A Wine Journey to Anatolia

Resim yazısı ekle

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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Corvus Blend No3 2006

Corvus Blend No3 2006

We had a dreamlike vacation in Bozcaada in the summer of 2010. I mentioned this vacation in one of the first posts of this blog as one of my steps going into the wine world. At the end of the vacation, we brough a few bottles of Corvus wines to home. The last one of those wine bottles was Corvus Blend No3 2006.
We bought this wine from Corvus’s wine store, where they also have their production facilities, if I’m not wrong. I remember it was around $ 45. I knew nothing about wines and wine prices then, so, I thought that it was so expensive that we should expect a miracle from within the bottle 🙂
The person helping us to choose said that the best time to drink this wine would be 2011. We obeyed her and waited until 2011. Since we still don’t have a wine fridge, we kept the bottle in a dark and relatively cool corner in our living room.
Corvus Blend No3 2006 is made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Karalahna, Okuzgozu, and Cabernet Franc which all grown in Corvus vineyards in Bozcaada. It has rested in French oak barrels for 24 months, in bottes (I don’t know what botte is. I would appreciate if someone could comment to this post and explain what it is.) for 2 months and in the bottle for 6 months. The bottle is very elegant and there is a legend written on the lable. 
Corvus Blend No3 2006
Corvus produces a Blend from the best grapes of the year and gives a number to each Blend. I have to admit that at the time I bought this wine, when I didn’t know anything about wine or about Corvus, I read the list of the grapes on the lable and I thought “this grapes can’t be good, if they were good, they would produce seperate wines from each of them” 🙂 I still bought the wine since I was curious. Well, it turns out I was wrong.
It is a strong wine with dark burgundy color, raspberry and cherry aromas on the nose, medium body, strong tannins and vivid acidity. I tasted it after it rested about half an hour in a big glass but it was not enough. Then I left home and left the wine in the glass. When I came back 9 hours later, I smelled and tasted it again. I smelled a strong, earthy aroma and the wine’s taste and tannins were almost as strong as they were 9 hours ago. I liked the wine, but I think it still carries characteristics of a ypung wine. I could like it more when it rested maybe for a few months longer  in the bottle.
p.s. The bottle in the photos is in a wine box which includes wine accesorries. The box will be the subject of another post soon…

Turasan Seneler Okuzgozu Bogazkere 2007

My dinner

Thi picture shows a dinner that I had alone a few days ago. This is a regular dinner when I’m alone. It is easy to prepare, and I love it when I cooked it myself. It also goes wel with wine. I usually drink whatever wine I’d like to drink, without considering whether or not it suits with the food. For me,the wine comes before the food or food & wine match 🙂

I had Turasan Seneler Okuzgozu Bogazkere 2007 with this dinner. I actually opened the bottle the day before and I did not like it, again. Previously, I had tasted Turasan Seneler Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Syrah 2008 of the same group (of the wines that are indicated as exclusive on Turasan’s website) and I liked it very much. That’s why I was very surprized and dissappointed this time. I closed the bottle and put it in the fridge to give another chance to it the other day.
The other day, the wine rested in my glas about 30 minutes while I was preparing the dinner on the picture. I thought it was promising. After 15-20 minutes, I smelled and tasted it again. I noticed a little rotten egg. As far as  I know, this should be a sign of defect in a wine. I was surprised that nothing was wrong with the taste. I waited a little more and the smell was still there (or I thought so). I decided not to drink wine that night.
I grabbed my sneakers and took a walk on the seaside. I was too young to accept that a wine bottle can sometimes bring disappointment instead of joy and pleasure 🙂

Diren Collection Okuzgozu 2007

Diren Öküzgözü 2007

You may recall that I was very delighted with the flavor/price performance of Diren Collection Merlot. A few days ago, I ordered five bottles of other wines from the same collection through the website of Diren. I gave the first rank for tasting to Collection Okuzgozu. I will be writing about the others in the following days. I brought Collection Kalecik Karasi to a friend of mine who invited us for the new year’s eve, but we did not open the bottle that night. So, I will not be abble to comment on it only. That friend of mine is a follower of my blog (Turkish one), so I hope that he will provide me with his comments once he tastes it 🙂

Diren Collection Okuzgozu is made of the grapes produced in Elazığ ve Denizli. It has intense fruity aromas, soft tannin and high acidity. Although the name highlights only one grape, Okuzgozu, some Cabernet sauvignon was also blended with it. I believe this is a very nice, delicious wine considering its very favourable price at sarapshop (15,90 TL). It was not as impressive as Diren Collection Merlot, but I would still serve it to my friends without hesitation. In fact, I already did.

I understand that the wines of Collection series are not aged in oak barrels, but I smell oaki why? I would be very happy if someone can enlighten me. I plan to attend a tasting seminar soon. I hope I’ll learn there how to evaluate the tastes and smells that I perceive.