Ever since I started to learn more about wine, I developed a special passion for Turkish wines. Wine has a long but interrupted history in my homeland. In the 19th century, Ottoman Turkey exported wine to France. The modern Turkish wine industry was re-established alongside our new nation by Ataturk himself. The wine market in my country is small, but refined. Istanbul in particular has a sophisticated wine tasting and appreciation scene alongside her thriving restaurants, despite the challenges of recent anti-alcohol legislation. Those legislative challenges have spurred many Turkish wineries to develop export markets. The quality and global relevance of Turkish wine is rising as a result. Turkish wine may not be rivalling that of France, but I am proud of my nation’s characterful and vibrant wines, and of our quest to preserve and protect our indigenous varieties and long, symbolic wine history.
However, we do have a wide range of indigenous grape varieties that have tremendous potential both in domestic and international market. Below, I listed some of the indigenous grape varieties that can be found in the UK market.
Medium body wines with low acidity. Tangerine, citrus, ripe yellow apple, pear and apricot aromas are dominant. Great for early drinking and can be consumed on its own.
Turkish version of Chablis. Mineral oriented, crisp wine with apple, unripe melon, eucalyptus and lime aromas on the palate. Try it with fresh lemon squeezed oysters or summer salads.
Very aromatic light bodied wine with medium low acidity, ripe pineapple, yellow apple, exotic fruits and tangerine. Suited for late harvest and sweet wines.
Floral, early drinking medium ranged wine with chamomile, pear, quince aromas. Some of the examples show remarkable mineral component as well.
My favorite Turkish Grape. High acid, medium ranged wines with dark cherry, raspberry, Morello cherry jam, ripe red plump and chocolate. Suitable for ageing.
Due to its high tannin content, the only grape which birds don’t eat during harvest. Dark berries, black olive, tobacco, earth and Turkish coffee are dominant on the palate. Suitable for ageing.
“Turkish Pinot Noir”! Elegant, fruity wine with fresh wild strawberries, red currant, red cherry, pomegranate juice and hint of earth. Pair with Glazed Roast Turkey with Cranberry Stuffing.
Light bodied, medium high alcohol wines with red currant, cherry, dried fruits and cacao aromas. As elegant as Pinot Noir. Try it with gamey meats or pork sausages.
These were just the few indigenous grape varieties that can be found in Turkey. However, our lovely producers are working hard day by day to save forgotten grapes, and perfect what we already have.
Ayseli İzmen is a wine journalist, blogger and event planner based in Turkey. After her first wine course at the age of 18, she decided that she wanted to explore this world more and keep investing in education.
After graduating from McGill University, she worked for a private wine company as an assistant brand manager of the import and mass segment. After, she followed her passion and attend Le Cordon Bleu London Wine & Gastronomy & Management Diploma program. She has been blogging about wine since Jan 2016, and a social media influencer with over 7K followers.
Right now, while studying for WSET Diploma in London, she is working on different projects to turn her passion into profession.