Turasan 2013 Kalicek Karasi (13%) - Turasan is one of Turkey’s oldest and largest wineries with its founding in 1943. It is now run by third generation Hasan Tursan with Edouard Guérin the winemaker. The winery is located in high altitude Cappadocia (Mid-Southern Anatolia), which is best known for the white grape Emir and blue-black grape Kalecik Karasi. The region provides limited water supply so grapes take longer to reach full maturity - producing intense fruit. The Kalecik Karasi was almost extinct, but resurrected to to the efforts of Turkish and French experts and the Ankara University Faculty of Agriculture.The name Kalecik Karası means the “black from the small castle” and in fact the small village of Kalecik contains a castle. The Turasan 2013 Kalicek Karasi is bright and tart with fresh red fruit and a little cinnamon on the tail. I can see why Kalicek Karasihas been called the Pinot Noir of Turkey.
Yazgan 2013 Bogazkere ($20, 13%) - Like Turasan, Yazgan is one of Turkey’s oldest and largest wineries and is located in Izmir - near the coast bordering the Aegean Sea. The winery was founded by Mr. Huseyin Yazgan in 1943 and whereas the family is still involved, Antoine Bastide D’Izard is currently the winemaker. Being an indigenous grape, the Boğazkere fruit is sourced from the Diyarbakir province in SE Anatolia. In fact Diyarbakir is considered Boğazker's native province where the grape thrives in the hot, dry Continental summers and cold, wet winters. The word Boğazker translates to throat burner since the thick-skinned red grape produces murky full-bodied and tannic wines. The 2013 Boğazkere starts with a cherried tobacco aroma, with sour cherries and dark fruit on the palate, and finishing with prevalent yet manageable tannins. A very solid wine.
Diren 2011 Karmena Red Blend (13.5%) - Since it's founding in 1958, the Diren Winery has focused on indigenous Turkish varietals in the Tokat region of Anatolia. In 1985 Mustafa Vasfi Diren transferred the wine making duties over to his son Ali Diren who has continued the tradition of promoting indigenous varietals. The 2011 Karmena Red is a blend of five grapes (35% Öküzgözü 30% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Boğazker) with each providing a unique characteristic to the final wine. According to the winery, "Okuzgozu grape lays a framework of luscious red fruits in the wine, with Bogazkere providing tannin and backbone. To these we add Cabernet Sauvignon for its body, Syrah for its spiciness, and round it out with Merlot for its supple character." The wine is extremely friendly, juicy and smooth, with a slightly spicy - but long juicy finish.
2011 Gali Evreshe ($25, 14.5%) Bordeaux blend Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc from estate vineyards adjacent to the Aegean Sea on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The first impression was a candied hot aroma followed by more candied fruit, finishing with big juicy tannin. This is a wine that must be decanted - surprisingly so since the wine meets zero oak. After settling, the heat and candied character diminishes providing more juicy flavors, but still plenty of tannins. Or as +vtwinemedia tweeted " Right Bank Bordeaux backbone; Napa-like power; Stony structure all its own".