Are there any wine lovers out there who don’t carry wines in their luggage, from one country to another? I always love to come back with arms full of wine bottles when I am visiting a place. Recently I’ve traveled between Canada and Turkey. When I was going to Turkey, I’ve took some bottles of ice wines from Nova Scotia to pair with Turkish desserts. And of course, when I was coming back to Canada, I’ve brought some Turkish wines with me in my luggage.
When I’ve arrived to Nova Scotia, I’ve met Francisco Diez, who was returning from Chile, and done the same thing: Come back to Nova Scotia with some local wines from his region, Itata Valley. That moment, we had this brilliant idea to bring these “unusual” wines together, and organize a tasting for winemakers, sommeliers and wine lovers of Nova Scotia, whom we have met along the way.
In total we had 6 bottles; 3 from Turkey, 3 from Itata Valley: 2 sparkling wines, 2 whites and 2 reds. Luckily, we had Peter Gamble, renowned wine consultant, who kindly offered to give us 2 more red wines from Itata Valley, although unfortunately he couldn’t join us in the tasting. So, in the end we had 8 wines in our line-up.
The tasting started with my presentation about “Wines of Turkey”. I have been collecting some general information in different resources; most reliable English source being the Wines of Turkey, although not very up-to-date. I wanted to give a focus on the long history of wine production in Anatolia, for that the best article I’ve found was from the Wine Stalker, he’d made a great job in summarizing couple of thousand years.
Following, Francisco gave a presentation about “Itata Valley” and the complete terroir of the region. When I say “complete terroir” I mean it: it is very usual that “human factor” is missing in many of the terroir definitions, which is a very important element of the whole concept. In that sense, Francisco’s presentation included it all, giving information about the people who is involved in production, and the viticultural practices that they have been applying in place.
Moreover, we have given some information about the origin of the grape varieties which were used in these wines. For that part, we have used the book “Wine Grapes: A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours” written by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz. This book is a great source to connect the origin of grape varieties and see all the names that are used in different countries for the same grape variety.
After the presentations, we went straight forward to tasting. In total, we were 16 people so everybody had enough wine to taste.
Viña Mirador del Valle, Alma Verde 2015: Sparkling white wine from Moscatel de Alejandria grapes.
This wine is made by Lucia Torres, who is a local producer of Itata Valley, from Moscatel de Alejandria grapes that are coming from her own vineyards. Moscatel de Alejandria is an aromatic white variety that is used for producing young wines or distilled spirits.
This wine had light and bright yellow color with green rim, and very excited small to medium sized bubbles. In the nose, it had intense fruit aromas of green apples and nectarine, very elegant floral aromas of subtle lavender and jasmine. In the mouth, it was light and fresh with medium acidity, having the fruit aromas which were present in the nose.
Vinkara, Yaşasın 2015: Sparkling rosé wine from Kalecik Karası grapes.
This wine is produced by Vinkara, which is a winery located in Kalecik, closed to capital city of Turkey, using the local red grape variety Kalecik Karasi (black of Kalecik). This variety is generally is used to produce medium-bodied fresh red wines or rosé wines.
This wine, being the first traditional method sparkling wine of Turkey, is very special. It has a lovely onion skin to pink color, with fine bubbles. In the nose, toasted bread, brioche and almond aromas welcomed me as the first aromas, and then comes the red fruit aromas of cherry and raspberry. In the mouth, it’s long with nice and silky texture, balanced acidity and it finishes with a touch of savory flavor.
Pipeño Chile, Moscatel Florida 2016: White wine from Moscatel de Alejandria grapes.
From the whites, Pipeño was a real hit: It’s a typical wine from Chilean country side with its unique style, very rustic.
The fermentation of that wine is made in rauli vats, a native Chilean tree which gives very particular flavors to wine. After the spontaneous fermentation, they let it sit in the tanks, sometimes half empty, which provokes some oxidation of the color and aromas, plus the ‘filtration’ just by gravity. With these characteristics, this wine really stood out, it was something completely different for the local palates of Nova Scotia.
To begin with this wine is turbid, with yellow color. In the nose, it stroke me with aromas of matchstick, salt, sulfur and oxidation – but everything was in balance that it had a unique complexity. I always thought I would be the last person who says this, since I am very picky with these kind of controversial aromas which might be considered as faults, but this time it was the case where they really suited the style of the wine. In the mouth, it had a good acidity with full body, thanks to the tannins coming from the rauli vats. Very interesting wine.
Kavaklıdere, Prestige 2016: White wine from Narince grapes.
Prestige Narince has a bright yellow color with gold hues. In the nose it was very intense and complex with aromas of citrus fruits, white flowers, vanilla and honey. In the mouth, it had a round body with buttery finish and medium acidity. The palates of Nova Scotia found this acidity as low, since the perception of acidity, as all the other sensory characteristics, is highly dependent to cultural cuisine. Comparing the acidity of local white wines of Nova Scotia, this wine definitely had lower acidity.
Vinos de Patio, Nüyün 2017: Red wine from Cinsault
This wine is made by Luis Lagos, who is the third generation of a vigneron family who has been dedicated to keeping the ancestral vines of Guarilihue alive. Name of this wine, Nuyun, comes from the native Mapudungun language, meaning ‘tremble of earth’, referring to the characteristics of soils in Guarilihue; clayey and cracked, as you can also see from the label.
Nüyün had a bright and light cherry color. The aromas were very fresh, red fruits, sour cherries, raspberries and strawberry yogurt. The freshness continued in the mouth, with lingering acidity and soft tannins.
Pedro Parra, Imaginador 2017: Red wine from Cinsault grapes.
This wine is made by Pedro Parra, a renowned Chilean winemaker and terroir consultant who works all around the world. Pedro Parra explains here in a very detailed way the terroir of Itata.
As the previous wine, Imaginador 2017 comes from Guarilihue region of Itata Valley, however from vineyards with different type of soil – all in the upper part of the hills, over granitic soils. It was a great experience to taste these 2 wines side by side, from the same region, same grape variety and compare how the soil type and winemaking can change the style of the wines.
Imaginador, which means dreamer, was shining in the glass with its garnet red color. It had an impressive complexity of aromas and flavors. In the nose, the fruit aromas were very present, cherries, blackberries, strawberries, also some spiciness and earthy notes in the end. In the mouth, it had good acidity and balance with silky tannins.
Pedro Parra, Pencopolitano 2017: Red Wine from Cinsault & País grapes.
Another wine made by Pedro Parra, this one is a blend of Cinsault & País grapes, bringing together rusticity of País, with the fruity freshness of Cinsault grapes. The name of this wine, Pencopolitano means “citizen of Concepción”, which is the capital of Bío Bío Region of Chile.
Pencopolitano had a bright garnet color, with pronounced intensity of aromas, red fruits, cranberries, red plums, some herbal aromas, lavender. In the mouth, I felt the freshness of Cinsault grapes and the body of Pais grapes in a harmony, with a pleasant after taste of red fruits.
Doluca, Kav 2015: Red wine Boğazkere & Öküzgözü grapes.
This wine is produced by Doluca Wines, which is a winery with a long history in Anatolia. Since 3 generations, as well as growing international varieties, they also work with local ones. My selection was the most emblematic red blend of Turkey made from Boğazkere & Öküzgözü grapes: Tannic Boğazkere grapes from Southeastern Anatolia comes together Öküzgözü grapes from Eastern Anatolia to create a harmonious blend.
This was one of my favourite Öküzgözü & Boğazkere blend, from the tasting that I’ve attended in Izmir last January, with invitation of my winemaker and wine consultant friend, Işık Gülçubuk. In that tasting we have tasted 17 wines, all Öküzgözü & Boğazkere blends from different producers. After long discussions on that tasting table, with helpful suggestions of Semril Zorlu, winemaker and wine consultant, I was convinced to bring Doluca Kav to Canada, to represent these varieties.
Doluca Kav has a deep ruby color. In the nose it is dominated by black fruits, blackberries, mulberries, and some spices, elegant with some leather aromas. In the mouth really stood out with its full body and present tannins, it has a great potential to age in bottle.
All in all, it was a great tasting, with enthusiastic people around the table, and unique wines which traveled from different parts of the world to show their roots! Both Francisco and I were proud to show a taste of our countries to Nova Scotia.
All images © 2019 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: The wine reviews represent my personal notes taken during the tasting. This is not a paid post.