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Anatolian Grapes Back in the Market

Anatolian Grapes Back in the Market

Anatolia is revamping its ancient wine production, here is a list of the most famous grapes from the region and an excursion into its vineyards.

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Historically Anatolia is known as the birth place of grapes and wine. Yet partly due to religious reasons, modern day vinery was not developed here as the wine industry took off in Europe followed by South America and Australia. Now several Turkish wine production companies take on the mission to reintroduce native Anatolian grapes and particularly the indigenous red grapes of Kalecik Karasi of Kalecik region and white grapes of Narince to the global wine market.

Turkish wines are embarking on a major quality and variety revolution tapping into indigenous grapes from ancient soils using high standard modern-day production methods.

Indigenous Anatolian grapes include the Okuzgozu literally translating to “ox eye”, an easy to drink wine particularly in the summertime; Bogazkere which has a strong body, rich red color, originally from Elazig region and takes longer to mature; and the Kalecik Karasi a cherry-rich grape with a unique aroma and balance. With regards to indigenous whites Narince is the highlight. Translating into 
“delicately” this grape is originally from Tokat area. With a tropical fruit flavor, Narince wine is well flavored in the international arena gaining several awards abroad. Recently Vinkara Narince 2010 won Gold Medal from special series Reserve in the “Mundus ViniGermany”competition.

Only a short ride from Ankara’s Esenboga Airport, Vinkara’s charming 135 acres of vineyards are located close to the Kizilirmak River outside the small Anatolian village of Kalecik. Approximately 2,000 feet above sea level, this vineyard has a unique ecosystem and microclimate due to the river and surrounding hills. The vast climate changes and fluctuation of degrees in temperature between day and night along with winds and its soils compromised of sand, clay and limestone makes it ideal for the growth and unique taste of these local grapes. Along with a professional staff of international experts, the founder of Vinkara, Ardic Gursel, states that,“It is our mission and responsibility to spread the word of our ancient grape varieties, winemaking legacy and traditions.”

The main principle of Vinkara, established in 2003, is to present and create awareness tonative Anatolian grapes and their true uniqueness. The leading expert behind the team of Vinkara’s professionals is the Italian oenologist Marco Monchiero. He particularly shares a true passion for working with local varieties. Mr. Monchiero believes that the future is bright for Kalecik Karasi, the grapes named after the small castle in the village.

“It is very rare that a grape is named after the region it’s from” he claims, “This signifies that there is a historic, ancient past. Thus this is truly a special grape”. Mr. Moncheiro best describes the Kalecik Karasi grape as “elegant, perfectly balanced”.  He also believes that the technique used in producing this wine is ideal for a grape like KalecikKarasi.

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