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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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