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.

ChinChin at Kitchenette

We will have the opportunity to order all Doluca wines in glass in Kitchenette restaurants between 2 June – 2 July.

I remember another similar fetival of Doluca when I visited Eskisehir, which is basically a university town in Turkey. All the bars were serving tons of beers to students, but I had the chance of finding a bar who was serving Doluca wines in glass. I ordered one of the red wines, but first, a white wine came. Than, they told me that they didn’t have the wine that I ordered. At last, they served me another red wine.

So, this time, I have doubts that really “all” Doluca wines can be found in Kitchenette’s. May be they mean that we can order in glass any Doluca wine that is in the menu. We’ll see together.

By the way, I don’t know what ChinChin means. Could anyone tell me?

A Movie Full of Wine: Sideways


For the last two days, I wass pretty dazed because of a little fever and cold that caught me. So, I could not taste any wines, but I watched a nice movie with wine to tell you.

I left work earky yesterday since I wanted to go home and sleep. When I arrived home I realized that a new neighbour was moving and the voices of hammer and borer would not end. I did not try to sleep. Instead, I tried to watch tv, which I never do. After five minutes of trying, I gave up trying to find something to watch and decided to watch a movie that I first watched years ago: Sideways.

I’ll try to summarize the move: It is the story of two men, one of them looking for women, the other for wine and silence only. They make a trip to somewhere in California for a few days and we watch their adventures in that trip. There is a lot of wine conversation, vineries and nice scenery to see in the movie. I should tell that there is a special focus on Pinot Noir, as if there are not any other grapesgrown in that area! (aren’t there?)

When I first saw this movie years ago, I didn’t know what wine is. This time, I knew about wine, but I was ill, so it did not carefully paid attention to details, but only the view of the scenery was enough reason to watch it till the end.

If there are really so many vineries in California, where you can call by and taste so many wines, I will definately go there one day!

p.s. For those who are curious, I feel better today.

Wine & Dine with Isa Bal

Wine & Dine event of Kayra was very special this time. In addition to enjoying an early summer evening in the garden of Mimolett with Kayra’ wines and a delicious dinner from Murat Bozok’s kitchen, we had Isa Bal and his conversation on wine & dine at our table.

I’m not sure which was more worth to tell you. The modest comments of Isa Bal, or Murat Bozok’s low profile presenting his masterpieces as if they were regular dishes. I’m just going to tell you a few things briefly without boring you. 
Firtly, I’d like to mention that I think that anyone who witnessed the harmony of Kayra Vintage Chardonnay with a soup (jerusalem artichoke soup with vanilla) would not have a problem anymore in believing that wine can get along with any kind of food.

After the soup and asparagus salad, I tasted the Foie Gras, which is something highly glorified by French people, but is definitaly not my kind of food. It was too oily for me. (Still, I put it on a piece of brioche -meaning butter-bread, I guess- nicely and took a picture for you.) Similarly, the Hungarian Tokaji, which was included in the menu on Isa Bal’s suggestion, was not my kind of wine, it was too sweet for me. However, when I tasted these two together, I can tell you that it was clear to me why sommeliers are important persons. The intense and sweet taste of the wine swept away the strong smell and oily feeling of Foie Gras. This must be what they call harmony!

Isa Bal mentioned that Tokaji did not always have to be so sweet. The wine we drank was a wine made of grapes picked up one by one. On the bottle, the expression 6 puttonyos was written. This means that 1 liter of the wine contains 150 gram sugar. If you happen to buy Tokaji, you may see the expression saying 3, 4, 5, or 6 puttonyos. For instance, 5 puttonyos means that there is 125 gram sugar in 1 Liter of the wine.
Lastly, I’d like to tell you about the main dish of the dinner, a veal steak (antrikot). I’ll be s hort and to the point. If that unbelievably soft and artless looking food was a veal meat, what were the things that we had been buying from the butcher and cooking at home?
Without digging in this subject deeper, I am ending my post here wishing to have further dinners at Mimolett with wine and joy.

2. Kanyon Wine Tasting Days

This event was organized in November for the first time. I enjoyed it and also wrote about it here. The second organization of the same event will be on 13, 14 and 15th of May, again in Kanyon Shopping Mall, Istanbul.

This is an event where Turkish wine producers offer their wines for tasting. You may taste wines, attend wine conversations and enjoy your time however you like. You may find the schedule of the event here.