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Paşaeli Wine Tasting in Amsterdam with Wines of Turkey

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

This week I had my first wine meetup in the Netherlands with Wines of Turkey .NL - Turkish wine importer in the Netherlands. We were doing their portfolio tasting and, due to my preferences only native Turkish grape varieties appeared on the table. Wines of Turkey .NL is the official importer of Paşaeli wines in Europe. Luckily for me, they're based in the Netherlands and we share a common goal with them - spreading the word about indigenous grape varieties forgotten and often revived from extinction by some heroes of modern winemaking.

Turkish wine tasting in Amsterdam Netherlands with Wines of Turkey nl
With Gurbuz Salman, founder of Wines of

So our impressive line up included:

Paşaeli Sultaniye 2020

Paşaeli Blanc de Noir 2020 Çalkarası

Paşaeli Sıdalan 2020

Paşaeli Çakal Rosé 2020

Paşaeli Yapıncak Orange 2020

Paşaeli - a winery with a focus on preserving Turkey's extinct grape varieties

I've spent nine months in Turkey this year and never ever tasted Paşaeli's wines, what a shame! Strangely, I haven't seen them often (or maybe at all) in restaurants' wine lists and as for my Turkish wine shopping - with the abundance of wineries focusing on Bordeaux blends in Turkey, I limited my focus to two-three wineries that do have a wide portfolio of native Turkish grapes and never checked anything beyond them. A lesson to learn and to always stay openminded. A mentor of mine once said:

"Your mind is like a parachute. It works only if it's open".

(don't know if it's his invention or someone else's though)

Couldn't say it better.

Indigenous grapes Turkish wine tasting in Amsterdam with Wines of
always prepared to take notes especially when all the wines are made of indigenous grapes!

Luckily their wines found me in the Netherlands via Wines of Turkey .NL, so no regrets.

Paşaeli winery was founded by Seyit Karagözoğlu in 2000. Before that Seyit was in wine importing so he had a chance to see how in countries like Italy forgotten grapes get rescued and then in a decade become the top-selling varieties wanted on every corner of the planet. Two grapes native to the Thrace wine region were his "drivers" in Turkey - Yapıncak and Kolorko. Finding these grapes at those times in Thrace (Trakya) was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Kolorko was barely existent, Yapıncak somewhat available due to the fact that locals used its' leaves for dolma - a traditional meal to Turkey when grape leaves are stuffed with rice and herbs.

Dolma or sarma Turkish vegeterian meal with vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs
You probably tasted dolma if you've ever been to Turkey, but did you know that leaves came from Yapıncak?

The first vinification for Yapincak happened in 2010, in 2011 it won the prestigious San Francisco International Competition. We had Yapıncak as part of our line up - and I was so excited that this grape variety tastes pure and quality, unlike the same variety made by other wineries in the country today.