The cold is slowly creeping into my bones. It's getting darker earlier and I find my comfort in soups and stews. It must be winter in Istanbul!

After attending the EWBC – Digital Wine Communications Conference in Izmir last week, I am even more excited to look for my Winter Red Wines on the shelves here in Istanbul. I recognize labels and grape varieties now and with every wine I pick up, I can put a person behind it or a story and alot of good memories.

Turkey has a wonderful variety of red wines. You can stay with well known varieties like Shiraz or Merlot or be a bit adventures this Winter and try the traditional Turkish grapes. These grapes that has been growing in Turkish soil for thousands of years. The first traces of winemaking can be seen in Anatolia 7000 years ago.

Turkish Red Grape Varieties

Calkarasi – (chal-car-ah-ser) This grape is native to Denizli and because of its high accidity makes lively, well balanced Rosés and light, fruity red wines. The aroma is of Strawberries and Peaches. The Rosé wines match well with Oriental dishes, Seafood and light spicy Pasta.

Kalekcik Karasi – (kah-le-djic-car-ah-ser) It means 'Black from the small castle'. It is a medium bodied wine, compared with Pinot Noir. Low in tannins, fresh and lively with a crisp acidity. The aromas are of red fruits with a vibrant fruity nose. This wine goes well with Pizza, Tomato based sauces and Grilled meat.

Öküzgözü – (oh-cooz-goe-zue) It means 'Bull's eye', as the large, black berries from the grapes looks like bull's eyes. It is a medium bodied wine with some tannins and lively acidity. The wine has fruity and floral flavours, making it soft and easy to drink. Goes well with Grilled meats, Eggplant, Smoked foods and Casseroles.

Bogazkere – (bow-aahz-keh-reh) It means 'throat burner'. Wines are dark in colour, full bodied and lots of tannins. It is a wine that will age well. It has aromas of berries, chocolate and Liquorice. Goes well with Spicy meat dishes, sharp Cheeses and Kebabs.

The following are the Red Wines I am drinking at the moment. Hubby doesn't drink, so I am working my way slowly through the wines. One of my favourite Turkish varieties are not on this list, Kalekcik Karasi. It is an easy drinking, fruity red that you will love. Keep an eye out for it on the shelves. The wines I choose are normally also connected to how much it cost. I want the best quality wine at the best price. It is different in Turkey, as you have to pay a bit more to get a decent wine. The taxes are high on wine in Turkey and that makes good wine a bit more expensive.


6 Turkish Red Wines to warm you this winter


Kayra Shiraz 2009 from Denizli and Halibeyli

Kayra Zinfandel 2010 single vineyard from Urla

Kayra Öküzgözü 2009 single vineyard from Elazig

Kavaklidere Selection Öküzgözü-Bogaskere 2009 from Elazig and Diyarbakir

Ancyra Öküzgözü 2011 from Elazig

Ancyra Merlot 2011 from Çesme and Ovacik


Turkish wines can compete with the best wines in the world. During 2011 and 2012 Turkish wines won more than 500 medals, including some gold medals. It has been the most successful year for Turkish wines and it can only get better. Have a look at the Wines of Turkey website to see all the worthy winners.

Please do support Turkish wines and with this learn about Turkeys' wonderful people and their culture.

Feel free to contact me if you need any advice on Turkish wines. There are some amazing wine farms in Turkey that welcomes visitors. Then you can get to know the people and the stories behind these wonderful wines of Turkey.


5 Responses

  1. Maggs says:

    Hi thanks for all the info really intersting keep it up

  2. Nicci says:

    Hi we had a red called dikMan or dikmen , very smooth , what kind of wine is this if we wanted to get similar in uk, didn’t seem as rich as merlot but not sure what type to compare it to , can you help?

    • maddiehugo says:

      Dikmen is a red wine, that is the least expensive offering from Kavaklidere . It is often served as house wines or sold by the glass.
      Some people describe it as similar to a wine from the Rhône valley, but I’ve never tasted it myself as I don’t think it represent the good wines of Turkey.
      I see that Tesco and M&S sells wine from Turkey now. Go have a look and let me know if you find something you enjoy.

  3. Jay says:

    Hello, I’ve only sampled white wines in Turkey. Can you let me know which Red wine grape variety produces wine similar to Pinot Noir?

    thanks, Jay

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