Turkey’s vineyards have been most famous for producing dried fruit but an increasing amount of modern (that is to say, cool-fermented) wine is also made. There are vineyards in many very different parts of Turkey. In the distinctly European soils and climate west of Istanbul, the countryside, and wines, could be extremely similar to those of eastern Greece and southern Bulgaria, although there has generally been under-investment in modernising wineries in Turkey. The vineyards on the Aegean coast around Izmir produce some of Turkey’s best whites, some of them sweet and almost as classical as the remains and tourist sites in this part of the world. The vines planted in Anatolia in the eastern interior of Turkey have to cope with extremely cold winters and very dry summers but with their ancient grape varieties and proximity to the Euphrates, they may hold many clues about the origins of viticulture itself. Emir and Narince seem the most promising white wine varieties while Kalecik Karasi, Karalahna and especially Öküzgözü can clearly make reds with strong and distinct characters. Nevertheless, international vine varieties have been in considerable demand.
Of the big companies that have so far dominated the Turkish wine scene, Kavaklidere seemed first to embrace top quality wine production with considerable vineyard investments (there has been a gap between growers and producers for some time). Particularly interesting smaller producers include Büyülübağ, Corvus and Sevilen although competent winemaking is increasingly rapidly, even if the wines are relatively expensive.
One of Turkey’s most important white wine grapes, along with Narince. Emir produces light, delicate wines which are best drunk young.
Important Turkish variety grown for both wine and table grapes. As a wine it tends to be fruitier and fuller in body than Emir, with which it may be blended.
Variety widely planted in Turkey, producing bright, juicy reds which are often blended with another local variety, Boğazkere.
Turkish variety making soft, fruity, medium-bodied reds for early drinking.