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  • Writer's pictureChris Vannoy

Master Sommelier's Choose the Best Turkish Wines in Istanbul in 2023

The Results of the 2023 Sommelier's Selection Event in Istanbul.

Every year the great folks at Gustobar Events (led by Taner Bey and Ayça Hanım) run a few events. The most interesting to me which I've attended for a number of years now is the Sommeliers' Selection in early Dec.

These events have a few dimensions.

First, dozens of Turkish Wine Makers and Producers have their wine available for sommelier tastings.

Yes, a conference room with more than 200 wines. It takes some planning to taste and make notes on all 250-300 wines over the 2 day event, but as the Turkish Wine Guide, my duty is to endure so you all can get the best iinformation. This event allows me to get a sense not only of each wine, but also allows me to identify wineries and see which one's are consistent as they offer numerous wines. (For example Yukseltan Winery in Thrace and Ni&Ce Winery from Kilis stood out last year, and Vinkara Winery in Ankara and a totally newcomer Ellez Winery in Thraces in 2023)

Second, the event also has a number of workshops with some excellent presenters (Levon Bagis!).

They are often focused on really unique issues or grape varieities to the local Turkish market. There are some real finds here. Look for my upcoming post on some of this rare, local wine varieties!

Master Sommelier Turkish Wine Selections  Wine Workshop with Levon Bagis

The third big event is the Sommeliers Selections. 2 or more Master Sommeliers' including this year Ronan Sayburn MS and Andreas Larsson MS were blindly tasting over 130 wines and choicing the very best for their 2023 Selection.

To be clear not all Turkish pr0ducers participate so these Master Sommeliers aren't seeing every wine each year, but over 3 to 5 years they have tasted many, many of the wines here. Their comments are perspectives are truely valuable to not only the wine producers, but to you as a aspiring Turkish wine aficianado as well.

Here's Ronan and Andreas (2 tremendous people, I've enjoyed getting to know the last few years here) hard at work trying to blindly taste wines included rare Turkish varieties (like Sidalan or Narince!).

Master Sommelier Turkish Wine Selections Ronan Sayburn and Andreas Larsson

On each of the 2 days the fellows, choose around 10 wines and then walk us through why those stood out to them. In general, over the years they have noted some really big reds, that suprisingly had NO oak barrel exposure. Notable, because these Turkish grapes themselves had such body, intensity, tannins, and acidity that they stood out to these MS.

So here are the 2023 Sommeliers' Selections in 2 pictures. Wines are revealed lightest to darkest on each of the 2 days.

Here's Day 1's Master Sommelier Turkish Wine Selections:

Master Sommelier Turkish Wine Selections Day 1

And Day 2's Master Sommelier Turkish Wine Selections:

Master Sommelier Turkish Wine Selections  Day 2

I'll plan to review these each again, I tasted all before the event, during the event and again at the selection. Stay tuned, though I'll say there's none on this list that I would hesitate to recommend!

Here is one of the winners, Mrs. Işıl of the Uçmakdere Vineyards in Thrace for her outstanding 2022 Firuze Merlot (aged in American Oak- very uncommon in Turkey!)

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Hi, thanks for dropping by!

This site is a work of love and passion for the people, land and wonderful produce of Turkey. As the ancient home of wine, join along with me as I discover the viticulture of Turkey, the lovely unique Turkish wine grapes, and the amazing and widely interesting people that make up this industry. 

I'm Chris and I spend weeks traveling in Turkey each year, exploring this verdant land.  Benefit from my experience.

And if you are looking for Turkish wine tours and tastings - either daily wine tours from Istanbul, Izmir or Cappadocia or week long wine tours, Don't hesitate to contact me. 

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