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Thrace Wine Road, a new way to discover the hidden treasures of this region.

Thrace Wine Road, a new way to discover the hidden treasures of this region.

The hills and forests of the Thrace region are within a few hours of Istanbul but are a world away from the city. Surrounded by 3 different seas – Marmara, Aegean and Black Sea – a multitude of different microclimates produces an interesting range of different wines. Last Sunday I had the pleasure of escorting a mixed group of local and international wine lovers to three vineyards where we met the producers and discovered the secrets of the wine-making process. After a pleasant drive through the countryside, our first stop was the family business of Vino Dessera located in Kırklareli/ Lüleburgaz. On our arrival, we were greeted by the owner/wine-maker (and worker!) Doğan Dönmez and enjoyed a huge Turkish breakfast (is there any other size 🙂 ) that was waiting for us in the garden. With breakfast finished, Doğan took us for a walk across the vineyard and explained how they originally started out growing walnuts and almonds before deciding to plant vines and, given the ‘terroir’ and Anatolian tradition, decided to make wine. Both sandy and gravelly soils are present in this area, like in some places in France, facilitating many different vine and grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Shiraz or Öküzgözü and Boğazkere. In total, there are 15 different grapes growing on the vineyard. After our tour we returned to the cellar to begin our degustation of five different wines: Narince – clear and transparent, shining, the first nose is of white pear and tilleul aromas, while in the mouth the same aromas comes back. Very well balanced, fine and elegant white. To...
Our Trip to Thrace Vineyard Route on 7th of September

Our Trip to Thrace Vineyard Route on 7th of September

[fb_like url=”” style=”standard” font=”arial” action=”like” width=”450″ height=”30″ position=””][tweet url=”” style=”none” font=”arial” action=”like” width=”450″ height=”30″ position=””] Well the tour is over now but we are already working on the next one; I have decided to take you on the “Thrace vineyards route” again in a different approach. Our goal is to discover different vineyards, winemakers and various wines while enjoying and increasing our knowledge of wine. At lunch we will look for a place to stop by; it maybe a vineyard or just a new place that we will discover together or maybe a picknik, why not? If you are excited about the idea please let me know… Vino Dessera: A special selection But let me tell you about the experience we all had last sunday. We met in Istanbul at different points to make people comfortable. We started at nine o’clock, not too early, as Sunday is a resting day for most people. We drove two hours before getting to our first stop which was “Vino Dessera” in Kırklareli region. The road was good and it was an easy driving. I also discovered this brand with everybody else. Doğan Dönmez and his parents, owner of the vineyards, were there to meet us. They shows  us the property wich include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Öküzgözü and Kalecik . Then we started with a wonderful breakfast under the shadow. Garden tomatoes, olives, cheese from the village of Kırklareli, different vegetables were filling up the table on a white table cloth. Tea was served while Doğan’s mother Yetkin and Saniye Dönmez were telling us the family story of how they started their own business, by planting walnuts...
2012 Kalecik Karası “Tuğra Series”

2012 Kalecik Karası “Tuğra Series”

[fb_like url=”” style=”standard” font=”arial” action=”like” width=”450″ height=”30″ position=”none”] This week I am turning my attention to one of the most famous vineyards in Turkey, Doluca, and tasting the 2012 Kalecik Karası “Tuğra Series”. The grape is from the small village of Kalecik in the Ankara province and is a autochthon varietal grape, one of my favourite Anatolian grapes. It is cultivated in and around the village and the micro-climate created by the local river Kızırlırmak helps to make it one of the best wines in Turkey. There have been successful attempts to grow this grape in other parts of central Anatolia so it is now one of the most extensively cultivated grapes. It is a sensitive grape so it is as difficult as Pinot Noir to cultivate actually. The Kalecik Karası is an easy wine to drink, smooth with medium acidity and tanin, fruity with some spices like black pepper, its aroma and taste reminds me of delicate wine from Meridionale Rhône valley in France. Medium bodied, fruity with hints of dark black cherries, mulberries and figs. At more than 14% alcohol it is a strong wine. It definitely shows the best of Kalecik with a little bitterness on the finish, which is not unpleasant. Pour the wine into a karaf 15-30 minutes before serving! The oxygen will help to bring all the aromas out. I suggest to serve this wine at a temperature of between 14 to 16 degrees maximum, maybe even cooler in summer. In terms of food and wine harmony, you should drink it with meat or meze; but may I suggest you to go against all...