Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#WineStudio's Prelude to Turkey With VinoRai - Part I

May's #WineStudio presents another opportunity to learn more about VinoRai's en devour to import Turkish wines into the United States. Whereas Turkey is the 6th largest grape grower, it accounts for only 2% of total world wine production. However, in the past 10 years there has been a resurgence in the Turkish wine industry, with wine makers focusing on that country's 800 native varieties.  There are four major grape growing regions: Anatolia, Thrace, the Mediterranean, and the Aegean (the largest region). Wines of Turkey provides a nice overview of these regions; but in general, the coastal regions (Thrace, the Mediterranean, and the Aegean) have a more Mediterranean climate and specialize in international varieties. Regions further inland, such as Anatolia, produce wine from mostly indigenous varieties such as Emir, Narince, Öküzgözü, and Boğazkere.

Cappadocia is a sub-region within Anatolia that has a continental climate with a large diurnal swing in temperatures, volcanic soils and high elevations (4,000 feet). According to VinoRai, wine making has occurred in Cappadocia for 7,000 years  The region specializes in the Emir grape, in fact its the only region in the world where this grape is grown. Emir is an ancient grape having been vinified since the Hittite era (1700 BC).  It is pronounced "eh-MEER" and translates to "prince" - most likely because it was once served as table grapes to royalty.

VinoRai compares it to Torrontes and that was a suitable comparison when we sampled the Turasan 2013 Emir ($14, 13.5%).  The Turasan winery was established in 1943; the first modern, private winery in the region; and the largest producer in the Cappadocia region. And the current winemaker is a third generation owner:  Hasan Turasan. The grapes for the 2013 Emir were fermented in stainless steel then aged sur-lie. The result is a wine with a strong floral aroma; fresh meyer lemon flavor; with a balance between creamy minerals (salt) and refreshing acids. Very nice.  The balloon on the label represents Cappadocia's popular hot air balloon tourism. Need to put this area on the agenda. Cheers.
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