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Best Turkish Wines both Red and White to Taste and Enjoy

When you think about wines, the best wines, in the world, Turkey and Turkish wines are not among those you think of. The first two that would probably come to mind would have been French and Italian wines, which is fair enough!

Best Turkish wines to taste.
Best Turkish wines to taste.

Nevertheless, Turkish wines are more valuable than it is praised. But unfortunately, because of the harsh alcohol restrictions in Turkey, wine producers are having trouble finding a place in the market. Yet, day by day, we hear more of the best Turkish wines and producers are quite eager to set off-world markets. It is quite probable that universal wine lovers will discover them in the near future.

Turkey’s Winemaking History

Turkey has a long ancient winemaking history that goes back millennia. Even, it goes back further than antique Greece and Rome civilizations. The history helped to cement the popularity of wine as a cultural cornerstone. However, as a matter of fact, the international recognition of Turkish wines is a very recent phenomenon. Therefore, all the wine producers want is to increase this popularity and spread it all over the world.

Due to the strict alcohol laws in Turkey, Turkish wines try their chances in Europe.
Due to the strict alcohol laws in Turkey, Turkish wines try their chances in Europe.

Best Turkish Wines Based on Grape Varieties

Like Italy or France, Turkey benefits from a great many numbers of local grape varieties. Nonetheless, wine admirers beyond Turkey’s borders are not familiar with many of them. Varieties such as Kalecik Karası and Narince are sometimes blended with international varieties. It mostly appears on many labels and it really showcases the diversity on offer.

Turkish wines have incredibly delicious flavors.
Turkish wines have incredibly delicious flavors.

International Popularity of Turkish Wines

Above all, it is not wrong to make a classification such as the best Turkish wines as some of them received international awards. Sub-regions and local areas in Turkey even produce their own wine brands that are impossible to ignore. Just as an example, Thrace, the Aegean Coast, and Cappadocia are among those producing the highest quality wines.

Even though Turkey is one of the world’s biggest grape producers, people use only a tiny percentage for making wine. The majority of grapes, on the other hand, are being grown and used for table grapes and traditional Turkish alcohol beverages raki.

Turkish wines are underrated ones around the world.
Turkish wines are underrated ones around the world.

The one sad fact: alcohol promotion in Turkey has been illegal since 2013. The prohibition encompasses everything from advertising to wine tastings. Therefore, assumably, these strict restrictions cause the wine industry’s domestic growth. And so, many Turkish wine producers have been seeking for glory in international markets.

The List of Best Turkish Wines

* Pasaeli, Çalkarasi Rosé, Izmir, Aegean Coast Region
Pasaeli, Çalkarasi Rosé
Pasaeli, Çalkarasi Rosé
The Çalkarası grape is native to Çal in southwestern Turkey. It is 850 meters above sea level in red loam and rocky soils. Believe it or not, it’s truly amazing. It has a nice balance of acidity and freshness with light red berries on the nose and an almost mineral finish.
* Urla Sarapcilik, Nero D’Avola-Urla Karasi, Turkey
Nero D'Avola-Urla Karasi
Nero D’Avola-Urla Karasi
The next brand, Decanter World Wine Awards, is a Platinum winner in 2016. This is a super Red that is well worth the premium price. We must mention that it is farmed biodynamically on 3,000-year-old vineyard terraces. The wine contains the Sicilian Nero d’Avola with 10% of the Urla Karasi grape. The company, by the way, rescued the grapes mentioned from extinction.
* Pasaeli, 6N Karasakiz Merlot, Turkey
Pasaeli, 6N Karasakiz Merlot
Pasaeli, 6N Karasakiz Merlot

First of all, Seyit Karagözoglu is the founder of Pasaeli, who brought this wine into our lives in 2000. It was a true discovery at the recent Wines of Turkey. Tasting wines from both international and domestic varieties in London shows real personality. It is a mix of the two; 18% Merlot and 82% Siyah Sakiz (translated as ‘black gum’).

* Kayra, Kalecik Karasi, Denizli, Aegean Coast Region
Kayra, Kalecik Karasi, Denizli
Kayra, Kalecik Karasi, Denizli
It was the Californian consultant winemaker Daniel O’Donnell who has been making Kayra’s wines for the past decade. He takes into account this variety (commonly referred to as KK), as the Pinot Noir of Turkey. This is 50% whole-fruit fermented giving amazing purity of sappy red cherries, incredibly soft freshness, and what’s more, a perfumed lift.
* Kavaklidere, Prestige Narince, Cappadocia
Kavaklidere, Prestige Narince.
Kavaklidere, Prestige Narince.
Narince was first produced as an alternative wine by Kavaklidere. And grapes for this wine come from the leading Cotes d’Avanos vineyard as well as plots in Tokat. The maker of the wine fermented it in oak barrels and then aged for nine months on its lees. The process gave the wine a rounded, creamy palate of yellow fruit, floral notes, and lemony acidity.
* Büyülübag, Iris Rosé, Turkey
Büyülübag, Iris Rosé
Büyülübag, Iris Rosé
Büyülübağ wines are based on Avsa Island in the Marmara Sea. Büyülübag farms 20 hectares on sandy loam soils. Büyülübag farms are vinifying their grapes in a modern gravity-fed winery. This bone-dry rosé (2 grams/liter of residual sugar) is made from the Adakarasi variety. You can’t find it anywhere, except Avsa Island.

Chasing for Other Best Turkish Wines

Ma’adra

Recently, several Turkish wine companies have been experimenting with Pinot Noirs. However, Ma’adra makes the only decent one you may possibly find. Other options are including chardonnays, cabernets, and syrahs.

Turkey has an ancient winemaking history stretching back millennia.
Turkey has an ancient winemaking history stretching back millennia.
Syriac Wine

A Syrian Christian community in Mardin cultivates these wines. So, it can be quite difficult to find and to be honest, it is a bit pricey. However, it has a very solid flavor. You’re likely to find it at the small corners called tekel shops and sometimes at Carrefour. You’ll recognize it from the Arabic writing on the bottle.

Tigris

Assume that you’re looking for good and cheap wine. Then, Tigris (made by the Kavaklıdere company) is one of your best options. The wine blends Öküzgözü, Boğazkere, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It also has very little tannin taste that gives a taste slightly sweeter than other wines.

Turkey's winemaking history goes back thousands of years
Turkey’s winemaking history goes back thousands of years
Corvus

Bozcaada is the homeplace of this prestigious wine. Corvus produces wine from both Turkish and European grapes. It is, indeed, including Syrah and Cabernet, as well as blends that combine the two.

Turasan

This wine belongs to the Cappadocian region. The wine company offers several single-grape and blended options. And furthermore, their prices are very reasonable. What we highy recommend is a blend of Syrah, Öküzgözü, Boğazkere, and Kalecik Karası.

Umurbey

Umurbey makes a wonderful Cabernet. Moreover, it is one of the few Merlots you may have been enjoyed. It is an attractive choice if you’re desiring more common Western grapes rather than local Turkish grapes.

Thrace, the Aegean Coast, and Cappadocia are producing the highest quality wines.
Thrace, the Aegean Coast, and Cappadocia are producing the highest quality wines.
Kutman

What Kutman especially specializes in is fruit-based wines. It contains a lovely pomegranate wine reminiscent of the one lovely Uyghur restaurant in Beijing (best served chilled). So, many fruit wines in Istanbul are a vile Manischewitz-level sweet. However, Kutman actually knows how to do it at best.

Villa Doluca

This wine specializes in blends of grapes such as merlot, shiraz, and öküzgözü. Moreover, it is quite a cheap one and can be found in almost every local market that is allowed to sell alcohol. Especially, it is widely available at any Migros or tekel shop.

Some of the best Turkish wines are at the world's standards
Some of the best Turkish wines are at the world’s standards
Kuzeybağ

This brand specializes in pure oxeye and has a pleasant sensual taste.

Buzbağ

This pungent and solid blend of boğazkere and öküzgözü is a tasty treat. We should mention that it is, especially after a meal.

So, hopefully, you’ll find our article useful. Moreover, share your comments with us below on which Turkish wine you’ve tried and liked most!

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