rezerv. All of these red wines are made of Okuzgozu (fruity and lively) and Bogazkere (strong taste and tannin) grapes of Elazig and Diyarbakir respectively. These are local grapes that can be used in both blends or variatals. As Cuneyt Uygur mentioned that it was a general belief that wines and food of the same region make good matches. So, it should be a wise choice to drink these wines with Anatolian cuisine.

Buzbag Emir-Narince

The first course was a cheese table offered together with Buzbag Beyaz. This is a very nice refreshing wine with citrus fruit aromas made of Emir and Narince grapes. Its acidity is moderate compared to most of the wines. It is both strong and delicate, as the names of the grapes suggest. It had a great harmony with tulum cheese (a Turkish cheese that is enchased in a skin in production phase). The white and yellow (kasar) cheeses did not match with the wine as much as tulum did.

I was a little surprized when the appetizers were served. I can eat any food with wine at my home, but I didn’t expect them to be so assertive to serve gavurdagi, toros, abagannus and cig kofte on a wine event (these are all traditional Turkish food that contain significant amount spices, or at least garlic). I am not really fond of hot spices. Therefore I didn’t even try to match cig kofte with any wine. I still give them credit for their courageous offer. The most interesting match for me was between abagannus (an appetizer made of eggplant, garlic and yogurt) and white wine. Buzbag Beyaz made the taste of garlic and yoghurt mildly sour.

Buzbag Klasik

Buzbag Klasik (2008), made of Okuzgozu and Bogazkere, was served together with these appetizers but I saved my expectations from this wine for it’s match with the next, warm appetizers. When warm appetizers arrived, I knew that that was going to be a long night. I was almost full already! Buzbag Elazig Okuzgozu was served to our glasses. It is a lievely wine with red fruit and a little pepper aromas and medium body. I think it made the best match with icli kofte (a special kind of meatball with meat, nuts, onion inside and bulghur as a shell) and patlican sogurme (a warm appetizer made of steamed eggplant), which is normally not easy to match with wines. Humus (made of chickpeas and crushed sesame seeds) was much better with Buzbag Klasik.

Then it was Bogazkere’s (my favourite) turn. They served Buzbag Diyarbakir Bogazkere together with Tarsusi Kebap and Pideli Saslik (these are kinds of Turkish kebap, the first made of minced meat and the second of pieces of meat). I was thinking that I don’t like kebap made of minced meat but I had never tasted Tarsusi Kebap before! I loved it so much I ate all of it in a few seconds together with Bogazkere. Bogazkere’s strong tannins resisted the strong and a dense taste of Tarsusi Kebap and maintained balance. Afterwards, they served Şaşlık Kebabı and I had never tasted it before too! It was so soft that I thought Bogazkere’s strong taste is too strong for it, but I was wrong. They glided through my throath together softly.

Buzbag Reserv (2006)

In the meantime, the last emtly glass was filled with Buzbag Rezerv (2006). Similar to Buzbag Klasik, it is a blend of Okuzgozu and Bogazkere, but has also been rested in French oak for 24 months, so that Bogazkere’s austerity becomes a little milder. It is a strong, bodied, balanced wine. Among chop-rib, kebap with eggplant and shish kebap, the wines best match was with shish kebap.

Lastly, the deserts were served. I have a long distance relationship with deserts, but this doesn’t mean that I won’t taste them at all. I tasted kunefe, semolina (irmik) with icecream, and pumpkin with icecream and crushed seasam seeds (tahin) respectively. I think kunefe was very good, considering that it didn’t make me feel it was too much! Usually, semolina with icecream is very popular especially after too much eating 🙂 but this time the semolina pieces were cold and sticky a little. Pumpkin desert was not as soft as it is usually, but it really melted in my mouth together with tahin and icecream. Therefore, it was my favourite.

Pumpkin desert

I hope that I could at least make you think about, that wine is not something unattainable, not something that is not for “us” but is rather for western countries, ant that Turkish cuisine is compatible with wine. I wish you discover the wines that you like to drink with your favourite food and you share the joy that I try to share with you in this blog.

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