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Winner Details

Turkey

2018 Gold 5       Silver 9                 Bronze 6             Commended 20
2017 Gold 6       Silver 7                 Bronze 10           Commended 22

Turkey’s march from ‘curiosity’ to ‘genuinely interesting wine producer’ has been one of the headline stories of the Sommelier Wine Awards over the past five years. Our tasters are increasingly aware of – and receptive to – the country’s wines and various styles.

And one of the recurring themes in this year’s tasting was the affection for the local grape varieties – particularly the whites. No surprise that only one of our five white medals was an international grape (the Sevilen Sauvignon Blanc), and even less of a surprise that the other four were Narince, which is acquiring something of a cult reputation among our tasters, who genuinely seem to love it.

The message with the reds was slightly different. Our tasters loved most of what came in (while still aware that the tannin levels might not be to the liking of absolutely everyone). But the indigenous grape varieties here are trickier to pronounce and understand; good as the wines are, they’re perhaps more of a hand-sell and require a sommelier with a deft touch. Cabernet et al, in other words, have a place.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘I’m quite keen on Turkish wine. They’re getting better, too. The indigenous whites are the most interesting. I wouldn’t bother with Sauvignon or Chardonnay.’ Simone Fadda, Roka Aldwych

‘There was serious quality in the reds, and really good value. It’s not at a point where you could put more than one of these on a list, but if you included one you’d be happy.’ Andrés Ituarte, Coq d’Argent

‘The whites are a bit easier to sell than the reds. People don’t like to order something they can’t pronounce.’ Andrea Briccarello, team leader

‘I probably like the Kalecik Karası most. For people that look for different varieties, and different countries, those would work. But you’d need to put them in the glass for them to try, or they wouldn’t trust it.’ Janusz Pawel Sasiadek, Bottles & Battles

‘A couple of the white styles here were reminiscent of Mâconnais – ripe, fresh and clean – all the way up to the very aromatic, unique wines, with great winemaking behind them, and decent prices throughout. You can really work with these.’ Mattia Mazzi, Lutyens Bar & Restaurants

‘Some very exciting things going on. The Oküzgözü are rough diamonds, but a bit of dirt doesn’t do any harm.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘The most successful reds were made in a more hands-off way, less extraction and colour. Three or four under £10 would work with food and add value to the list.’ Hamish Anderson, Tate Catering

Award winners

Found 30 wines

Turkey: Red

Diren, Collection, Kalecik Karası 2015, Tokat, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey

Gold medal winner

Along with his fellow judges, team leader Laurent Richet MS heaped praise on this Gold medallist’s ‘easy, fruity and welcoming’ style, approving of its ‘vibrant aromatic and punchy nose of dark fruit and red flowers’. ‘Light cranberry and currant notes, with light, balanced tannins and a leafy underbrush finish,’ said Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte, while Sumilier’s Sumita Sarma thought it was a ‘juicy and lovely wine with ripe tannins and a spicy finish’ that made it perfect for roast chicken.

£5.49 Taste Turkey

Kavaklıdere, Egeo, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Aegean, Turkey

Gold medal winner

The ‘minty and black fruit aromas’ of this substantial Gold-winning Cabernet Sauvignon were followed by ‘a palate of fairly heavy tannins that balance the dark fruit, along with some soft acidity, but balanced’, according to Vinoteca’s Charlie Young, while Frédéric Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa noted ‘elegant red berries on the nose, as well as coffee and leathery notes with black pepper, and good tannins and acidity’.

£8.66 Tees

Sevilen, Güney, Boğazkere/Oküzgözü 2016, Aegean, Turkey

Gold medal winner

A Gold to go with Sevilen’s pair of white wine medals. Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson liked its ‘simple, juicy fruit, with plum, blackberry and gentle spice, in a very well-made and easy style’, while team leader Angela Reddin highlighted ‘dark fruit aromas, raisins and spiced prunes, then a very rich, fruity core on the palate, smooth tannins and just enough punch to show backbone and length’. For Sumilier’s Sumita Sarma, ‘ripe red cherries with vanilla and cinnamon, dusty, grainy tannins and some hints of earthiness, combined with lovely acidity’ sealed the deal.

£8.89 Matthew Clark

Doluca, Kav, Boğazkere/Oküzgözü 2014, Anatolia, Turkey

Silver medal winner

Team leader Nigel Lister liked this wine’s ‘ripe, forest fruit nose, then soft, juicy and appealing palate with a light touch and notes of milk chocolate’, while fellow team leader Andrea Briccarello picked up ‘great intensity on the nose, lots of sweet vanilla, blueberry, cranberry and cherry stone with a juicy feel’.

£10.96 Bibendum

Pamukkale, Nodus, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Aegean, Turkey

Silver medal winner

An ‘aromatic, lifted wine’, began team leader Laurent Richet MS, who highlighted ‘game and dark fruit, herbaceous aromas, suggestions of manure and spices, floral and complex on the finish, showing well where it comes from’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte picked up ‘tart red fruits, super-bright acids with big tannins, sour cherry resonating with some oak and spice’.

£19.99 Anatolian Foods

Mey Içki, Kayra, BBQ Blend 2015, Thrace, Turkey

Silver medal winner

‘A good wine, well structured, with black cherry and liquorice aromas, coal and toasty earthy character on the palate,’ said Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte, adding that it was a ‘wine that can be cellared’. ‘Attractive and vibrant, nice winter warmer with notes of prune, manure and fresh-harvested hay,’ added team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£17.00 Mey Icki Sanayi ve Tic. A.S /Kayra Wines

Kavaklıdere, Selection, Oküzgözü/Boğazkere 2014, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey

Silver medal winner

‘Light in colour, with an appealing nose of raspberries and flowers,’ began Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson, finding it ‘Nebbiolo-esque in its structure, with a delicate palate of floral notes and high savoury bitterness, along with forest fruit on the finish’. ‘Very pleasant, very drinkable,’ added Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse, while team leader Angela Reddin noted ‘cherry stone and loganberries, lifted ripeness, some benign residual sugar, and very moreish’.

£7.69 Tees

Kavaklıdere, Pendore, Syrah 2013, Aegean, Turkey

Silver medal winner

‘Begins a little restrained, with red cherry and blackcurrant notes, but leads into a palate with brooding, full body and ample fruit, along with complex coffee and tobacco characters,’ said Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn. ‘Complexity on the nose, great spice, black pepper and oak with a touch of green on the finish,’ added Frédéric Billet of Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa.

£15.00 Tees

Kavaklıdere, Prestige, Kalecik Karası 2013, Central Anatolia, Turkey

Silver medal winner

Street XO’s Raphael Thierry enjoyed this wine’s ‘plummy red fruit nose, followed by a nice florality and juicy tannic structure with a hint of leather on the finish’, while team leader Laurent Richet MS felt it was ‘a good step up, great work in concentrating all the flavours, like strawberry jam with an alcoholic finish, yet accomplished’.

£12.13 Tees

Kavaklıdere, Prestige, Oküzgözü 2012, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey

Silver medal winner

‘Deep and dark forest fruits on the nose, a jammy palate, fresh and vibrant character,’ began team leader Andrea Briccarello, with fellow team leader Nigel Lister noting ‘black cherry pastille aromas, nice plums and blackcurrant lozenge fruit coupled with brisk acidity’.

£12.13 Tees

Doluca, Tuğra, Oküzgözü 2015, Aegean, Turkey

Bronze medal winner

This caught the attention of Carolina Seibel of Portland Restaurant with its ‘oaky blackberry and plum aromas, good structure and tannins’, and she described it as ‘well made with a dark chocolate finish’. Meanwhile team leader Nigel Lister found it ‘good value, with developed sweet black cherry and manure notes, chewy fruit and good acidity’.

£8.14 TEES Ltd.

Urla, Tempus 2016, Aegean, Turkey

Bronze medal winner

‘Savoury, stone and leafy aromas, big and powerful, and very much a big mouthful,’ said Vinoteca’s Charlie Young, of the opinion that ‘matched with the right food the fruit will shine’. Team leader Jade Koch agreed: ‘Heady, purple and intense, lean and juicy with bramble fruits, good potential with game.’

£21.25 Taste Turkey

Urla, Vourla 2016, Aegean, Turkey

Bronze medal winner

Janusz Pawel Sasiadek of Bottles & Battles enjoyed the ‘rich, mature black fruits, great velvety tannins with tobacco and chocolate notes’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte felt this wine ‘needs food but has delicious blackberry bush and iron aromas, and a leafiness that really shines’.

£12.49 Taste Turkey

Diren, Collection, Oküzgözü 2014, Tokat, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey

Bronze medal winner

With its ‘dusty, hot bitumen and dried fruit aromas, and chalky tannins’, team leader Angela Reddin found this a ‘medium all-rounder’, and Tate Catering’s Hamish Anderson thought its ‘brambly, confected nose and juicy, high acid and balance would appeal to many’.

£5.49 Taste Turkey

Kavaklıdere, Egeo, Blend 2015, Aegean, Turkey

Bronze medal winner

‘Dry, pure, and to the point,’ began Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte, ‘offering great value with plum and currant fruit, mossy cedar and spice notes, concentrated and yummy.’ Street XO’s Raphael Thierry also noted plum, as well as ‘blueberry and dark spices, good structure and floral complexity’.

£8.66 Tees

Büyülübağ, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Thrace, Turkey

Commended medal winner

Doluca, DLC, Oküzgözü 2015, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£6.16 TEES Ltd.

Doluca, Tuğra, Kalecik Karası 2016, Central Anatolia, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£8.14 TEES Ltd.

Doluca, Kızılcaterzi, Merlot 2013, Thrace, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£17.00 Doluca

Kastro Tireli, Karkaia 2014, Akhisar, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£13.21 Sonvino

Pamukkale, Anfora, Merlot 2016, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

Pamukkale, Nodus, Shiraz 2015, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£15.00 Anatolian Foods

Pamukkale, Anfora, Oküzgözü 2016, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

Pamukkale, Sava, Classic 2017, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

Mey Içki, Kayra, Versus, Alpagut, Oküzgözü 2015, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey

Commended medal winner

Mey Içki, Kayra, Oküzgözü 2013, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey

Commended medal winner

Urla, Nero d'Avola/Urla Karası 2016, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£18.43 Taste Turkey

Kavaklıdere, Egeo, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2015, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£8.66 Tees

Kavaklıdere, Pendore, Oküzgözü 2015, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£13.08 Tees

Sevilen, Plato, Kalecik Karası 2015, Güney-Denizli, Aegean, Turkey

Commended medal winner

£11.21 Try Wines

 

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