Choosing wines for a Christmas with Turkey? How about something from … Turkey? An all-Turkey affair, after all the bird was named after the country, so it seems appropriate.
I’m not a great believer in “perfect matches” for wine and food so the best rule of thumb, is buy what you like to drink – the match will take care of itself.
Having just returned from an extended visit to the beautiful cities and wine regions of Turkey, I thought I’d find out which wines you could source easily in the UK, so here are a few suggestions.
Marks & Spencer
M&S was the first of the big supermarkets to list a Turkish wine (to my knowledge) and they’ve chosen an interesting pair of wines – and by the way, they’ve also taken the lead by listing wines from other countries like Croatia and Lebanon, so we should support them too.
Sevilen Sauvignon Blanc (Sevilen) 2011 – a crisp, fresh, attractive Sauvignon Blanc that does not suffer from the overblown aromatic style so popular in New Zealand. A great wine to kick off any meal, and don’t just take my word for it, Jancis Robinson picked it as one of her top 100 wines of 2012.
Anfora Trio (Pamukkale) 2010 – an interesting blend of Shiraz, Kalecik Karasi & Cabernet Sauvignon that is unoaked but is a robust, red berry fruit wine that I think would go well with your Turkey if you like lots of sauces with it. A good introduction to the Pamukkale winery’s range which I will write about separately soon as I had a very enjoyable visit there.
Laithwaites has always championed unusual wine countries and regions, and so it is a good place to go looking for something different. They attended the EWBC this year and have committed to listing even more Turkish wines in future, but the good news is that they already have one to try.
Vinart Kalecik Karasi Syrah (Vinkara) 2010 – I enjoyed this wine at a tasting earlier this year, which I felt showed lots of red fruit and a plummy character. The Syrah rounds this out a fair bit, and I would love to see a 100% Kalecik Karasi wine listed as I believe it is a grape that will be very popular in future. It is not unlike Pinot Noir overall, and can make delicate, light reds (and roses) but also more robust styles with a peppery character.
The Wine Society had the Vinkara Kalecik Karasi 2009 in stock but it soon ran out and there is none left. Keep an eye on them as I hope they will find more Turkish wines in the near future
Other retailers of Turkish wines (and other drinks):
I’ve not tried this retailer before, but you can always explore them for a broader range of wines.
Taste Turkey – http://www.tasteturkey.com/
TasteTurkey claims to have more than 40 different Turkish Wines in their portfolio from Diren, Pamukkale, Mahlep, Doluca, Kavaklidere, Kayra and Vinkara (though many appear out of stock) but also Raki (if you are feeling adventurous).
Other Agents to Contact
Agents and wholesalers don’t sell directly to consumers, so you can’t call them to buy the wines, but you could contact them directly to find out if a shop or restaurant in your area stocks these wines.
Yazgan, Mahra, Sultaniye / Emir (2011) – This is a blend of Sultana (yes, the one used for dried grapes) and the delicious Emir. A refreshing wine with a bit of a tropical twist.
Yazgan, Bogazkere (2011) – Another Turkish local and exclusive grape. Quite full bodied and spicy. Definitely worth a try.
Tees Limited – http://tees.co.uk/brands
They are an importer who are responsible for Turkey’s (rather refreshing) EFES beer, but also including Turkish Wine from Kayra wines, Kavaklidere wines and Doluca/SarAFIN wines
Thierry’s used to import an interesting range of Turkish wines from Kavaklidere but their site doesn’t have much information about whether they are still in stock after the recent changes there. Might be worth a call
If you do choose a Turkish wine to go with your Christmas meal, do let me know how it goes.