During the last posts, we explored which wines and which wine regions are perfect to pair with Turkish food. However, we mainly looked at foreign wines that are a good combination for the Turkish cuisine, we haven´t really looked at Turkish wines. And when talking wine pairing for the great Turkish dishes, we can´t forget about Turkish wine.
And actually, Turkey is a world leader in grape production, however, only a very small portion of all those grapes are used for wine production. The rest of the grapes are consumed either dried or fresh. For exploring the indigenous wines of Turkey and order the right wine with your meal, you should understand a little bit about the grapes and flavors of these. Turkey has close to a thousand indigenous grape varieties that winemakers can use to make wine. However, only about 60 varieties or so are commercially cultivated.
So, to get you started with choosing a Turkish wine with your meal, let’s look at some of the most important grape varieties for white and red Turkish wines.
Turkish white wine grapes:
- Misket grape
This grape grows around the Izmir area and tends to be the most aromatic of the white grape varieties. You should definitely try both sweet and dry wines from the misket grapes.
- Narince grape
This grape is grown in sandy soil, can be found around the Tokat region and is often eaten as a table grape as well. Wines of this grape are great dry wines, a bit greenish-yellow with fruity aromas.
- Sultaniye grape
This grape is grown in the Aegean region and the wines made of these are rather light with fruit aromas as well. This type of grape is not appropriate for aging so this wine should be consumed within a year of bottling.
- Emir grape
The Emir grape from the Central Anatolia region makes for very refreshing wines that are easy to drink. These grapes can be used for dry, sparkling and primeur wines that are greenish-yellow of color as well.
Turkish red wine grapes:
- Kalecik Karasi
This grape is grown around the Ankara region and this grape variety makes for medium-bodied red wines with red fruit aromas. This grape is suitable for aging.
This grape comes from Southeast Anatolia and it´s considered one of the best native grapes in Turkey. Wines from this grape are strong bodied and have great potential to age.
This grape comes from Elazig and the wines coming from this region are medium-bodied, have a soft texture and fruity and floral aromas.
Overall, although Turkish wines might not be as well-known as for example, French, Argentinian, Chilean or Spanish wines, the country definitely produces some great wines that deserve to be tried. So, next time you´re having a nice Turkish meal, complement it with some great Turkish wine instead and discover some amazing new wines!
Have you ever tried Turkish wine? If so, which would you recommend? We would love to hear about in the comments!