Posted by: tomciocco | September 5, 2012


If you had a grandmother or maybe an uncle who was raised with a mother tongue other than English in a broadly multicultural place like the U.S., at one time or another, at some big family dinner or another, you’ve surely heard from one of them: “It’s a beautiful story, but it sounds so much better in (fill in the beloved language)”. Well tonight, we had a  perfectly clear example of that going on on the dinner table in the form of (another) Turkish wine…

Most of what comes across my enological radar that sprouts from the soils of the great nation of Turkey comes out of the Anatolia region, and here’s one more to add to the list (see my previous posts on Buzbag and Cankaya). This is another wine from the Kavaklidere Winery (ka-vak-luh-DEH-reh), which is a pretty mellifluous-sounding name to my ears. And if the eyes continue to scan the label, they eventually arrive at the monikers of the wine’s two native Turkish grape varieties – native to the eastern portion of Anatolia to be precise –  namely, Okuzgozu (every vowel with an umlaut, and pronounced just as the word would be pronounced in German), which once you say it right once, is hard to stop saying (much to Jen’s consternation), and the strong and exotic sounding Bogazkere (Bo-AHZ-keh-reh).

Thankfully Turkish stays Turkish on the label (well, maybe not for the marketers) because Okuzgozu and Bogazkere mean, repsectively…”Bull’s Eye” and “Throat Burner”. Yup. “Bull’s Eye” and “Throat Burner”. On the vine, Okuzgozu is a big, round, dark-berried grape variety whose ripe fruit looks like, well, a bull’s eye.  Bogazkere is characterized by small, thick-skinned berries that yield, in their youth, fiery, tough, tannic wines, that apparently can make themselves known on the way down…Now you can see why they decided to name this cuvee` “Selection”.

Turkish wine, Turkish food: white bean “hummus” with hardboiled eggs and scallions, and then a stew of cauliflower and ground lamb with tomatoes and peppers in all manner of fresh, powdered, and pasted forms with herbs and lemon, with saffron basmati rice to accompany.

Kavaklidere “Selection” Red, Eastern Anatolia, 2009

Lovely, bright, and just transparent magenta/garnet color. Slightly austerely elegant aromas of savory spices, sap, red currants, cherry, black licorice, and beeswax. In the mouth the wine is of medium weight and with a taut, angular texture, with smoothed but still stiff and dry tannins, and earthy flavors of strawberry, Cornelian cherry, cocoa, cigar tobacco, and black pepper. Warm, echoing finish.  


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