The Çal Vineyard Route (Çal Bağ Yolu) Visit Update
I recently got a chance to visit the 4 wineries that make up the Cal Vineyard Route and they have something nice developing there! Read more bellow.
The exciting times for viticulture in Turkey continue, with the opening of the third official vineyard route - the Çal Bağ Yolu or Çal vineyard route.
Located just 20 mins drive from the Denizli Cardak airport and about 45 minutes from Pamukkale (the beautiful white travertines), the Çal valley is a long time leader in wine production in Turkey. Most Turks recognize this area as the traditional site of major producers. In fact 2 of the largest wine producers in Turkey are here, and one Kup Winery is part of the Vineyard Route.
The Route is made up of 4 producers - all focused on boutique style higher end wines (1/3 or so of Kup's production is for the top end of the market)
2 of the 4 producers are relative newcomers, but with winemakers with a long history.
What makes this area amazing is how the soil and climate combine to create one of the best wine growing regions in Turkey.
It's so good that most of the top 10 producers have vineyards here and many of the top boutique wineries in Turkey source some of their grapes from this area.
A particular focus to higher quality grape production has certainly
made this regions grapes well sought after.
The Calkarasi - yet another of the Kara type of grapes named for its region of origin is a lighter red wine grape that is indigenious to this area. It tends to have subtle summer flavours (peach!) but with decent body and an appealing finish. Its perhaps a touch lighter than the better known Kalecik Karasi, but if you like red wines in warm weather- this is a great choice.
Here's some of the Calkarasi grapes growing....
A quick overview of the 4 wine producers is below, but I have separate blog posts for each one.
In general I recommend starting at Kuzubag Winery - a new producer but with an amazing (maybe one of the most impressive) wineries in Turkey. The architecture reflects the progessive, modern, chic design that is not uncommon in Turkey.
They are a new producer with only their first year of production available. Ranging from Sauvignon Blanc to Cal karasi, Kalecik Karasi and Shiraz, they have whites, roses and reds on offer. The facilities and early wines though bode well for the future. @kuzubagwinery
The next winery which has a longer history is Erdel / Hanchalar. While a small facility, they have long history of wine production and have started in the recent years to focus on the higher end market.
They do quite a number of wines here but have only recently started to focus on oak barreling for aging their red wines.
This is one of those places where the quality of the grapes shows in well made wines, and leave you with high expectations for years to come.
Tradition is alive and well in Cal and you sense that at Erdel Winery.
Lermonos Winery is a relatively new producer, though the production facility has been used for wine for years, and the wine maker and owner are both experienced wine producers. The combination of the 3 will certainly lead to some amazing wines in the future. @lermonoswines
Being one of the top 10 wine producers in Turkey Kup is a long time recognized brand here in Turkey. They started production in 1950s and have grown successfully to
producing about 8 million liters per year.
They do commit 1/3 of their production facility and efforts to the top tier of Turkish wines. And they have a lot of them. Visiting their shop is challenging as they have about 6 different quality ranges and with 8-10 grape varieties available in each, it is a hard choice.
Kup has a rich history and you experience it firsthand with the young, energetic third generation owners at the help.
As the Cal Vineyard route has only just opened in the fall of 2022, there is a delightful road ahead for them and us as they continue producing in one of Turkey's best wine regions.