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Feb 11
Reviews (Drinks), Wine
Istanbul Eats Drinks: Kavaklıdere Narince 2008

(Editor’s Note: We’ve recently been lucky enough to make the acquaintance of Serdar Kombe, one of Turkey’s leading oenophiles. These are exciting times for Turkish wine and Serdar has generously agreed to start a guest column for us about the subject. In his first review for us, he takes a look at a favorite classic of his.)

In my first review, I want to provide some of information and degustation notes about one of my favorite white wines: Prestige Narince, made solely out of 2008 harvest Narince grapes grown in Kavaklıdere’s Côtes d’Avanos vineyards in Cappadocia.

While Narince, a grape varietal indigenous to Turkey, is usually grown around the central Anatolian city Tokat, recently, due to the changing climate and increasing rains, as well as phylloxera disease, Kavaklıdere winemakers were pushed to look for new places to grow the grape. However, I think these seemingly negative developments enabled the Narince grape to evolve toward a better state and earn a more marketable name.

Kavaklıdere’s Cappadocia vineyards are 950 meters above sea level. The vineyards are located on the north-south axis. In that region, summers are hot and dry, winters cold and snowy. Thanks to the nearby Kızılırmak river, there is a microclimate around the vineyards. The soil is mostly volcanic, low or medium alkali, saltless, calcareous and weak in terms of organic materials and nutrients. The soil cannot absorb and hold much water. All these properties actually increase the quality of the grapes, especially for white wine. In summer the vineyards are under a strong but not too hot sun. The temperature varies between night and day, hence the grapes can ripen with a healthy acidity. The harvest time is between August 20 and October 20.

Kavaklıdere Narince 2008 – Tasting Notes:

The wine is kept in French oak barrels and has a deep, bright, golden-yellow color.

It carries the aromas of lime, linden, orange blossoms, acacia and fumes originating from the oak.

It leaves an elegant, slightly oily, acidity-alcohol balanced, medium-long ending, complex taste in the mouth.

I can recommend consuming it with olive oil-based dishes, eggplant mezes, mild cream sauce pastas, steamed fish stews, grilled salmon and other grilled seafood.

If you like Burgundy-style chardonnays with a less oaky taste, fresh and alive acidity and a slightly creamy touch, you will like Narince 2008.

(The wine is available in wine shops throughout Istanbul and costs around 45 lira.)

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4 Responses to “ Istanbul Eats Drinks: Kavaklıdere Narince 2008 ”
  1. I am looking forward to your coming articles about Turkish wine. I am originally from California and my uncle was a sommelier. I grew up around great wines and great tastes. Since moving here four years ago, I have found very few wines that I really enjoy. I will definitely look for this one and give it a taste.

  2. Like CharSur already said, I am also looking forward to your suggestions very much. I am a wine and food lover from Germany, living in Istanbul for around two weeks which may explain my very limited (even that is an exaggeration) language skills. At least I am able now to pronounce the grapes in an understandable manner. However, are there any suggestions concerning wine shops with English-speaking staff?

    I would also love to read about smaller producers with more individualistic approaches (adoring the wines and winegrowers of the Loire valley, I have to admit). There has to be something beyond the national giants like Kavaklıdere or Doluca…

  3. Congratulations, guys! I’m really glad you have included wine into the blog; this goes very in line with the recently increasing efforts of Turkish wine producers to market their wines in Turkey and abroad.

    Serdar, thanks for the great review – in particular I found the food pairing suggestions very helpful.

    @ ChezMatze: you may want to check out Sensus Wine Boutique by the Galata Tower: they carry an excellent range of Turkish wines and have knowledgeable staff. And as for the smaller producers recently I’ve enjoyed reading about Corvus from the island of Bozcaada, they are a boutique producer who is restoring wine making traditions in the area – you can find the article here

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