Friday, May 11, 2018

2015 Kocabağ Öküzgözü: Exploring Turkish Wine

I know very little about the wines of Turkey, but I hope to remedy that in the near future. The region has a lengthy history of wine production, extending back about 7,000 years. Turkey is supposed to be the fourth largest producer of grapes in the world, and they are said to have over 600 indigenous grapes. I have seen few wines from this country in local stores, except recently when I stopped at an Armenian store in Watertown which had a small but intriguing wine selection. I bought a couple Turkish wines, without knowing anything about them. I was willing to take a risk, hoping the wines tasted good.

The Kocabağ Winery, located in the city of Nevsehir, was established in 1972 by Mehmet Erdogan and the winery has been selling wine commercially since 1986. The estate is comprised of about 35 hectares, growing indigenous grapes including Bogazkere, Emir, Kalecik Karas, Narince and Öküzgözü.

I bought their 2015 Kocabağ Öküzgözü ($19.99), made from an indigenous grape (with lots of umlauts) that is pronounced  "Oh-cooz-goe-zue." It's name refers to its large grapes that resemble a bull's eye. The grape has high acidity and mild tannins, tending to make soft, easy drinking wines similar in some respects to Gamay or Pinot Noir. In 2010, there were about 4000 acres of this grape planted in Turkey, and the grape is used both for wine and as a table grape.

The 2015 Kocabağ Öküzgözü possessed a medium-red color with an interesting nose of black cherry and raspberry, with a few spice notes. On the palate, it was light bodied, with plenty of acidity, and delicious ripe plum and black cherry flavors, enhanced by a mild earthiness and hints of spice. It had a very Old World feel to it, with mild tannins, a moderately lengthy finish, and was simply tasty. I paired this with a steak and it went well, though it would work well with a variety of dishes, especially because of its high acidity.

I'll be doing more research on the wines of Turkey, especially as I now know where I can purchase some. This first risk paid off well, with a delicious wine from an intriguing indigenous grape.

Have you tried any of the wines of Turkey?

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