Boğazkere (literally throat burner)
This, in my mind, is one of two very widely grown and very maturely developed red wine grapes. In fact it might be one of the strongest Turkish grape varieties.
It is vital to understand the nature of this grape to understand the terroir from which it originally came - the river valley and mountains near the Tigris river in eastern Turkey. The grape is often said to originate in Diyarbakir - a dark black-walled city on the banks of the Tigris headwaters. The area has weather extremes - cold winters and warm, even hot summers. The grapes characteristics flow from this very extreme local climate.
Known for its very full body, strong aromas and bold finish, the name is well earned. But the expressions of this grape, now grown in many areas of Turkey are varied. The best examples come from its area of origin, where you can experience it's Tannat like quality of being highly tannic. The berries themselves are small and robust arising from their ability to resist temperature extremes, poor limey soil and drought. For red wine drinkers this is one to find, know and try.
This varietal is often found to have been oaked which acts to cut the sometimes abrupt flavor, tannins or aromas. But the strength of the wine is undeniable and many producers make this single varietal.
Acidity is high supporting the high tannins, giving rise to its unique title 'throat burner'
The grape is mostly commonly used in the widely available and delightul Turkish blend of Boğazkere and Öküzgözü.
A few recommended producers to look for are Doluca/DLC, Vinkara, Diren, Kayra, Kavaklidere and Kocabağ. All of these produce single varietals of Boğazkere and use it in other blends.