After 7,000 years, Turkish wines are hitting the big time | Tech US News

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(CNN) – As one of the world’s oldest wine producers, with a history dating back some 7,000 years, Turkey’s winemakers are thriving in the revival of a deeply rooted craft.

Vineyards across the country are finding success growing and producing both local and imported grape varieties, winning awards and making their mark on the international market.

For wine enthusiasts, Turkey is a thriving and mostly undiscovered destination, from the Aegean coast to the hidden corners of Anatolia.

Here are some of the best Turkish vineyards by region:

Thrace

The family-owned Suvla winery near the Çanakkale Strait has more than 500 medals to its name.

The family-owned Suvla winery near the Çanakkale Strait has more than 500 medals to its name.

Yağmur Koç

Turkey’s first regional wine route, the Trakya Bağ Rotası (Thrace Vineyard Route) covers a large area stretching from the northwestern border town of Edirne to Gelibolu at the upper end of the Dardanelles Strait.
Chateau Nuzun was founded by Nazan and Necdet Uzun in 2004 with the conviction that good wines can only come from excellent grapes. The estate’s vineyards are cultivated with organic methods and produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Noir.
A major producer of wines ranging from the Turkish grapes Narince, Papaskarası and Kalecik Karası to Riesling and Petit Verdot, Chamlija is one of the best-known names in the region. Its bottles are always easily recognizable due to the original label art, created by Irem Çamlıca, the daughter of the vineyard’s founder, Mustafa Çamlıca.
Known for their low-intervention terroir wines, Arcadia Vineyards is also home to the Bakucha Vineyard Hotel, where drinking, dining and strolling among the vines and orchards make for a perfect stay for wine enthusiasts.
Aiming to re-establish Kırklareli as an important wine-growing region, Saranta bottles its first wines in 2011. One of the first Turkish vineyards to produce varietal wines from Ökügözü and Sémillon grapes and rosé from Cinsault grapes, the winery will open a modern hotel in 2023.
Prolific wine writer turned winemaker Şeyla Ergenekon and her husband Çağatay run Chateau Ergenekon, one of Turkey’s smallest organic vineyards, focusing on French grape varieties such as Syrah and Garnacha. Just this year, the duo celebrated a gold medal for their 2013 Bona Dea vintage at the 2022 Korea Wine Challenge.
Umurbey is one of the most established Thracian vineyards, having existed since 1993. It is one of the first vineyards in Turkey to produce wines only from its own grapes. There is a distance of only 500 meters between the vine and the production facility.

Barbare’s story began in 2000, when Can Topsakal bought land in Tekirdağ to start his own vineyard after studying in France. Together with Xavier Vignon, a leading winemaker and wine consultant for many château wineries in France, Topsakal turned Barbare into an award-winning wine that is often matured in oak barrels.

Near the base of the Gallipoli peninsula, Chateau Kalpak was established by Bülent Kalpaklıoğlu in 1991 after living in America and France and leaving the world of investment banking. Years of experimentation and research ensured before the first wines were released in 2013. They have since achieved a prestigious three-star rating from the AWC Vienna, on a par with Michelin stars in gastronomy.
Another big hit in the world of Turkish viticulture is the Suvla family winery, located in Eceabat on the Çanakkale Strait. With more than 500 medals to its name, Suvla’s organic vineyard produces elegant wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Garnacha Noir, Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir, as well as the grapes indigenous Kınalı. Yapincak and Karasakız.
An excellent place to taste wine and stay for a few days is the Caeli Winery and its vineyard accommodation, the Hotel Caeli. Under the direction of renowned French wine consultant Michel Rolland, Caeli was founded in 2011 and focuses on sustainable wine production methods and innovation, including a specially designed wine cellar. Its hotel, more like a museum with 39 works of contemporary art, uses ingredients from the Caeli Farm and Organic Garden in its gourmet restaurant.

Aegean

Iki Deniz Arasi Winery is the result of almost two decades of work to restore viticulture in a once prosperous wine region.

Iki Deniz Arasi Winery is the result of almost two decades of work to restore viticulture in a once prosperous wine region.

Serhat Akbay

Accounting for more than half of Turkey’s wine production, the Aegean region is perfect for wine growing and boasts a long list of endemic grape varieties that are enjoying their moment in the spotlight.

The history of Sevilen Vineyards & Winery dates back to 1942, when its founder Isa Güner emigrated from Bulgaria to Turkey. The third generation of the family now runs Sevilen, as well as the İsabey Bağları restaurant, where excellent Aegean dishes and Sevilen wines from Sultaniye to Karasakız, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot are combined.
As one of the largest organic wineries in Turkey, Lucien Arkas single plot vineyard is located on 288 hectares of land in İzmir. Preferring to harvest its grapes during cooler nighttime temperatures, the award-winning vineyard grows Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Marselan, Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano), Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Bornova Misketi.
With each wine named after one of the seven sages, Yedi Bilgeler is another highlight of the Aegean wine region, especially the architectural aesthetic of its hotel and restaurant, a synthesis of European castles and Anatolian caravanserais.
Winner of the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022 Gold Medal for its Boğazkere 2017 vintage, Perdix is ​​a family-run organic vineyard in Urla where wine tastings are enjoyed by the pool, overlooking the modern glass and stone architecture of its facilities .
Yedi Bilgeler is a standout from the Aegean wine region.

Yedi Bilgeler is a standout from the Aegean wine region.

Bilge Yamen

It is also in Urla where the small vineyards of the area have come together to create the Urla Wine Route, which celebrates a local winemaking history of almost 4,000 years. Part of the route are the award-winning Urla Wines, as well as the MMG, USCA, Urlice and Mozaik vineyards.
Founded in 2018 by Juan Pablo Diaz Leon and Ceylan Ertörer Diaz Leon, HUS is a family winery with a sustainable philosophy. Above the modern production facility, built in harmony with its natural surroundings, a tasting room and terrace overlook the vines and include two rooms for visitors who want to stay a little longer.
Known for its wine production before the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the viticulture of the village of Yağcılar was all but abandoned until Serhat Akbay began working on its revival in 1999. With the establishment of the winery in 2017, the Iki Deniz The Arası vineyard has completed its evolution, producing wines and offering tastings by reservation.
A striking glass facade is the first visual introduction to Nif, a vineyard known for using “gravity flow” techniques to protect the aroma of its grapes. Its own Gastro Wine Bar is also the perfect place to taste the vineyard’s vintages, ranging from the Italian Montepulciano grape varieties to the Turkish Narince, accompanied by dishes made with ingredients from the winegrower’s own garden.
Located in Balıkesir province, Madra was founded by former architect Fikret Özdemir in 2005 with its first wine production in 2012. Isolated at the top of the Madra Mountains, the vines benefit from an altitude of 500 meters, producing fragrant wines such as Bornova Misketi. and Öküzgözü as well as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all of which can be tasted in the Madra tasting room.
Of course, no mention of Turkish Aegean wines would be complete without a trip to the island of Bozcaada, whose urban center is a collection of wine bars and bars showcasing the best of its endemic grapes. Some of the island’s highlights include the long-standing Talay and Çamlıbağ wineries and the award-winning Corvus vineyard.
On the Bodrum peninsula, vineyards are slowly emerging among the landscape, experimenting with grape varieties and the temperament of the land. Inspired by Napa Valley wineries, Karnas Vineyards produces primarily Zinfandel wines, often paired with gourmet dishes at its vineyard restaurant. Other Bodrum winemakers include the well-known Garova Vineyards, founded by Mehmet Vuran, and Mor Salkım, founded by the late Hasan Tahsin Erdemir in 2015 and continued by his family, who also host live music days at their vineyard cafe.

Call

Kuzubağ is one of the youngest vineyards in the Çal region.

Kuzubağ is one of the youngest vineyards in the Çal region.

Asli Kuzu

The Çal Bağ Yolu is one of Turkey’s newest wine routes, created in 2021 to form an alliance between the four vineyards in the area and help rejuvenate Çal’s historic viticulture.
One of the newest vineyards here is Kuzubağ, founded by Salih Kuzu and his daughter Aslı Kuzu, residents of the neighboring village of Kuzubağ. Located at an altitude of 850 meters, the family winery produces the local Çalkarası grape, as well as Kalecik Karası, Öküzgözü, Narince, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Also on the route is Küp, one of Turkey’s most established vineyards, dating back to 1959. It is currently being operated by the second and third generation of the Altıntaş family, who have dramatically modernized the facilities, including a tasting room, specially designed wine cellar and a fully equipped laboratory.
Other members of the route include Lermonos, founded by Hürriyet Yılmaz, who restored one of Çal’s first wineries and brought it back to life, and Erdel, which operates the Hanchalar winery with its rosé blend Kalecik Karası and Oküzgözü Syrah.

Anatolia

Founded in 2018, HUS is a family winery with a sustainable philosophy.

Founded in 2018, HUS is a family winery with a sustainable philosophy.

Ceylan Ertorer Díaz León

One of the most difficult regions for wine production in Turkey still has successful vineyards, including Kavaklıdere Winery, Turkey’s first private sector wine producer founded in 1929 by Cenap And.
Founded in 2003 by two businesswomen who moved to Ankara’s Kalecik district to produce the local Kalecik Karası grape, Tafali opened its winery in 2019 and has been welcoming guests to its bucolic vineyard ever since.
Famous for its fairy chimneys, the Cappadocia region is also known for its wines, including Gelveri in the less touristy paradise of Güzelyurt, which produces natural wines in a restored Greek stone building, affectionately called the Taş Mahal (Stone-Mahal). Other important wineries include Turasan, one of the oldest wine producers in the region, and Kocabağ, founded by Mehmet Erdoğan in his garden in 1972 and now a modern family winery.
The grand tour of Turkey’s vineyards ends near Kayseri at Vinolus Winery and Sunolus Boutique Hotel. Vinolus, an organic vineyard producing Narince, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Kalecik Karası and Tempranillo, was founded by biologist and yoga instructor Oluş Molu, who took over her family’s farm and became one of the few vineyards in Turkey certified with the ECOCERT label .



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