Updated: May 18
What is Turkey's answer to the classic Bordeaux blend? It's, of course, the marriage of Öküzgözü and Boğazkere. Both grapes are from East Anatolia that spread around the whole country. Our today's blend comes from Güney - the famous Denizli plateau that is known for producing the best grapes in Turkey. Made by Büyülübağ, a winery from the Avşa Island, as an easy drinking and elegant wine suitable for both gastronomical pairings or drinking on its' own.
The Terroir of Avşa Island
People on Avşa Island were making wine since 1800s. At that time it was a tradition maintained by the Rumeli people (Balkan, or people of the part of South East Europe that was under Ottoman rule). After the population exchange, the Turkish people who relocated from the Balkans were continuing to make wine on this island. However, during the tourism boom of 1970s, Adakarasi, the local grape variety unique to Avşa Island, became practically extinct.
Being an island in the Marmara Sea it stays on the crossroads of two very different regions - the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Short storms in summer are common as the hot from the Mediterranean and cold air from the Black Sea clash. The cool air from the Black Sea helps to slow down ripening of the grapes in summer and develop complex flavours, meanwhile in winter it often snows, allowing the vines to rest and stay pest-free.
Just like other islands, Avşa should have her own wind - for 300 days a year it enjoys the Poyraz winds from the northeast. These kind of winds are usually very helpful in doing organic viticulture as strong wind works as a natural pest defense. To benefit as much as possible from Poyraz, Büyülübağ's vineyards are planted on slopes facing northeast. Even though not certified at the moment, the only treatment they're using is occasional sulphur and copper, the rest is taken care by Poyraz.
"Büyülü" means "magical" in Turkish, "bağ" stands for vineyard, and it's actually a truly magical vineyard on Avşa Island in the Marmara Sea. The founder, Alp Torüner, spent here his childhood helping out his grandfather on their farm. In 2003 he founded his own winery, Büyülübağ, to continue the long standing tradition of winemaking on this island.
In the middle of the vineyards stands the four floor gravity flow winery. On the top level is the tasting room, below starts the grape processing and vinification, at the very bottom - the barrel room for maturation.
The first wine produced by Büyülübağ was their Cabernet Sauvignon that immediately won a gold medal in Turkey and a silver medal the year later internationally at 'The Challenge International Du Vin'. However, the winery's mission is to promote their local Adakarasi grape and give it a global fame.
Büyülübağ Öküzgözü & Boğazkere - tasting notes and review
Location: Güney plateau, Denizli, Aegean region, Turkey
Grape variety: Öküzgözü, Boğazkere
Dry red wine
Alcohol content: 13% abv
Pleasant high acidity, medium tannin, medium alcohol, and medium (+) body. If you study WSET you already know this is an indication of a good wine. On the nose and palate cherry gum, blackberry, pepper, prune, very ripe and meshed black currant.
Needless to say, I liked this wine a lot!
Although the blend of Öküzgözü-Boğazkere is Turkey's answer to Bordeaux blends, but this specific wine is so easy and pleasant to drink that it has to be served lightly chilled or at a coller than most people's room temperature.
Öküzgözü grape variety
Öküzgözü translates as "bull's eye" because of its' large berries. It originates from the eastern Anatolia, from Elazığ. It's one of Turkey's signature black grapes today, known for making juicy and fresh red wines. Nowadays it's planted all around Turkey, in Thrace, the Aegean, Capadoccia, and Anatolia.
Boğazkere grape variety
Boğazkere comes from Anatolia too, from Elazığ or Diyarbakır. It's the most common blending partner of Öküzgözü , it adds tannins to the juicy and aromatic wine that Öküzgözü makes and adds ageing potential. Boğazkere means "burns the throat" an indicator of the intense tannins of this grape.
You will find wines made from these grape varieties in my soon to launch wine shop at www.onceuponawine.nl
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