Love Old World wines and looking for something new? Try the wines from Vinkara Winery in Turkey, a place where winemaking started some 15,000 years ago.
Vinkara is a leader in the production of indigenous Anatolian grape varietals. They are now introducing their wines to the United States.
Vinkara Winery is located in Kalecik, in the Ankara Province in north-central Turkey. The village gives its name to Kalecik Karasi, a red wine grape that originated there.
Vinkara’s 135 acres of vineyards are planted at an altitude of 2,000 feet, and are influenced by a continental climate with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. The grapes for all their wines are harvested by hand, and grow in a mix of sand, clay and limestone soils with high mineral content.
I had a chance to taste two of Vinkara’s wines – the Narince Reserve 2012 and the Kalecik Karasi Reserve 2012.
Narince, pronounced nah-rin-djeh and meaning ‘delicately’ in Turkish, is a white wine grape. The 2012 Narince Reserve is a dry white wine that is reminiscent of Chardonnay or a fuller boded Sauvignon Blanc. It opens with citrus, tropical and floral aromas. On the palate are flavors of pear, grapefruit, pineapple and white flowers, with a touch of vanilla and well-balanced acidity. $25, 13.5% abv
The Kalecik Karasi Reserve 2012, pronounced kah-le-djic car-ah-ser (with ‘er’ as in ‘father’), immediately brought to mind a spicy Pinot Noir or Gamay. This dry red wine is medium-bodied with aromas of red fruits, spice and smoke. Plum, red cherry and blackberry flavors are layered with black pepper, nutmeg and subtle notes of smoked meat. Smooth tannins and a lingering finish make it a really pleasing sip. The wine was aged for 14 months in French oak barrels.
$27, 13.5% abv
Though the wine producing region may be unfamiliar and the names may be a bit awkward to pronounce, all you need to know is that the wines of Vinkara are easy to drink and approachable, and well worth seeking out.
For more information on Vinkara Winery visit www.vinkarawines.com.
Vinkara wines are imported by The Winebow Group.