Pairing wine with “Adana kebab”…

I was a little lazy within the last few weeks for my “gastroworks” blog, while I was continuously writing my Turkish blog “sarapatolyesi”…

Anyhow, let’s continue with the “kebab & wine” relation…

Last month while I was in Adana (Turkey’s most important and famous city for “kebab”) I visited “Onbasilar Restaurant” where Kayra’s “Wine & Dine” events also took place. I did myself a typical “wine&kebab” event at this restaurant…

When I was a child, “Onbasilar” was located in the district of “Dortyolagzi” in Adana… It was a famous family owned kebab restaurant from the era of our fathers and mothers… If you check I usually use “past tense” since those years have already gone…

I think that, we, the people of Adana are quite “selective” about “kebab”. The generation which I belong is the last generation that can feel and eat the “best” and “real” Adana Kebabs within the entire city. After our generation, due to the reason that too many kebab restaurants are opened regardless of quality, they are suffering about the quality…

Actually I was more or less sure about which wines I can find in a Kebab restaurant in Adana after the experience which I had in another kebab house here in Istanbul, named “Kolcuoglu” located in Atasehir district of Istanbul. In Kolcuoglu, I was only able to find 3 bottles of wines which were “Kavaklidere Selection Okuzgozu-Bogazkere”, “DLC Okuzgozu” and “Sarafin Merlot”. It was a real shock for me to see that all the bottles were sold at a fixed price of 60 TL and at the end we went for “Kavaklidere Selection Okuzgozu-Bogazkere”, “DLC Okuzgozu” during the night.

I had a similar experience in Onbasilar Restaurant in Adana. After we sat on our tables looking to the faboulous view of Adana’s famous dam lake, the waiter asked for the drinks. Till that moment everything was simple and typical, but after I replied him that “we would like to drink wine tonight” he had a few seconds of “confused looking” which I was also expecting. Because all other guest in the restaurants were drinking “raki” a very typical and famous Turkish spirit.

Normally, in Turkey, Turkish people does not used to drink “wine” in a kebab restaurant. They drink “raki” which is also made by grapes and anis with a high level of alcohol around 40%. Anyhow, I am a wine enthusiast so that I have started to drink “wine” at every place I can find since many years… As a result I ask to the waiter “which wines do you have?” and he replies “let me check sir”… I just hope for a good blend of “Okuzgozu-Bogazkere” and here it is… After a short while the waiter brings me a bottle of “2007 Kavaklidere Selection Okuzgozu-Bogazkere” and a bottle of “Kavaklidere Yakut”. I choose “Kavaklidere Selection Okuzgozu-Bogazkere”. They take away the “raki” glasses and bring “wine” glasses. I check around and see that we are the only table who drink wine at that moment. I see a bottle similar to wine and feel exciting, however after I understand that it is a “turnip juice” bottle …

As typical at every Adana kebab restaurants, they bring us “crushed tomato salad”, “grilled onion”, “grilled eggplant”, “cacik” etc. Especially for the tomato salad there is huge difference between the tiny kebab house which I wrote in my previous post and this one. It is not a good “tomato salad at all” which does not look like a real one, it’s been one of the worst I’ve ever eaten not only in Adana but also in Istanbul.

“Grilled onion”, “grilled eggplant” and “cacik” is above the average. Among all these “appetizers” may be “grilled onion and eggplant” go well with Okuzgozu-Bogazkere. While the tomato salad has high acidity (due to tomatoes and pomegranate sauce) and hot spices it does not go that well with the wine. While “cacik” consist of yoghurt it is not that easy to have a good pair with such a red wine…

After than “cig kofte” (raw meat) comes to the table. The best “cig kofte” I have ever eaten was about 14-15 years ago in “Menekse Kardesler” restaurant near by the residence of Mayor of Adana. The master was preparing a stunning one which I have never found any more… This one in “Onbasilar” is not that good but we can say above average…

It is hard to pair “cig kofte” with wine due to its hot spicy texture. May be an interesting rose would be a good match; however, it is almost impossible to find such a wine in Adana’s kebab restaurants. I have to check for other days in order to figure out the “cig kofte” & “wine” pair…

Classical “first plates” are coming to the table… These are actually pastries such as small “pita with cheese” and small “pita with meat, onion and tomato” (lahmacun). Finally really stunning dishes arrives to our table…

Especially “lahmacun” is really delicious (pita with meat, onion and tomato) and it is an absolute perfect match with the wine. It has crispy texture with enough capacity of ingredients. Spicy and toasty flavors of the wine match perfectly with this dish. It is something that Kavaklidere has produced this wine for “lahmacun” (the same style as we ate in Onbasilar)…

We ordered more “lahmacun” beside Adana Kebab and “shish liver”… We want to taste each of them with the in order to understand the pairing…

The “Lahmacun” in Adana is not prepared like in Gaziantep or Sanliurfa, instead, it is prepared like small plates and generally in a portion there would be five pieces. For me tonight’s starring is “lahmacun”. It seems that the cook for this one is a really good cook… This dish meets really really well the wine which I would recommend for anyone who visits Turkey…

Adana kebab is above average. Is that bad, no, it’s not… But after living long years in Adana and after being tasted the real kebabs overthere, the expectation in each Adana Kebab restaurant comes always very high… So what about the wine? How it went with Adana kebab? For me it was really good…  If the kebab does not have “heavy” texture to my mind “Okuzgozu-Bogazkere” blend would be a definite match with Adana kebab. And even the wine has a medium acidity which also match well with the onion salad when you eat together with kebab…

But when we come to the “shish liver” it makes us the same effect as the crushed tomato salad, which is… not that good at all… It is very dry first of all… I try to find out better ones to taste with the wine. But in any case the liver has a higher body than this wine. May be a Syrah or Cabernet-Syrah blend would be tried out, or, may be a single varietal of Bogazkere (Kavaklidere Prestige 2004 for example) can be tried…

In any case I strongly recommend especially this Kavaklidere Selection Okuzgozu-Bogazkere blend for any kebab restaurant…  Especially for “Adana kebab” and “Lahmacun”…

 

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About Murat Mumcuoglu

Crazy about wine & gastronomy... Chef & Owner of Istanbul's smallest tapas bar "Hola Panini & Tapas" located in Moda district...
This entry was posted in adana, bogazkere, food & wine pairing, Kavaklıdere, okuzgozu, Restaurants, Tasting notes, Turkish Wines. Bookmark the permalink.

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