Kalecik Karasi Reserve by Vinkara Winery
A beautiful expression of this unique Turkish wine grape that comes from its heartland!
Kalecik Karasi is a Turkey's local variety that is often compared to Pinot Noir. But I would say that Kalecik Karasi Wines and especially the few varieties available from Vinkara Winery are unique and different.
Kalecik is the name of a small town about 1 hour NE of Ankara. Kalecik means 'small castle' and there is indeed a prominent peak overlooking the downtown that has a protective castle wall around it. There is a unique micro-climate here brought about by the valley being shaped like a bowl with mountains surrounding it, and the Kizilirmak (Red River) running through it - which cools the area in the summer and moderates the cold in the winter. The result of this and the local soil - with clay, loam with a bit of sand, is a unique wine. This region is about 950m in elevation (3000') and in the middle of the Anatolian plan, where the summers are very warm with milder nights, but very cold winters, luckily the snow stays in this valley and protects the vines from the -30 degrees below zero temperatures.
Vinkara's vineyard is located right in the center of this valley and the Kalecik Karasi grapes benefit from this microclimate. Resultingly, you get a wine with a very strong aroma that is sweet, often considered like cotton candy, but not as strongly fruit forward. The body of this wine is medium, but as this has seen 18-24 months of French oak, it has a fullness to it. The result of the cold winters and summer extremes is high acidity. The palate is sweet with minerals and acid present. I often get a hint of 'ash' in the palate - which is pleasant as it seems to tie the grape's natural minerality to the oak' finishing.
I find this wine very pleasing, Vinkara makes another variety with less (no?) oak which is also recommendable, but I find the oak finishing of this one bringing forth complexity in the Kalecik Karasi.
Vinkara is an excellent, high-quality producer, and one of a few producers that grows the Kalecik karasi in its heartland and namesake village.
If you want to try an authentic Kalecik Karasi, I strongly recommend Vinkara's products and the Reserves are extra special. Here's a view of some of Vinkara's Kalecik Karasi vines.