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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...
The Turkish wine market continues to develop

The Turkish wine market continues to develop

A few months ago I wrote this article about the size of the Turkish wine market. Now here is a little more information! Domestic Wine consumption in Turkey is concentrated in the big cities. Imported wines are largely restricted to high level hotels, restaurants and gourmet shops. Local wines represent more than 95% of the total wine consumption in Turkey today. In 2014 the total consumption was 63.4ML. Wine imports have been increasing for the last 5 years from 1ML to 2.7ML. This is balanced by almost exactly the same volume of Turkish wine being exported (2.8ML) although export numbers have been falling in recent years. 29% of the imported wine in Turkey comes from Italy, followed by 627000L from France (23%). Although France is the largest supplier in terms of value. 67% of the imported French wine is are made from fresh grapes and 18% is sparkling wine. Turkish wine makers are finding their market as boutique and niche market brands and they can expect continued growth in the coming years as they become more mature. If you would like to visit some Turkish wine makers you can join one of my Vineyard tours...
Chamlija 2013 Chardonnay

Chamlija 2013 Chardonnay

Following on from last weeks review of the Chamlija Albarino, this week I am reviewing the 2013 Chardonnay. After 1 month fermentation in the barrel, a Burgundy style batônnage and a minimum of 12 months in new French medium toast oak barrels, the result is a well balanced Chardonnay. A great white wine; smooth, buttered, lightly toasted, the wood is melted with no aggressivity at all. This wine can be drunk now or left for a few years to mature. Match this wine with smoked salmon, lobster, chicken with creamy sauces and fresh tarragon. I like it a lot. You can find this wine in Istanbul at Carrefour Gurme outlets....
The Turkish Wine Market – Growing in spite of the environment

The Turkish Wine Market – Growing in spite of the environment

Turkey is now the 5th largest vineyard in the world with just under half a million hectares of vines. It is also the 6th largest grape producer with a harvest of 4.1MT in 2014. Only 11% of this harvest is for vinification. There are now 170 companies producing wine in Turkey concentrated in the big cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. It is fair to say the wine market is still young, and relatively small, but the sector is growing with wine tourism and the evolution of consumption styles. Imported wines are largely restricted to high level hotels, restaurants and gourmet shops. Local wines represent more than 95% of the total wine consumption in Turkey today. Sparkling wines are almost non-existent and less than 1% of the total. The good news for wine makers in Turkey is that since 2009 wine consumption has outstripped Raki (the traditional Turkish alcohol) and grown from 46ML to 63ML while Raki consumption fell by 13% over the same period. Source:...
AW Wineworld is Visiting Thrace Vineyard Route – 20 September

AW Wineworld is Visiting Thrace Vineyard Route – 20 September

Harvest Delight with Alain Würsching, French Wine Consultant and Chef Sommelier [fb_like url=”” font=”arial” action=”like” width=”450″ height=”30″ position=”none”][tweet url=”” font=”arial” action=”like” width=”450″ height=”30″ position=”none”] Harvest delight, walking at pathways of the vineyards and fresh air of Istiranca is waiting for you… 20h of September Saturday 2014 After our first tour to Thrace Vineyard route on 7th of September, which we includes Vino Dessera & Arcadia Vineyards, we have decided to organize a new tour with a new vineyard. Chamlija Vineyards, located at Büyükkarıştıran The Camlica family has been farming in Buyukkaristiran, Luleburgaz since 1936. The first generation of the family immigrated from Kubadin, Razgrad, in northeastern Bulgaria. Kubadin was renamed Loznitsa in the 1930s. The new name means “Vineyard Place” in Bulgarian, referring to the fact that this was the first place where American rootstocks were grown first time in the country. Arcadia, between Luleburgaz and Istiranca Mountains, that is on the Historical Wine Road Named after Arcadiapolis, the ancient name of Luleburgaz in the Eastern Roman period, Arcadia Vineyards is the pioneering establishment in the resurrection of this ancient terroir, planted in the 2000’s. It is located between Luleburgaz and Strandja mountains, where once the Ancient Wine Route has passed. Program 08.30   Meeting at Beylerbeyi Taxi Stop 09.15      Meeting at AKM Taksim 11.00 – 14.30    Chamlija Vineyards Breakfast Vineyard tour Wine tasting at the Strandja Summit 15.30  – 18.00    Arcadia Vineyards Between Luleburgaz and Istiranca Mountains, on the Historical Wine Road Wine tasting in the cellar Vineyard Visit Winery visit Food and Wine Pairing 18.00    Return 20.00    Arrival to Istanbul Return journey time is planned 1,5 hour or 2...
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...