Wines From Turkey

The evaluation of so many things in life is not only intensely subjective, but inevitably comparative. Subconscious or not, it's a certainty that our present opinions are informed by past experiences. And so it goes with wine. That cabernet you had last weekend? Whether it was any good or not probably depends on the cabernets you've had, and how those inform your own personal benchmark. To a certain degree all evaluation involves this level of judgment, a fundamental component of this wine writing thing I have long been uncomfortable with. 

But when a wine comes across your radar that you've never had before, there is no benchmark. There is no experience on which to compare. On paper that may seem rather difficult, but in practice it is, in fact, quite liberating.  Instead of reverting to your catalog of past experiences, you're left to enjoy (or not) the wine for what it is. At its most basic essence, this is discovery. And the older you get, the fewer opportunities you get to discover. Even if it is something as small as a glass of wine, it's a treat. If for no other reason, tasting these wines for exactly that. A treat.

Both of these 100% varietal wines hail from the same Turkish vineyard in north central area of Anatolia in the Black Sea region.  Imported by Winebow.

2012 Vinkara Winery Kalecik Karasi Reserve (Turkey) $27
Expressively floral and clean on the nose with bright, ripe red fruit notes. The same carries through to the palate where gentle smoke and long-lingering soft spices sway across the mid-weight body and through the expansive finish. With just a bit of air, the picture comes into laser focus thanks to firm, but lacy acidity.  Well made and very enjoyable by any standard.  I'd be glad to drink this again.

2013 Vinkara Winery Narince (Turkey) $15
Though not as outwardly appealing as the red (this white is a wine geek's wine), there's character aplenty here. Slate and minerals feature prominently over a loosely-framed mid-weight fruit that sits somewhere towards the end of the mid palate while subtle honeysuckle drifts in and out on the long finish. More cerebral than hedonistic, but that's not stopping me from refilling my glass.