Turkey first appeared on the Sommelier Wine Awards stage in 2013, and has been a consistent performer ever since. Given how difficult things are politically for the country’s producers right now, the consistency is especially impressive.
Like Greece, there are a lot of great of interesting indigenous grape varieties on display here, which our tasters thoroughly enjoyed, ranging from perfumed Narinces to winsome Kaleciks and muscular Öküzgözüs. There’s a lot to like about the local scene.
However, unlike Greece, Turkey has a large number of international grape varieties. While our tasters preferred the local wines, a glance at the medals reveals that there is also some excellent winemaking with Cab, Chardonnay, Merlot, and other varietals.
It would have been nice to see a few more good sub-£10 wines, but Turkey is not easy to make wine in, so our judges were understanding. And it makes the Diren Kalecik’s jaw-droppingly low Gold/Critics’ Choice win all the more impressive. This wine has received a Gold Medal five times in the last six years. So, if there’s one wine you should look into, it’s probably this one. For more information please visit the official website of “Sommelier Wine Awards” at sommelierwineawards.com
Lucien Arkas Baglari, Mon Rêve, Öküzgözü 2018, Aegean, Turkey
‘Rounded and polished, this is a fruity, juicy wine with an earthy finish and a peppery aftertaste.’ Bianca Potenza, 212 Amsterdam. ‘Notes of wild flowers and wild berries, followed by a delicate palate that’s soft and smooth. A very elegant wine with great acidity and good balance.’ Matteo Furlan, The Ritz London. ‘A light, fresh, easy style, with redcurrants and cherries, and some herbal notes.’ Angela Reddin, team leader.
Diren, Collection, Kalecik Karasi 2018, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey
‘A subtle and elegant wine, almost Gamay-like and refreshing, this is youthful, with red berries and red flowers. Great.’ Olivier Marie, team leader. ‘A bit rustic in style, with juicy cherry, strawberry and raspberry notes, and firm tannins.’ Adam Michocki, The Man Behind The Curtain. ‘With primary red and blackberry fruit, this is a good house wine option for specialist restaurants, served with antipasti.’ Claire Love, Loves Consultancy.
Pamukkale, Nodus, Cabernet Franc/Merlot 2017, Güney-Denizli, Aegean, Turkey
‘With plummy black fruit, cassis and cedar spice, this has a very sleek mouthfeel, peppery but in balance, and with a gorgeous finish.’ Angela Reddin, team leader. ‘This has a tea-like nose with some strawberries and blackcurrants and some demerara sugar. That tea character follows through on the palate.’ Jade Koch, team leader. ‘A well-made wine that would work well in high-end restaurants.’ Raphael Thierry, consultant.
Pamukkale, Arti, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2017, Güney-Denizli, Aegean, Turkey
‘Super cool and elegant, with a fluid palate and a dry finish.’ Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche. ‘Good structure and winemaking – an effortless, juicy wine.’ Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone. ‘Potpourri, dried black fruit and spice on the nose, leading to dense jammy fruit and some peppery tannins.’ Angela Reddin, team leader. ‘A whisper of red berries and strawberries, with a gentle palate. An all-day-long red wine.’ Riccardo Guzzardo, Hakkasan Mayfair.
Vinkara, Mahzen, Kalecik Karasi 2016, Ankara, Turkey
‘A delicate and feminine style, with an elegant nose and floral character. Great by-the-glass material.’ Olivier Marie, team leader. ‘This has a lightness of touch, with a light bramble nose and good acidity.’ Claire Love, Loves Consultancy. ‘With its light, fresh body and great fruit and spice, this would be great as a chilled red in the summer.’ Timothy Connor, Heddon Street Kitchen.
Kavaklidere, Côtes d’Avanos, Chardonnay 2018, Central Anatolia, Turkey
‘A polished wine with rich peach, ripe lemon and ripe mango, minerality and a creamy texture on the rich and opulent palate.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader. ‘Strong sea breeze salinity, with a concentrated mid palate and gentle grip.’ Oliver Zelenczuk, London Shell Co. ‘With apricot notes, good acidity and minerality, this can stand up to meaty fish dishes like Dover sole meunière.’ Arturo Scamardella, The Ritz London.
Kavaklidere, Pendore, Öküzgözü 2016, Aegean, Turkey
‘Elegant and with personality, this has intense red fruit notes, with leather, tobacco and dried flowers too. Different, and very interesting.’ Matteo Furlan, The Ritz London. ‘A super-enjoyable, juicy red, with blackberries and a bit of baking spice, as well as mocha and chocolate notes, and a velvet texture. Great for a premium steak house.’ Tim Handley, Royal Automobile Club.
Lucien Arkas Baglari, Antre, Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Aegean, Turkey
‘Opening with fresh nectarine aromas and sweet herbs, this has light green notes on a fine and balanced palate.’ Andre Luís Martins, team leader. ‘With some lime, mango and orange notes and a fresh, mineral, salty character, this would be good with oysters and raw fish.’ Arturo Scamardella, The Ritz London.
Doluca, Sarafin, Fume Blanc 2018, Thrace, Turkey
‘This is smoky on the nose, with notes of tangerine and lime running through, and a crisp finish.’ Nelio Pinto, Candlesticks. ‘Creamy, with stone fruit notes and a flinty element too, this is refreshing, with some good acidity.’ Bianca Potenza, 212 Amsterdam. ‘Lime, grape and grapefruit – a refreshing wine to pair with raw fish and shellfish.’ Arturo Scamardella, The Ritz London.
Doluca, Karma, Shiraz/Bogazkere 2017, Aegean, Turkey
‘Juicy, with good restraint and concentration, this is an effortless wine with some clean winemaking behind it.’ Mattia Mazzi, Cornerstone. ‘A well-balanced wine with aromatic thyme and pepper notes on the nose, leading to a juicy palate with friendly tannins.’ Oliver Zelenczuk, London Shell Co.
Pamukkale, Anfora, Shiraz 2018, Güney-Denizli, Aegean, Turkey
‘There’s complexity and concentration here, with black olives and dried herbs, and good structure and balance.’ Guillaume Mahaut, ETM Group. ‘This has a beautiful fruit profile on the nose, leading to a super-smooth palate and a clean finish.’ Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche.
Suvla , Sur 2017, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey
‘Bright, with life and personality, this has oak and vanilla character, and lots of raspberry and cherry fruit. It would be good with lamb chops.’ Jade Koch, team leader. ‘This is a broad and finely perfumed wine that’s chunky and modern in style.’ Olivier Gasselin, OenoTrade.
Suvla , Reserve, Karasakiz 2017, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey
‘With its bright red fruits, this is super-fresh – a really interesting wine that needs food.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader. ‘This is subtle and light, with a delicate nose that’s rather elegant, leading to a floral character with rose petals and potpourri complexity.’ Olivier Marie, team leader.
Kavaklidere, Egeo, Syrah 2017, Aegean, Turkey
‘Opening with fresh ripe cassis and some light herbal and spice aromas, this leads to fresh and rich red and black fruits with some light black tobacco notes too.’ Andre Luís Martins, team leader. ‘With notes of fresh tapenade, black cherries and fresh herbs, this has good complexity and structure, with a little smokiness on the finish.’ Guillaume Mahaut, ETM Group.
Lucien Arkas Baglari, Idol, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2018, Aegean, Turkey
‘This opens with ripe red cherry and sweet Morocco spices, leading to fresh tobacco leaves with nice chocolate and coffee aromas. A well-balanced wine.’ Andre Luís Martins, team leader. ‘An elegant wine with sweet spices, ripe plums and a lingering, pleasant finish.’ Lucie Hammerschmiedova, Portland Restaurant.
Doluca, Sarafin, Chardonnay 2018, Thrace, Turkey
‘An elegant white wine that’s extremely well-balanced and structured, with aromas of jasmine flowers, peaches and apricot, and flavours of jammy tropical fruits like mango and pineapple, with a creamy, buttery feel. Very easy to drink, and will pair with most seafood and salads.’ Cinthia Lozano, The Winery Honduras.
Pamukkale, Nodus, Shiraz 2017, Güney-denizli, Aegean, Turkey
‘The aromatic palate here is really diverse, from fruit to spice, and with integrated oak, a lovely texture and very pleasant finish.’ Rémi Cousin, Le Gavroche. ‘This has notes of dark cherry, ripe plum and dark chocolate with black pepper, and some smoky, herbal and mineral notes.’ Markus Dilger, Dilger Sommelier Selection.
Vinkara, Narince 2019, Ankara, Turkey
‘Intense aromas of green apples and pears lead to exquisite flavours of guava, pineapples and peaches. Amazing structure, and utterly refreshing. Good value for money too, and would go perfectly with seafood. An interesting wine.’ Cinthia Lozano, The Winery Honduras.
Suvla , Reserve, Syrah 2016, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey
‘This has ripe black cherries on the nose, with waxy notes and a meatiness too, leading to powerful power tannins with dark chocolate and coffee on the palate, with an amazing finish.’ Andre Luís Martins, team leader. ‘With black cassis on the nose, and luscious ripe fruit on the palate, this is a big wine in all respects, but without the heaviness. Very stylish.’ Angela Reddin, team leader.
Kavaklidere, Egeo, Malbec 2018, Aegean, Turkey
‘A serious, dark and complex wine, with flavours of meat, game, dried sour cherries and dried roses – savoury and deep.’ Lucie Hammerschmiedova, Portland Restaurant. ‘Luscious, perfumed and insanely fruity, with intense red bramble fruits, framboise, rosehip and a grind of pepper, leading to luscious, fleshy summer berry coulis with a delightful peppery kick.’ Angela Reddin, team leader.
Kavaklidere, Côtes d’Avanos, Narince 2018, Central Anatolia, Turkey
‘A very interesting and well-balanced wine with sweet spice like nutmeg, coconut and vanilla, and some apricots and stone fruit. One for fine-dining restaurants.’ Anja Breit, abWINEconsulting. ‘Rich, complex and elegant, with tropical fruit balanced well with freshness, and a lovely long finish.’ Daniel Eriksen, Anglian Country Inns.
Kastro Tireli, Narince/Viognier 2018, Aegean, Turkey
‘Notes of peach, apricot, citrus skin and pith, with an additional mineral and almost saline note, and a savoury herbal character.’ Laura Rhys MS, team leader. ‘An intriguing wine with some pastry and marzipan cake, as well as orange blossom and almond notes, and a salty, savoury note.’ Guillaume Mahaut, ETM Group.
Kastro Tireli, Junus 2015, Aegean, Turkey
‘This is quite complex on the nose, with some stewed and dried berry notes alongside coffee and spice, with a lick of orange peel. On the palate there’s good balance, with all the flavours quite well integrated.’ Sam Weatherill, Etch. by Steven Edwards. ‘Rich, full-bodied and earthy, with some persistent tannins.’ Bianca Potenza, 212 Amsterdam.
Lucien Arkas Baglari, Idol, Ugni Blanc/Chardonnay 2019, Aegean, Turkey
Lucien Arkas Baglari, Smyrna, Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Aegean, Turkey
Doluca, DLC, Öküzgözü 2018, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey
Doluca, DLC, Grenache 2018, Thrace, Turkey
Doluca, Theodora, Öküzgözü/Bogazkere 2017, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey
Doluca, DLC, Moskado 2018, Aegean, Turkey
Doluca, Kav, Bogazkere/Öküzgözü 2018, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey
Doluca , Sarafin, Shiraz 2016, Thrace , Turkey
Doluca, Signium, Chardonnay/Viognier/Narince 2017, Thrace, Turkey
Doluca , Signium, Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Öküzgözü/Petit Verdot 2017, Thrace , Turkey
Doluca, Alcitepe, Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2017, Thrace, Turkey
Doluca, Alcitepe, Kirte, Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Thrace, Turkey
Pamukkale, Anfora, Narince 2018, Güney-Denizli, Aegean, Turkey
Suvla , Öküzgözü 2018, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey
Suvla , Chardonnay 2019, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey
Kavaklidere, Egeo, Merlot 2017, Aegean, Turkey
Kavaklidere, Selection, Öküzgözü/Bogazkere 2016, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey
Kavaklidere, Selection Narince/Emir 2016, Central Anatolia, Turkey