Tasting notes: Antinori – Tignanello 2004

I remember a very nice scene from my favorite wine movie “Sideways”. In that scene Miles (Paul Giamatti) was talking about 1961 Cheval Blanc which he had and he was saying that he wanted to open the wine on a very special occasion. Then, as a reply Maya (Virginia Madsen) says to him that “just opening a Cheval Blanc is a special occasion”. I also like this philosophy and always try to open a bottle of good wine with the people whom I love together with the nice and delicious dishes which we cook at home.

So I decided to open “Tignanello 2004” in respect of this mentality. May be the wine would have much more years to go (which I was sure about that), however, in any case it had some certain drinkable potential. As a result, it was a bottle of Tignanello and we should have honored the wine! 🙂

I have to tell that I decanted the wine for about an hour and then we saw the wine’s great complexity in each second has passed.

One of Italy’s most prestigious producers “Antionori” is producing this Toscana’s “super wine” which has 85% San Giovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.

The wine has deep ruby color with some claret highlights. On the front nose you feel significant black berries and licorice, tobacco, olive, dried tomatoes, spicy/herbal notes and some oaky notes are behind with great complexity and integration. After a while cinnamon aromas arrived to the nose as well.

On the palate it is fresh with vibrant acidity. Very elegant and round characters meet with a full bodied structure. There is very well balance and depth. On the palate fruity notes are more significant. Spicy, oaky notes and tobacco follows in a very nice integration. There is an elegance during the long finish where the fruit and oak (especially licorice) notes integrate.

Parker: 93 Points

WS: 95 points

Note: I bought this wine from Siena – Italy for 50 Euros in 2008. A real bargain…

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

Barbecue @ home…

While the whole family was in Istanbul during the 4 days holiday period, we wanted to end up with nice dishes together with excellent wines… This time we ‘ve got grilled New York steak with classical red wine sauce, grilled meat balls with mashed potatoes, rice from pounded unripe wheat with green peas and sautéed asparagus with garlic…

I have chosen Super Tuscan wines with these dishes; “Tignanello 2004” and “Guidalberto 2008” (Sassicaia’s second wine).

However, I shall tell about the dishes first before passing to Super Tuscans…

“Etçii Steak House” is one of my favorite butchers which have nice options such as dried aged or fresh steaks, sausages and salamis. Generally I use my “lava stone grill” in the kitchen and the result is really nice. If you do not have such a grill, you must have a cast iron grill pan otherwise you may not be able to cook such a thick meat. There are some important points while making grill. First I put some olive oil and sea salt on the meat and then I put the meat in the fridge. About 30 minutes before start cooking I take out the meat from fridge and let it gets warm in the kitchen atmosphere. I turn on the grill before cooking (about 5-10 minutes advance) starting from low temperature to high. After all I put the meat on the grill carefully.

The meats stick on the grill immediately and after about one minute they let themselves. One of the most important matter is, not to touch the meat during grilling. Only you should touch it while turning the other side. If you have a well heated grill 4 minutes for each side would be enough to cook “medium-raw” level. It would have a “medium” level for 5 – 5.5 minutes. After you stop grilling you must set aside the meats for a while in a plate so that the meat leaves itself.

This time, I thought about to put some sauces on the top of the meat and I prepared a typical red wine sauce. The main ingredients are finely chopped onion, finely chopped rosemary and 2-3 cups of red wine. Put some olive oil in sauce pan and add the onions and rosemary. After a while add the red wine and let the wine gets evaporate. After then the sauce is ready. Put the sauce on the top of the meat while it is hot and serve as hot…

For the mashed potatoes, we first boil the potatoes. Then we take out the skins and chop the potatoes. We add some butter, olive oil, truffle oil, finely chopped rosemary and sauté them all in a pan. Then add some sea salt, thyme and mint. After a while we add a small cup of milk and start to mash the potatoes. After we mash well the potatoes we turn off the heat and add some little butter, truffle oil and milk and then it is ready. We put one meatball on the bottom then mashed potatoes and another meatball on the top as presentation.

I believe anyone who follows this blog is aware of “rice from pounded unripe wheat”. In each time we cook this type of rice we try to use different ingredients and every time we really love it! This time we used green peas which got from Ipek Hanim farm again. For me this rice is a real gem!

May is one of the best months for eating “asparagus”. In Turkey unfortunately, for a reason which I have never learned nor understood I can never find asparagus neither in the street markets nor in the supermarkets. I hardly find them in some large supermarkets at very stupid high prices. Although I love the white asparagus which is more aromatic than the green one I can only hardly find it as canned which I don’t like to use in my dishes. When I hardly find the green asparagus I like to cook it as sautéed or grilled. Sometimes I use “prosciutto di Parma” while grilling them together as a delicious antipasti. This time I used the “prosciutto” in the caprese salad (classical Italian salad made by mozzarella, tomato and basil). I sautéed the asparagus with garlic and served them on the top of the New York steaks.

So that’s it for the dishes… The wines are on the next posts…

Posted in food & wine pairing, in the kitchen, ipek hanim farm, italian wines | Leave a comment

Mediterranean Style @ home…

I shall tell you about one of my favorite octopus dishes which belongs to Spain’s “Galiçia” region “Pulpo a la Gallega”. I was thinking of cooking this dish for a long time and finally I made it…

Many people does not think about cooking octopus at home; since there is enough variety of readymade octopus salads in the supermarkets, containing too much vinegar and salt, typical readymade canned dish…  It is easy to open, no need to use any cooking material, only needs a plate and that’s it… for me it never and ever goes well with a wine… it is better to drink “Raki” which may match better…

However, we purchased a fresh nice whole octopus. In the market I told them to clean the octopus and then we again cleaned some remaining parts at home. We put the octopus together with 2-3 bay leaves in a pressure cooker filled with water. We boiled about 30 minutes where we got a very tender and soft structure. We let it cooled inside the same water about 1 hour.

After than it is very simple… You chop the octopus into pieces and put them in a wooden plate which is a custom in Galiçia region. Sprinkle generous amount of paprika, some sea salt and some olive oil on the top.

And that’s it! Open a nice white or rose wine… I would definitely prefer a white wine made from Albariño grapes in Rias Baixas region of Galiçia, but in any case Turkish whites and rose wines would certainly go very well with this dish… I opened “Kayra Terra White Kalecik Karasi 2010” and “Turasan 2010 Kalecik Karasi-Syrah Rose” in order to understand the food & wine pair and their structures …

We added some of the tentacles of the octopus to “mung bean salad” which became one of our classics. While we are using boiled eggs and some olives in the typical “mung bean salad”, this time we preferred to put octopus inside the salad instead of eggs and olives and we added some chopped dried tomatoes as usual… The result was stunning for us… I strongly recommend this receipt especially for the coming summer days…

We love to cook vegetables at home. One of our favorites is the French classic vegetable dish “Ratatouille”. For me the best Ratatouille can only be made from the best ingredients. Eggplant, green squash, red capsicum, tomato and tomato paste, olive oil… All must be fresh and reflect the season. I also recommend cooking as much as Ratatouille for this summer…

“Mixed seafood cooked in casserole” is a typical dish where you can usually find in many restaurants. In Turkey they sometimes sprinkle bad quality of “kasar” cheese on the casserole, which is very unnecessary for me. Especially in Italy, South of France and Spain they cook such seafood dishes very common and I find always “rose wines” match very well with this dish. I especially liked “Turasan Kalecik Karasi – Syrah 2010 Rose” with this dish… In my opinion this rose is one of the best in Turkey in terms of price – quality base. This wine has some deep pink color with lots of strawberry, raspberry, some candy floss flavors and citrus aromas. The alcohol level is quite high (14%) so that there is bitterness during the finish, however it is not that disturbing … Can be enjoyed during whole summer…

We used “sea bass”, vongole, shrimp and calamari in the casserole … Other than these ingredients; we used some vegetables such as tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, and capsicum. We added some chopped parsley on the top after the casserole is cooked.

This same type of dish is also cooked in North Africa with cumin and coriander and the result is absolutely stunning and different, I also strongly recommend this taste as well… By the way, we take out the unopened vongoles from the casserole which is not good to eat… Normally whenever you cook vongole or mussels they must be opened after cooking, otherwise they are not fresh and must not be eaten.

We ended up with a very nice dessert which we like to prepare at all times… This is a receipt from Jamie Oliver, famous British chef… It has only 3 ingredients: Pine Apple, Mint and sugar…

We slice thinly the pine apple. We beat the sugar and mint together in a bowl and then sprinkle this mixture on the top of the pine apple… That’s it!

It is very refreshing and especially very good to eat during summer time; however, we love to eat this dessert even during winter, because this is an absolute all time enjoyable dessert … Especially when you have a dessert wine made from “Muscat” grapes (even semi-dry is also good), it would be a perfect match… Actually I tasted for the first time a British wine beside this dessert. It is called “Hidden Vineyards” which there is no signification about the grape and even vintage on the bottle. I could not find any information in the web either.

In any case, pear and apple flavors are dominant on the nose and palate; there is also some nice mint and eucalyptus flavors which is a very fresh and nice wine with low alcohol level (8%) and medium acidity.

It may also match very well with a German Spatlese or Kabinett Riesling… The same effect would make also for Urla Vineyards’ “Symposium” wine from Turkey which I am expecting to check out these pairings in the near future…

Posted in british wines, Cappadocian Wines, food & wine pairing, in the kitchen, ipek hanim farm, Kalecik Karasi, Kayra wines, Rose, spanish wines, sweet wines, Syrah/Shiraz, Tasting notes, Turasan | Leave a comment

A futuristic Italian…

Kayra Wine’s “Terra” brand has started a nice event called “World Cuisine with Terra Wines”. “Italy” was the first “stop over” of this serial event. We had a chance to meet and taste the dishes of Italian Chef “Gianfranco Chiarini” at “Mia Mensa” restaurant in Istanbul. Chef Chiarini has an interesting understanding of Italian cuisine which he reflects his experiences from Europe to Africa, Turkey to Middle East and even Far East.

The techniques he uses have generally different understandings over classical Italian cuisine. May be it is not exactly as a “molecular gastronomy” (when I asked him this issue he told me that he is not executing molecular) however, it is certainly a fusion style technique he uses. Well, in any case it seems that he is quite influenced by some molecular techniques such as “foam” or “maltodextrine” (sand effect technique). As a result there is a synthesis of all these issues in his cuisine …

I have to point out that while tasting such dishes you need to be quite “open minded”. These dishes are a result of thoughts, trials and different experiences with certain efforts. For me, it is a real innovation and courage to create a dish in the mind and then execute it in the kitchen and serve it to the client… From this point of view, that is actually a real exception to taste such innovated Italian dishes …

Our first course was “fresh parmesan cubes over delicate infusion of Apples in Marsala wine, garnished with crispy Basil”. We taste “Terra Italia Pinot Grigio 2009” and “Terra Sauvignon Blanc, 2010” with this course.

One of the positive things regarding Terra’s event was that we had the opportunity to taste two different Terra wines with each course which contributed to evaluate the wines, their styles and their pairing with the food. That was a really nice idea actually.

There was “foam” on the top of the dish. Although it was not mentioned in the menu, I asked it to Chef what kind of ingredient he used for the foam. He replied me that he used “white wine, honey and white truffle” for it. Certainly creates a higher value for the plate.

The Parmesan cube used for this course was quite hard and we asked this point to the chef, he told us that “it is a 24 months matured parmiggiano”… very interesting choice… I ask him whether we can use “Pecorino Romano”, he replies “then, the dish would have a much more different structure and intensity so that it may create a different dish”.

For me, “Terra Sauvignon Blanc 2010” was certainly the best pair for this dish. The grapes are coming from Denizli – Turkey and from its aromatic structure and to its acidity it matches well the dish. Actually it is a nice wine. This reminds me some New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wines. Nice and enjoyable wine…

Terra Pinot Grigio 2009 was not that good as Sauvignon Blanc with this dish… May be the flavors of infused Apples in Marsala Wine was quite strong for Pinot Grigio…

Our second course was “Tomato-saffron consommé gelée in Trifolati Porcini suspension, over Parmesan Green Tea Velouté”. We tasted “Terra Italia Chianti 2009” and “Terra Kalecik Karası 2010”. “Porcini trifoliati” and “tomato-saffron consommé” was served as quite “cold gelée”. “Velouté” is one of the classical and basic sauces of French cuisine and creates the basic sauce for creamy soups. Classical “trifolati” is actually an Italian version of typical “sautéed mushrooms”.

Accordingly, Chef Chiarini serves us these two classical French and Italian dishes with a different style (together with tomato-saffron consommé) and brings to the table a much more different view. He also creates a synthesis between east and west while using the spices in this dish (such as saffron).

Actually, I immediately asked “why?” when I saw on the menu that one of the wines to be tasted was “Terra Italia Chianti 2009” with this dish. Since “velouté” has already got a creamy texture with such a wine that has got high acidity, with significant tannins and medium body, there would not be an expectation for a good match… And it did not…

To the contrary, the other wine for the dish “Terra Kalecik Karası” was much better than “Chianti”. With low body structure and fruity flavors, the match was better than I was expecting. Kalecik Karasi grapes are coming from Denizli region of Turkey for this wine and it has got nice red berry flavors especially strawberry and cherry together with candy floss which is typical for this grape. The wine reflects well its characteristics. It can be enjoyed this summer even slightly chilled…

Our next course was “Ferrara style Cappelacci filled with roasted Pumpkin & Parmesan, over a refreshing Butter emulsion with Orange zests”. Actually this was one of my favorites during the event. This is an alternative version of typical “Cappellaci” with a sauce of containing serious amount of butter base with orange zest. Slightly sweet roasted pumpkin and parmesan cheese made a good balance together.

We had two different wines made from Kalecik Karasi grapes: “Terra White Kalecik Karasi 2010” ve “Terra Kalecik Karasi Rose 2010”. “White Kalecik Karasi” has never been experienced before in Turkey and it is certainly a “brave” attempt. It has a very open pink color with highlights of open pale onion peel. Totally produced as per white wine techniques. On the nose we feel nice citrus aromas and light red berries while on the palate we’ve got continuous citrus and strawberry effects. Light bodied with medium-low acidity and quite sweety. This is certainly ideal for this summer.

In my opinion “Terra White Kalecik Karasi” had a better match with the “Cappellaci” due to its slightly sweet structure. By the way, “Terra Kalecik Karasi Rose” 2010 vintage is also nice which has very nice red berry flavors together with some floral notes.

The only seafood dish in the menu was “Sea bass fillet in foil, blanched in its own juices and Frutti di Mare Neapolitan infusion sauce” which was served in an aluminum folio. We tasted “Terra de France Chardonnay 2007, Languedoc” and “Terra California Chardonnay 2006, Central Valley-Lodi” with the dish.

When I opened the aluminum folio, at the beginning I thought that chef made us such a surprise that the dish was quite raw. After then I checked my wife’s dish and saw that her plate was cooked. While I was exactly calling the waiter to ask what’s happening, the head waiter of “Mia Mensa” came to our table and immediately changed my plate by saying that my dish was “raw”. I immediately thanked him for his interest and attention.

“Sea bass fillet” was a real Mediterranean dish. For me, a rose wine would also match well with such dish, however, in any case,  “Terra de France Chardonnay 2007” which comes from South France’s Languedoc region also matched well especially in terms of its well oak integration. On the other hand, “Terra California Chardonnay” could not meet that level due to its high oaky notes.

In order to fresh our mouth we had “Sweet spring smouthie sorbet” before passing to the “beef tenderloin”.

After sorbet we had “Beef tenderloin fillet cubes, grilled to perfection, over light bitter Chocolate & Chili demi-glace, garnished with grilled vegetables de saison, accented with Umbrian cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil Malt dextrin sand” together with “Terra Italia 2004 Barolo” and “Terra Shiraz 2009, Denizli”.

In this course, Chef Chiarini uses a “sand effect” technique of molecular gastronomy which is called “Malt Dextrin”. He uses “Tapioca root” belongs to South Africa instead of using chemical. This is a kind of technique where you mixe a liquid (in our case it is Umbria olive oil) and the grinded Tapioca root, then it turns into like “white sand”.

There is a nice presentation on the plate where you can see the “bitter chocolate” applied and touched by brush and on the top “sandy olive oil” lies on. Beside we’ve got the “chili pepper demi-glace sauce” nearby the “beef tenderloin”. May be the only default of this dish was that – the beef was over cooked-. However, a medium-rare beef would reach to a top level. In any case, this is a very nice and enjoyable dish.

In my opinion both wines matched well with the beef tenderloin. May be Barolo’s body structure was better than Shiraz. But, the spicy and chocolate aromas and general body structure of Shiraz had also enough level to carry out the dish.

I like matching “capsicum” with “cacao” and Chef Chiarini uses a similar type of match for the dessert. “Red Capsicums Parfait, perfumed with Rosemary infusion, drizzled with Espresso ganache delicately scented with Amaretto di Saronno” was served with Kayra’s classical Madeira stype wine “Madre 2006”.

We see a typical opposition of “capsicum” vs  “cacao”, he uses “espresso” instead of “cacao”. This parfait is a type of “semifredo” actually means “semi-frozen” which makes a good integration between different flavors.

Another example of such dessert is the opposition of “chocolate” and “hot paprika” which I like a lot.

“Kayra Madre” is not bad at all with this dessert. May be it can be served slightly chilled. But, I believe their 2005 vintage had more complexity and intense structure …

This was an absolute nice event in terms of tasting and exploring different cooking styles as well as matching them with “Terra” wines. This means that the producers in Turkey have enough confidence to their wines, which is very important…

I heard that in the upcoming months they will also have a same type of event for “French” cuisine which made me very excited actually.

I have also a final suggestion for Kayra’s sparkling wine “Cameo d’Oro” which we taste before each Kayra event. What not to put this wine into the table and pair with one of the dishes? It’s worth to try actually…

Posted in barolo, Chardonnay, Istanbul, italian wines, Kalecik Karasi, Kayra wines, pinot grigio, Restaurants, Rose, sauvignon blanc, sweet wines, Syrah/Shiraz | Leave a comment

Petrol smell in Riesling is a mistake?

Very interesting article in Decanter about Michel Chapoutier’s comments on “Petrol smell in Riesling is a result of a mistake during winemaking”.

Check it out from:

http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/525144/petrol-smell-in-riesling-a-mistake-chapoutier

I really wonder if there will be any reply to this argument from the other Alsace producers or not…

Posted in Genel, Riesling, world of wine | Leave a comment

“Antiochia” Restaurant – Istanbul…

Turkey’s one of the most important culinary cities “Antakya” locates just in the Southern-most point of the country connected to a culture which is lies about more than thousands of years between the Middle East and Mediterranean Sea. The cuisine here is a part of Middle Eastern cuisine which can also be found around Syria, Jordan and Lebanon especially.

While having the ancient name of the city, “Antiochia” is a good example to taste and understand this excellently delicious cuisine located in Istanbul’s Asmalimescit district (nearby Tunel – Taksim area). This is a small and very cute restaurant with a simple menu which they seem to intend to cook and serve the best dishes from the region.

The “mezzes” (between 6 – 10 TL) consist of some classical ones such as humus, eggplant with yoghurt, “babaganus” (another eggplant type mezze),  “muhammara” (a kind of mezze made by crushed walnut) and they’ve got also some special ones which I’ve tasted for the first time such as bezirgani (very hot and spicy made by nicely chopped hot capsicum) and a special cheese with black cumin seed belongs to the region. Of course like any local cuisine restaurant that exists out of its original region, this restaurant is not as perfect as the ones states in Antakya; however, it is certainly one of the best in Istanbul in order to have an overall conceptual idea and to taste good examples of this cuisine… By the way, you may also choose 7 “mezzes” in a one plate (19 TL)…

For me “bezirgani” was the most successful one. May be it is not suitable for the people who does not like “hot and spicy” dishes, but for me, it is a really great dish especially when I eat it together with their special bread topped with chili pepper.

There is only Kayra wines in the menu and I decide to go for “Terra Shiraz” which may match with these spicy dishes, and with most dishes (especially except the hot “bezirgani”) it matches, indeed! The wine prices are not that high comparing with other restaurants of Istanbul (between 45 – 95 TL). You can also go for glass of wine (10 – 17 TL for a glass).

We order for a special dish belongs to the region which is “burghull balls filled with seasoned minced meat” (12 TL each). Actually this “burghull ball” is cooked in different ways in Southern and Southern Eastern of Turkey as well as in the Middle East region. I like the way which belongs to my hometown “Adana” where the “burghull ball” is made as a round shape and boiled. However mostly in other places its shape is like an egg or a long egg and it is fried. There are also some other special styles and shapes which can be found in Antakya or in the Middle East (Syria, Jordan and Lebanon especially). Well, the one we ordered was not bad at all, but, of course it is not as good as I used to eat in Adana 🙂

When we come to meat dishes as a final course, we order for kebabs and wraps from beef (between 12- 30 TL). Kebab was good; especially I liked the quality of the meat. But I did not like the grilled tomato which seemed to be quite cold just like it was frozen… The wrapped grill was also an enjoyable dish at any time…

By the way, as I mentioned above, all the courses matched well with the wine. May be the eggplant with yoghurt was not a good match because of the existence of “yoghurt” but in any case, if the dishes are not that hot spicy there is always a possibility that these dishes may meet very well with different wines especially Shiraz/Syrah or Okuzgozu-Bogazkere.

“Antiochia” has got a small dining hall inside so I recommend to reserve before going, however, there is enough space outside and especially during summer period, it would be very nice and convenient to eat out there.

Posted in food & wine pairing, Istanbul, Kayra wines, Restaurants, Syrah/Shiraz | Leave a comment

Doluca “Karma” Wines @ Changa Restaurant – Istanbul …

The last night I was at the wine & dine event held by Doluca Vineyards in Changa Restaurant – Istanbul. We were in an event of pairing Doluca’s Karma Wines with Changa’s head chef Mr Civan Er’s “fusion” style courses.

Before dinner, we took a small tasting session about Doluca’s Karma Wines in order to discover the wines which will be served during the dinner.

The first wine we tasted was the only white wine from Karma a blend of Chardonnay – Narince from 2008 vintage. I had tasted this wine before during the special event of “Aged Red Wines of Turkey” held in last February in Izmir together with Mr. Vedat Milor and Wine Enthusiasts from Izmir. This wine has a pale lemon color and matured about 12 months in American & French oak barrels. The wine is oaky for me actually. The integration of oak to the fruit is not that balanced so that oak aromas are quite distinctive. Certainly the producer might have thought about the Turkish wine consumers who like such oaky aromas such as vanilla, some toasty notes, smoky notes, coconut, a little toasted bread and some buttery flavors beside them etc.

Well, beside the oaky aromas, we can also feel the fruit notes after a while and after shaking the glass. Some nice citrus notes, peach and melon are clearly marked behind the oak as well as some hint of floral notes. With medium acidity and medium level of body, this wine has still got the oaky notes during the medium length finish.

So, as a starter we had two dishes; first one was “Warm double soup with chard and beet” and the the second was “Salmon smoked by cherry tree chips and Cucumber with galangal”.

First of all, I must write about the “bread” on the table. The “Bagel” style bread was one of the best I have eaten since long time. As the waiter replied us that Changa cooks their own bread, I have to say only, well done!

Changa’s classical “double” soup is served with a special type of glass looks like a sandglass. At the bottom of the glass there is chard soup and at the top there is beet soup. That’s certainly a product of a very nice and creative idea. Especially I liked the beet soup which has some creamy intensity matches well with Karma Chardonnay-Narince. May be the chard soup’s acidity is quite stronger than the wine just like the next coming dish (smoked salmon); however, in any case, the result is not bad at all!

“Salmon smoked by cherry tree chips and Cucumber with galangal” is a nice dish in terms of presentation. The cucumber was sliced like spaghetti shape which is a very nice idea. Galangal –a different type of ginger belongs to Far East- was on the top of the cucumber. At the bottom we’ve got the salmon. Actually salmon was a little bit dry from inside. You feel this especially when you it it alone. However, it goes well with Karma Chardonnay-Narince. Most probably the cucumber was marinated by “lime” which made a strong acidity for the dish, whereas the wine has quite medium acidity with intensive oaky aromas which create an unbalanced situation with the dish.

Our next course was “Georgian mushroom ravioli with creamy quince and parmesan sauce, with Lapsang Souchong Tea leaves” and “Grilled vine leaves stuffed with lamb tandouri, with creamy sour / paprika sauce”  together with Karma Merlot – Bogazkere from 2008 vintage.

Let me tell about this wine at first. Just like all other Karma wines, this Merlot-Bogazkere blend also has got a high alcohol level above 14%. Ruby colored with plenty of red berry aromas on the nose, with cherry and some hints of spice (clove and cinnamon) and red plum give us the general characters of the wine. A vibrant acidity on the palate meets with a significant tannin structure comes from Bogazkere grape. However, all fruity flavors on the nose continue in the palate as well. The wine is a good one for me which has quite medium-short finish.

So, let’s come to the dishes… “Georgian Ravioli” was interesting with its creamy quince and parmesan sauce; however, I could not find any real alternative effect of “Lapsang Souchong tea leaves” on this dish.

I have to say that unfortunately the dish did not match with “Karma Merlot-Bogazkere” especially due to the intensive creamy quince and parmesan sauce, whereas the sauce was perfectly prepared for me but the wine could not reach to this level. May be we could consider the first wine Chardonnay-Narice blend with this dish if the wine could meet the acidity.

After tasting Karma Merlot-Boğazkere with the other dish “Grilled vine leaves stuffed with lamb tandouri, with creamy sour / paprika sauce” I immediately required from the waiter to bring us the next wine which was “Karma Cabernet Sauvignon-Okuzgozu”. Thanks to the waiter, we found a good and more balanced match finally for this dish. However, unfortunately Merlot-Bogazkere could not reach to the overall intensity of this dish. The intensity of tandouri together with creamy sour and paprika sauce was a real integrity with Cabernet Sauvignon – Okuzgozu blend.

Our last course before the dessert was “Duck Confit, with Plum sauce, with Lime Pilaf on the side” which we tasted “Karma Cabernet Sauvignon- Okuzgozu 2008” together with this dish.

Matured for 12 months in French oak barrels this “Cabernet Sauvignon- Okuzgozu” from 2008 vintage has dark ruby color. Dark berries, black mulberry, black currant, plum, caramel, vanilla, quite distinctive butter, some spicy and toasty notes from behind. Significant acidity on the palate, tannins are soft and the wine has medium-full bodied. The palate is fruitier than the nose with a nice long finish.

Duck confit and its plum sauce were really successful and matched very well with the wine especially for their structure and aroma character. I believe, Duck would be certainly a good friend for such a wine in any case. When we come to the “lime pilaf” we see that Basmati rice was used in the pilaf which has Eastern style flavors together with different spices from East. This is an excellent “pilaf” for me actually when I consider this alone, however, based into the point of view that we make a food & wine match, the aroma characters and spicy flavors of the “pilaf” could not meet well with the wine actually.

So at this point, we may choose “Karma Shiraz-Bogazkere” which has nice spicy aromas coming from Shiraz with intensive body structure. This wine has dark ruby color with purple highlights. Matured for about  12 months in French-American oak barrels. Fumé notes, Cuban cigar, toasted nut, chocolate, even chocolate milk and dark berry aromas are meeting with citrus and spicy aromas behind. On the palate it has medium level of acidity with a medium body, may be quite diluted. We feel much fruit on the palate like other Karma wines.

Our final course, as dessert was “tiramisu with chestnut”. Beside the dessert Doluca’s classical dessert wine called “Safir” was served. I really like this wine actually and it has been always one of my favorite Doluca wines which is produced by Muscat grapes and classical Muscat notes such as lots of honey, floral notes and citrus flavors are very significant on the and palate. May be not a perfect match with the dessert however, I always enjoy when I drink this wine.

Unfortunately I could not take any photos due to Changa’s quite dark dining room. As a result, although Doluca’s Karma wines are not as good as their first vintages, there is always a good potential lies in these wines. I have to also go to Changa once again in order to taste Chef Civan Er’s lovely dishes…

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