Kuzubag Winery (Kuzubağ Şarapcılık)
Is this the coolest winery in Turkey? Lets take a look around and taste some of their wine!
As you can see here - the Kuzubag Winery has some super cool, dramatic architecture. From the approach road, where you are surrounded by vineyards, to the entry where you pull up to what seems like a sleek, small building hugging the rolling hills this place is impressive. This is thanks to the owner Mr. Salih bey, a successful builder in Istanbul. He has brought sophisticated, high-
quality construction to this winery near Denizli. He and his extended family are from the Cal region, and he himself was an owner in the past of another local winery.
The winery they have created is strikingly located in what seems like endless vineyards. It is sleek, and has an impressive tasting area with amazing views. Above the tasting area is a not yet complete restaurant with a fine garden. Architectural details abound at this place from the sidewalk fountains to the imported naturally oxidized Italian steel, this is a super cool place to enjoy some wine.
Oh, yeah, wine! That's why I came, This is one of the founding wineries of the Cal Bag Yolu or Cal Vineyard route. It is the newest facility and one of the newer producers with its first vintage a 2021. They currently produce a number of varieties using both local and international grapes. Their current lineup includes 3 whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Narince/Chardonnay Blend, Chardonnay, 2 roses (Öküzgözü alone and Çal Karası and Kalecik Karasi blended) and 3 reds (Çal Karası, Kalecik Karasi and soon a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz blend (its currently resting in nice French oak barrels!)
While at Kuzubag you also have the chance to buy and taste wines. We did a wine tasting of 4 wines - the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cal karasi/ Kalecik Karasi blended rose and the Cal Karasi red, as you can see here: my notes on each are just below....
I started with the Sauvignon Blanc - an above average nose with a lighter palette, but a notable buttery, spicy finish. This was a group favorite, I think due to the pear, quince, and oregano flavors present with a good balance of sweetness with acidic sourness.
Next we moved to the Chardonnay a 2021 vintage (their first) that had spent 5 months in oak. It wasn't an overpowering Chardonnay, with pineapple, jasmine and melon primarily present but lacking some of the more green flavors common to the variety. It did have a unique not unpleasant rice, starchy, or clay like quality. The color was distinct golden with a slight green hint.
We then moved on to the rose blend - of 2 Turkish grape varieties - both lighter reds, with one, Cal Karasi, being found only in the Cal region - it is a unique grape benefiting from the cold, snowy winters to achieve higher acid levels but still with a distinct fruity nose. The Kalecik karasi though is a touch stronger in this blend with the distinct cotton candy flavour and only a hint of the Cal Karasi peachiness, but the minerality at the end (common to both grapes) and the strong acidity had one of our tasters mention how it made them feel 'grounded' - connected to the earth, in a positive way. This was my personal favorite - it even had some haribo candy flavoru - a somewhat easier wine to succeed at with the excellent Cal Karasi and Kalecik karasi grapes here. The color was quite open salmon pink.
Our final tasting of the day was of the Cal Karasi red wine - 4 months in French oak, it had a creamy butteryness to it that combined well with the cherry, black cherry and burnt sugar flavors.
The visit to Kuzubag Winery was well worth our time - I recommend you plan at least 1.5 to 2 hours to fully enjoy the amazing landscape and wine. Its the kind of place where weather, sun, landscape and chill come together and create those serendipitous moments.