Well, since the last article that I have written in English, many things have been changed in Turkey especially in our lives about wine.
Last year, a new law was put into force by our government related with the promotion and marketing of alcoholic drinks. The law bans the marketing and promotion of alcoholic beverages at any condition. Even tasting events and writing about wines became a reason for marketing which can be resulted with certain fines. And I shall mention at this point that nobody knows how much fine you may get if someone would accuse you. Since that day all the wineries in Turkey had to stop their marketing activities and especially the small boutique wineries was effected too much due to this issue.
Beginning of this year, a very nice project was started in Thrace region of Turkey. The project was called “Thrace Wine Route” consisting of 12 boutique wineries established in 4 different regions of Thrace; which are Tekirdag, Sarkoy, Kirklareli and Gelibolu (Gallipoli). The project was also supported by Thrace Development Agency and Tourism Directorate of the region.
The web site of the project is recently opened: www.thracewineroute.com and here is the map for Thrace Wine Route:
There is also a very nice video: http://vimeo.com/91900961
Here are the wineries for each region:
- Chateau Nuzun
- Barel Vineyards
- Barbare Vineyards
- Umurbey Vineyards
- Melen Vineyards
- Gulor Vineyards
- Chateau Kalpak
- Gali Vineyards
- Suvla Vineyards
- Chamlija Vineyards
- Arcadia Vineyards
- Vino Dessera Vineyards
Each region has got its unique particularity in terms of terroir which makes a fantastic diversity in the vineyards and of course the wines produced.
The nice thing about this wine route is that it is very close to Istanbul. So even for a daily visit many of the wineries can be visited easily. Here are some of the tips about each winery and hotels & restaurants etc.:
– Chateau Nuzun (www.chateaunuzun.com )is the closest winery to Istanbul. It takes about 1 – 1,5 hours from Istanbul city center. They have only red and rose wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Okuzgozu grapes. The owners Mr. Necdet & Ms. Nazan Uzun are really lovely people and you will have a chance to have very nice discussions with Mr. Uzun regarding his wines. Their 2009 wine has become a legend due to a hail storm which effected all over the vineyard; and they had to make only one wine from all remaining grapes. It is like a gift from the nature… Also in my opinion, their 2010 Syrah is one of the best Syrah has ever been made in Turkey…
– Barel (www.barelvineyards.com ) is a small boutique winery located 10 km before Tekirdag city. They have a lovely vineyard house looking at the vineyards. They produce their wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc as well as Chardonnay. You can enjoy their wines and have nice local cheese. You should take an appointment before you go to Barel. The wineyeard owner Mr. Barkin Akin and their consultant Ms. Gulcin Akcay would welcome you at this lovely winery.
– Tekirdag is famous for its “kofte” (called Tekirdag koftesi) which is a type of grilled meatball. Before you enter into Tekirdag you would be able to see many places and signs related to this dish. Best kofte goes with a salad called “piyaz” made by white beans, onion and olive oil. Ozcanlar would be one of the most famous “kofteci” in Tekirdag. There is a nice article at Istanbuleats.com blog about kofte restaurants in Tekirdag: http://istanbuleats.com/2011/01/lost-in-thrace-following-the-tekirdag-koftesi-trail/
– Umurbey winery(www.umurbeyvineyards.com) has recently opened a nice wine bar in Tekirdag city center. So if you would like to stop over Tekirdag and have some drink, I recommend you to check out this nice bar located on the main road in front of the seashore. You can also buy Umurbey wines from here. I highly recommend their Sauvignon Blanc wines. The vineyards and the winery located nearby Yazir Village about 25 km away from Tekirdag city center. You can see their signboard on the main road. They have Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes.
– Barbare (www.barbarewines.com )has got a small boutique hotel (6 rooms) with a nice restaurant looking over the vineyards. If you would like to spend the night over here you can call the winery for the booking. For the time being, this is the only winery which is open for accommodation. If you cannot find a room here, better to go to Ramada Hotel which very close to Barbare. Try to taste their elegant and complex wines named “Elegance” & “Prestige”. Elegance is more likely a Chateauneuf du Pape style with a blend of Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre (there is also small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot) and Prestige is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot with a touch of Syrah & Grenache.