Updated: Nov 11, 2020
🍇 Cabernet Sauvignon, Öküzgözü, Boğazkere 📅 2019 🌎 Turkey, Southeast Anatolia ⭐ Vivino 3.9
Istanbul is know for its love for cats but it appears that cats are omnipresent in Turkey. Even as I was about to taste my first Turkish wine in Cappadocia, it didn't happen without a cute kitty jumping on our table and making us a company.
Traditionally, during the Ottoman reign, concessions for winemaking in Turkey were granted to non-Muslim communities. Yet, as of 1923, when most of the ethnic minorities were expelled from Turkey as a result of the Turkish War of Independence, winemaking in Turkey was in decline. It wasn't until 1990s, when the first boutique wineries started a quality-orientated wine culture.
The first Turkish wine I tasted, a 2019 Limited Edition Kocabağ Leo's, happened to be a blend of Cab Sauv with two indigenous grape varieties Öküzgözü and Boğazkere. Öküzgözü is known for producing a medium-bodied, fruit-forward red wine with fresh acidity. It's often compared to Pinot Noir. Boğazkere is the name of highly tannic red variety that’s found mainly in southeastern Anatolia and translates in English as “throat burner”. For it's complexity, acidity, and dense tannin content it is often compared to Tannat. Its distinct mouthfeel brings intricacy to its dark fruit flavors and savory, pepper-and-tobacco undertones.
The blend is produced by Kocabağ Şarapları, that runs its winemaking tradition since 1972 and in 1986 they started producing wine under their own label. The winery is located in Cappadocia, in Central Anatolia but according to CerllarTracker, this wine comes from Diyarbakır in Southeastern Anatolia, where Boğazkere is the principal grape variety. This area features extremely hot conditions and dry-farmed bush vines are scattered around the banks of the Tigris river. This wine is produced using gravity flow method, also known as gravity fed, and thereafter is aged for nine months in French oak barrels.
The wine is ruby to deep purple in colour. I didn't have a chance to decant it and on the first sip it appeared flat. After it opened for a while, the nose started having some dark fruits, chocolate and a bit of smoke. On palate was prune, dark berries dry apricot and spices. Medium body, medium acidity, medium to high tannins.
There wasn't much food to pair it with but a romantic cool October night, a warm blanket, live music and a playful kitten made a great combination for this bottle.