Think of the world’s fine wines and which countries do you immediately think of – France, Australia, Chile?
I am guessing that Turkey wouldn’t even appear on that list. But in fact Turkey has more than 1200 named grape varieties, both international and indigenous, and the climate and soil in many parts of the country lend themselves exceptionally well to wine production.
Historically wine historians believe that viticulture and wine making originated in this part of the world and whilst its history is one of the most ancient in the world, the modern Turkish wine industry is in fact very young with the first commercial winery being founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1925.
Most of us when visiting Kalkan will opt for house wine, or select a cheap bottle of wine from the shelves of the supermarket. I have to ask why? Would we choose to pay the equivalent of 3 GBP a bottle in the UK? Probably not, but when we are on holiday in Kalkan that is exactly what we do and then question the quality.
The truth is that the Turkish wine industry is on the cusp of great things. As well as the established wineries, local producers are now looking to raise their profile by turning out some excellent wines. No longer content to stick at the low to medium end of the market they are now looking to compete in the premium sector. And in recent years Turkish wines have performed really well at both the London International Wine Fair and the Decanter World Wine Awards. I am told that The Fat Duck at Bray, home to the illustrious Heston Bloomenthal now has a Turkish Sommelier and has an extensive selection of Turkish wines on his list……now that can’t be bad.
Even better news is that more and more of our wonderful local Kalkan restaurants are including some of these wines on their menus and most of the restaurateurs are well versed in the wines they serve, particularly those from the local region. The White Table offers a wide selection of award winning wines and Yiğit, the owner, is one of the most well educated and passionate guys I have come across when it comes to talking about the wines on his list.
So next time you visit Kalkan, don’t simply reach for the Angora – ask a few questions and be prepared to pay a bit more money and you might just discover what Turkish wine really has to offer. Şerefe!!