Tasting notes: Cloudy Bay 2009 – Sauvignon Blanc

Cloudy Bay is New Zealand’s one of the most important wine producers. They are famous for their Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough region.

This 2009 vintage Sauvignon Blanc has a pale lemon color. It has a medium level of intensity on the nose with lemon and citrus flavours followed by tropical fruits (pineapple, mango and guava) after a while straw and vegetable notes (especially asparagus and green pepper) are getting intense.

On the palate there is a high level of acidity with a medium body.  Step by step the flavor structure changes on the palate. First we feel lemon and citrus flavors, and then on the mid palate we’ve got very nice tropical fruits especially guava and mango. During the medium length finish all flavors completely turn into a vegetable soup with asparagus, green pepper, green haricot. There is a real complex vegetable structure for this wine. Very interesting, in deed…

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Tasting notes: Barbare Prestige 2009

“Barbare” was one of the successful wines during the tasting sessions of “Master of Wine weekend” held last month in Istanbul.  They have organic vineyards nearby Tekirdag’s Barbaros village.

“Barbare” is one of Turkey’s new wines and finally I got a chance to taste this one at Sensus Wine Boutique located near Galata Tower in Istanbul. We purchased the bottle for 55 TL. This “Barbare Prestige 2009” is an interesting blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Syrah and 1% Grenache.

It is written on the bottle that the wine is matured in French oak barrels for 18 months. Totally 570 cases were produced for this wine.

Dark ruby color. On the nose significant oaky notes are followed by blackberries, plum, violet. Some hints of Black pepper is behind. It is strong and vibrant on the palate. The tannins are softer than I was expecting actually. However the body is quite medium level. Actually I was expecting a full bodied wine but as a result this is what we have. It can certainly be enjoyed at this moment.

Actually on the palate fruity notes are much more significant. Blackpepper, carob, blueberry and blackberry aromas are very nice. During the quite long finish there is some bitterness coming from the alcohol (14,4%).

Posted in barbare wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, grenache, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, Tasting notes, Turkish Wines | Leave a comment

Tasting notes: Kayra Vintage Sangiovese 2007

It’s one of the interesting wines of Kayra’s Vintage series. Produced by the Sangiovese grapes coming from Manisa – Turgutlu’s Halilbeyli village. This 2007 vintage has some highlights of brown in color, an opaque red. On the nose it is quite intensive than I was expecting. Nice and smooth complexity. Mint, vanilla and toasty notes coming from the oak are followed by red berries, dried tomato, blueberry, some violet and earthy – spicy hints.

On the palate not has got the acidity which we may expect from a typical sangiovese. However, there is an interesting smoothness and light body on the palate. Certainly there is more fruit especially in the mid-palate. Oaky notes are much more behind than the nose. There is some sweet structure during the medium length finish.

It is a very light bodied wine, for the people who do not like tannins.  Totally 2300 bottles were produced. Mine was no. 917. It is 47 TL in Rouge Wine Bar.

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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”…

 

Posted in adana, bogazkere, food & wine pairing, Kavaklıdere, okuzgozu, Restaurants, Tasting notes, Turkish Wines | Leave a comment

Tiny kebab house behind the green door…

Each time I’ve been to Adana, my home town, I always consult only one person in order to eat a real Adana Kebab. He is a friend of mine (from our childhood periods), Emre Dalgic, who is a Pharmacist in Adana. This time, I got really surprised when he told me that “I will take you a very tiny place which could be the tiniest here”… Some of our friends from Adana talks about this place that the restaurants in Vietnam and Cambodia are even tinier than this place which I could not believe at all. I started to think about the tiny Chinese restaurant which we’ve been in Bangkok’s Chinatown… I said to myself “impossible to be like that!”…

Yes, actually this place in Adana is not as tiny as the one in Bangkok, however, I may certainly say that there is a real tiny kebab house in Adana…  It is located on Ordu street, very close to Adana’s football stadium. They changed a small old house to a kebab heaven. There is no signboard, no name… When you look at this house from the street, you can never understand that inside there is a restaurant. However, the ones who love real food, I mean the real foodies, they have discovered this place and open the green wooden door of this house…

We do it so and open that green little wooden door… There is a small room on the right hand with four tables only… The waiter takes us to this room since we had called this place before… Otherwise it would be a certain matter that we may wait for a while to find a table… It was quite crowded with “kebab lovers”…  There are also some small 2-3 tables in front of the grill… and that’s it!…

There is a real mobility and action in front of the grill… The voice coming from the knife while they prepare “crushed tomato salad” reminds me one of the best tiny kebab house in Adana “Omur Ocakbasi” located in Dortyolagzi district many years ago… I discuss with Emre about these types of old kebab houses in Adana… Unfortunately there is no more of those; “Omur Ocakbasi” is even already closed…

One of the best “crushed tomato salad” I’ve ever eaten since long time comes to our table… This is not a joke style salad, this is a real “crushed tomato salad”… This shows you the answers to the questions such as “how to prepare a good tomato salad?” “What ingredients you have to put” “What type of intensity the salad should have” and “how hot and spicy it should be” and so on… I believe that for a long time I will remember this salad and I will no more like any others when I go to other restaurants…

Smoked onions come after the salad. It is an incredible appetizer actually which you feel the real smoky flavors of the onions (comes from the ashes in the grill) the hot spicy notes, some sweetness, intensity of all these flavors one by one are really nice…

After a while the waiter brings us “grilled ribs” as a “starter”… The ribs are served on the top of oiled breads… They are boneless and also there are some grilled green peppers are on the top of the ribs… The breads are oiled on the grilled while grilling the ribs… Excellent! When you eat the ribs they just melt in your mouth… A fantastic dish…

In the meanwhile I try to check out the environment of the kebab house… A young waiter goes out with a large aluminum tray for a take away service… There is a large paper as a cover of the tray… It’s been so long that I’ve not seen this type of service… In the past when we were calling for kebab, always such trays would come to our homes from the kebab restaurants… I believe that all people from Adana would have eaten kebabs from these trays…

So then the “big event” comes while we finish the ribs… The mixed kebab plate comes to the table together with a delicious onion salad contains sumac and chopped parsley… We’ve got again grilled and oiled bread on the bottom of the plate, Adana kebab, chicken shish and “grilled cutlets” (kulbasti) together with grilled green hot peppers…

When you put Adana kebab and onion salad inside the bread and eat it together with the “crushed tomato salad” that is a “peak point”… This would be a real gastronomic taste explosion which can never be defined…

Adana kebab is a high level kebab, it is oily (the oil comes from the tail of the lamb) and minced by hand… But chicken shish has a higher level. It can be asked “how a chicken shish can be high level?”, then I may answer “go and eat”… a perfect seasoning meets with the smoky flavors of the grill and when it is eaten together with the smoked onion it makes another peak point…

But, the highest level is the “grilled cutlets”… It’s been long time that I’ve never eaten such a perfect one… This reminds me the “cartoon film” “Ratatouille”… The scene that the inspector “Ego” comes to the restaurant and eats the ratatouille and he reminds about his childhood etc… This is such a real effect for me… It is so hard that when it comes to a perfectly seasoned “grilled cutlet” (seasoning should be done by thyme) no other grilled meat can pass it… I wish to drink some good red wine at the same time…

Unfortunately, there is no alcohol in this place, so that I prefer not to drink anything with the dishes. My wife prefers to drink “ayran” (water with yogurt) and Emre decides Coke… And the total bill is only 40 TL for all… This is an absolute “10 points” from me for quality-price balance…

It’s a reality that “the best kebab is eaten in a tiny kebab house in Adana”…

So, can we drink wine together with Adana kebab? So wait for the next post :)…

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Tasting notes: Louis de Grenelle Grande Cuvée– Saumur – Crémant de Loire

I bought this wine from Louis de Grenelle when I visited them in September 2010 during our great wine escape to France. It’s a classical “crémant” produced by “traditional method” (champagne method). 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Chardonnay are used for this wine which has very nice bubble intensity with a lemon color. Typical bread, yeast, white fruits and some lemon hints are very nice on the nose.

On the palate fruity notes are more significant than the nose with some hints of roasted peanuts. Certainly a good potential lies here…

Posted in Chardonnay, chenin blanc, French Wines, sparkling wines/champagne, Tasting notes | 1 Comment

Tasting notes: Tenuta Sanguido – Guidalberto 2008

 “Guidalberto” is the second wine of Tenuto San Guido, producer of the Super Tuscan legend “Sassicaia”.

Guidalberto’s 2008 vintage has a typical ruby color with some violet highlights. The grapes are 45% Cabernet Sauvignon – 45% Merlot and 10% San Giovese. Classical plum, cherry and blackberry notes are very nice on the front nose. Cedar, tobacco, citrus and some oaky notes are behind. On the palate medium-high acidity creates a fresh wine with elegant tannins. A well balanced structure with a medium body. The wine has a nice integration of fruit and oak. We feel some cacao-chocolate base flavors on the palate beside the fruit notes. A long finish with lots of complexity. For me this is a really good wine which can be enjoyed at the moment easily.

Parker: 90 points

WS: 90 points

Price: 29 Euro… Another real bargain from Italy…

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, italian wines, Merlot, san giovese, Tasting notes | Leave a comment