#WineWednesday Spotlight #80: Toreta Pošip Premium

Marcy Gordon Posip Photo
Photo: Marcy Gordon

How come? Frano Banicević’s Pošip Premium is once again a #WineWednesday Spotlight! Two reasons for this: first of all, the wine is really delicious, and secondly, Marcy’s springtime Instagram collage is absolutely gorgeous!

Sipping some Toreta Pošip will always bring back sweet memories of our visit almost a year ago to Korčula:

Like Spring itself, it’s fresh and bright with pineapple and quince notes, a touch of chalk, and great gobs of acidity. I met the Baničevic family last April on my wine scouting trip to Croatia with Blue Danube Wine. They showed us the Pošip memorial where the first vines were planted, then we joined the entire family for a seaside repast that paired perfectly with more Pošip. What a memorable day it was! Looking for a taste springtime to ward off the Winter Blues? –This is it. Toreta, try it you’ll like it!
#wine #croatia #winesofcroatia #pošip #posip #korcula #toreta #bluedanubewine #roadtripmemories

In toreta vineyard
Almost a year ago, in Korčula with Marcy Gordon, Frano Banicević and his sister Martina

Follow Marcy Gordon on Instagram here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #79: Tinon Olaszliszka Hárslevelű

Olaszliszka Hárslevelű
Olaszliszka Hárslevelű label and view of the church in the village

Olaszliszka is an important village along the Bodrog River in Tokaj that dates to at least the 12th century when it was simply named Liszka. It was renamed Olaszliszka after a group of Italians settled in the village —’olasz’ means Italian in Hungarian — in the mid-13th century.

Hatari Vineyard
The Határi Vineyard in Olaszliszka

The village has been renowned for its top crus for hundreds of years. The terroir is rich with volcanic rocks mixed with clay soils and planted mostly to the Hárslevelű grape. The Amici Vinorum Olaszliszka (Latin for Olaszliszka Friends of Wine) is the combined efforts of 10 local winemakers to reaffirm the village’s historical identity. Members of the association are combining their fruit sourced from vineyards like Csontos, Határi, Meszes, and Palandor that date as far back as 1641, to produce one single “village” wine.

As just a village wine, should we dismiss it? Better not says Hungarian wine lover Peter Klingler, over at Borwerk:

half-dried lime peel, flower meadow, peaches in summer sun, marzipan. The peaches gain the upper hand with time. A wine of depth and respect…Honey comes up, sulphured apricots, yellow-orange dried fruit, pineapple, banana. The sweetness persists in an easy existence, gently floating, pleasantly unobtrusive. And then there’s this extra layer, which stores itself and holds back and carries and continues: fire, lava, rusted iron, Parmesan. Yes, it’s long and persistent and it drinks well. Fun. More than a village wine.

Read the whole post (in German): Falubor Hárslevelű 2015, Amici Vinorum Olaszliszka, Tokaj.

Meet Turkey’s Visionary Vintner Güler Sabancı

Guler Sabancı
Güler Sabancı

Ancient but challenged, wine culture perseveres in Turkey writes journalist Deborah Parker Wong in SOMM Journal. In her article, she talks to businesswoman and founder of Gülor Winery Güler Sabancı regarding the future of Turkey’s wine business:

“[Over the last decade] Turkish consumers have been learning about quality from fine imported wines,” says vintner and philanthropist Güler Sabancı whose Gülor winery in Thrace is sited in the historical center of Turkish wine production. “Considering that there have been no incentives for the industry and our ability to market wine at home is quite limited, I’m very optimistic.”

Modern wine culture emerged in the early 1990s when visionary producers picked up where the Turkish government left off after the introduction of French grape varieties to Thrace in the 1950s. Although Gülor is credited with the country’s first commercial production of Bordeaux-style wines, Sabancı champions the country’s indigenous grapes grape varieties as a way for Turkey to differentiate its wines on the global market. The boutique winery has recently begun exporting wine to the U.S. and is looking at Russia and the U.K. as well.

Read the whole article and learn more about the Turkish industry and its wines here. Sabancı’s wines are imported in the U.S. by Meritaj Inc. and can be purchased here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #78: Muhr-van der Niepoort Spitzerberg

Dorli Muhr
Dorli Muhr – Photo: Stuart Pigott

On International Women’s Day, let’s praise Dorli Muhr’s outstanding Blaufränkisch, especially her flagship wine, the Spitzerberg, thanks to a contribution from British wine critic Stuart Pigott:

Nowhere that I know of does it give more fragrant wines than on the slopes of the Spitzerberg in the small region of Carnuntum (named after the ancient Roman city there). Dorli Muhr of the Muhr – van der Niepoort estate winery, pictured above, is the most important producer of these wines and in the 2013 vintage she made the finest Spitzerberg Blaufränkisch I ever tasted… there’s an earthiness behind the floral charm. The one thing that is eye-popping about this it is how vivid and energized it tastes, a dramatic contrast to many warm climate reds with their high alcoholic content and low acidity levels. In common with the best Blaufränkisch from Moric (in Mittelburgenland) and Uwe Schiefer (in Südburgenland), this wine has enormous depth and serious dry tannins, yet great balance and delicacy. For me, those are the hallmarks of world-class wines from this grape.

You should check the whole blog post: New York Wine Diary: Day 5 – The Fragrance of Austria.

Meet our Women Vintners

Women Vintners
Some of our top women vintners

Do you know that as many as 13 of the wineries in our current portfolio are run or co-run by women? Witnessing an increasing number of talented women involved in the wine industry on International Women’s Day is exciting.

They may have taken different paths — some took over their family estate from their parents, others founded their wineries from scratch — but they are all passionate about their work. Whether they have a degree in oenology or learned the trade while working with their family, these women are making important contributions to viticulture and winemaking.

In Austria, grower and winemaker Ilse Maier pioneered organic farming in Kremstal when she took over Geyerhof, the family estate, in 1986. Dorli Muhr resuscitated her family vineyards in Carnuntum and now produces some of Austria’s finest Blaufränkisch.

Bott winemaker Judit Bodó
Bott winemaker Judit Bodó (right)

In Tokaj, Hungary, winemakers Judit Bodó and Stéphanie Berecz founded respectively Bott and Kikelet wineries with their husbands and are now making some of the best wines of the region. In 2014, Stéphanie was awarded by her fellow winemakers the prestigious title of “winemaker of the winemakers”. Sarolta Bárdos who owns and runs Tokaj Nobilis was the winner of the prestigious award of 2012 Winemaker of the Year in Tokaj-Hegyalja. Also in Hungary, Birgit and Katrin Pfneisl are managing the Pfneiszl Winery and farming organically their ancestral Hungarian vineyards in Sopron. Julia Dóra Molnar, who co-owns Csendes Dűlő with her mother Beáta on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, has revived the rare white grape Kéknyelű. In Villány, under the leadership of owner Monika Debreczeni, Vylyan won in 2008 the title “Winery of the Year” in Hungary. Daughters Andrea Gere in Villány and Ildikó Eszterbauer in Szekszard are actively involved in the family business with their fathers.

Santomas winemaker Tamara Glavina
Santomas winemaker Tamara Glavina

In Istria, Slovenia, winemaker Tamara Glavina runs the Santomas winery with her father Ludvik, focusing on the local Refosco and Istrian Malvazija. On the island of Hvar, Croatia, Ivana Carić co-owns Vina Carić with her husband Ivo, producing distinctive wines from the native Bogdanjuša as well as Maraština, Kuč, and Pošip. And in Thrace, Turkey, businesswoman Güler Sabancı founded Gulor, a modern boutique winery offering high quality blends of both international and indigenous grape varieties such as Öküzgözü and Boğazkere.

Experience the wines of these talented women with our new Winemakers 6-Pack and in the meantime, happy International Women’s day!

#WineWednesday Spotlight #77: Shavnabada Saperavi

Shavnabada Saperavi
Shavnabada Saperavi label and the old cellar in the monastery

Jeff Berlin of Oakland’s A Côté was recently interviewed by wine writer Tara Q. Thomas on selling glass after glass of Georgian wine. This is what he says about the popular Shavnabada Saperavi:

the Shavnabada [a top by-the-glass pour]—anytime you’re able to say that a wine is made by monks in a monastery, they eat that one up. And it’s not cheap. But it’s a great wine, and also, it has an advantage because the wines have had a few extra years on them. That’s been really important even for me, to be able to see how these wines age. They change so much; they take on new personality and structure. It’s so rare to have the chance to taste older Georgian wines—it’s a combination of the culture, in which each person makes a small amount of wine and they drink it over the course of a year, and recent history; they simply don’t have much older wines to sell. Aging, however, does take the edges off the wine. If we could get more aged skin-contact Georgian wines, they’d blow people away.

Find the whole interview here and check our comprehensive selection of Georgian wines in our webshop.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #76: Amiran Otskhanuri Sapere

Otskhanuri Sapere
Photo: Michael Trainor @awordtothewine

Today, an Instagram contribution by wine lover Michael Trainor @awordtothewine: have you tried the Amiran Otskhanuri Sapere 2015 with Cigarillos?

It’s dark and oily. It’s got acid. It’s got structure. A bit viscous, maybe. It’s reminiscent of a freshly tarred road or roof in the hot Summer of my childhood and I could even feel that creeping anxiety of the new school year approaching. It pairs so perfectly with r/mr skirt steak. Keep it simple. Salt. Pepper. A slab of salted butter in the pan. Sizzle. Burn the flesh so you get that bitterness on the outside and maintain a beautiful bloody interior. Narrow slices, place it in your mouth, chew, then sip. Taste that? It also pairs well with #tobacco. I don’t typically enjoy tobacco with wine, but this pairs so well with Zino @davidoffcigars Brasil #Cigarillos

Follow Michael on Instagram here.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #75: Fekete Bela Juhfark

2012 Fekete Bela Juhfark
Photo: Kerry Winslow

This is another great contribution from Kerry Winslow over at Grapelive:

Fekete Bela Juhfark 2012:

The 2012 Juhfark, looks set to be the second to last harvest for the rumored to be retiring Bela, is a beauty, more vibrant than the 2011 I last tasted, and with wonderful precision as well as subtle density and extract, it was left on the lees without batonage and the finesse shows here, allowing a rich mouth feel, but vital and vigorous.The nose is Riesling like, but showing it’s volcanic spiciness along with fresh citrus, tropical notes and tangy stone fruits, this iron/steel white feels light to medium bodied and is amazingly dynamic for it’s age, very youthful, as well as having a hint of chalk/stones, bitter herbs, white cherry, kiwi/mango, a hint of almond, delicate florals and tart lemon/lime. This is a white wine of inner energy and class, unique and with a tense of history and place.
93 Points, grapelive

You can also follow Kerry Winslow on Instagram here.

Too cold to drink rosé? No way!

Stoka Rose
Stoka Rosé

Should you drink Rosé in Winter? What about having Rosé for Valentine’s Day? In his latest Wine Column, wine and food writer for The Washington Post Dave McIntyre think we’re wrong to consider Rosé as a summer wine:

The market is up against two consumer misconceptions: That rosé is only for summer, and that only the most recent vintage is worth drinking.

Here’s the problem: We match rosé to the season, but we pair any other wine to the food we’re eating. You still eat pizza in winter? Salads? Anything garlicky, or with a Mediterranean or Middle Eastern accent? Don’t rule out rosé: It doesn’t clash with long sleeves.

And don’t worry about drinking the 2015s; they’re just fine. In fact, I recently found some forgotten 2014s from California and France in my basement. They were delicious — less fresh and invigorating for gulping, perhaps, but age had given them a bit of character that made them shine with food.

We have plenty of delicious Rosés in our portfolio for your Valentine. Check them out.

#WineWednesday Spotlight #74: Gulor Sayeste Öküzgözü Boğazkere

gulor sayeste okuzgozu bogazkere
Gulor Sayeste Öküzgözü Boğazkere 2011

The Gulor Sayeste Öküzgözü Boğazkere 2011 is our first #WineWednesday Spotlight from Turkey! Do you know that since the beginning of the month, we have two new Turkish producers imported by Meritaj on our webshop, Gulor and Suvla and 11 Turkish wines available in our portfolio?

Few people are aware that Turkey is one of the most ancient wine regions. The discoveries of ancient wine vessels and evidence of winemaking suggest that wine was produced for the first time in Transcaucasia, a region south of the Caucasus Mountains that encompasses what is today Eastern Turkey as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Northern Iran. The first evidence of viticulture and wine making in Anatolia (central Turkey) dates back 7,000 years.

Thanks to its large size and benefiting from a wide array of climates, Turkey is home to between 600–1200 indigenous grape varieties. While the coasts have a mild Mediterranean climate, Central Anatolia, where many vineyards are located at altitudes near 1,250 meters (4,000 feet) above sea level, has a continental climate with hot summers and cold snowy winters.

gulor vineyard
Gulor Vineyard

Founded in 1993 by Turkish businesswoman and philanthropist Güler Sabancı, Gulor is a modern boutique winery with 12 hectares of estate vineyards located on the north shore of the Marmara Sea. They’re mostly planted with Bordeaux grape varieties as well as Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Sangiovese and Montepulciano. The winery also grows indigenous varieties like Öküzgözü and Boğazkere in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia. Öküzgözü is from Hankendi, a town in the province of Elazıg in the northwest corner of the Euphrates River valley, and Boğazkere from Ergani on the right bank of the Tigris River.

Native to Eastern Anatolia, Öküzgözü likes cold winters and hot dry summers. The name derives from the Turkish word for bullseye, which refers to its large dark berries. Quite resistant to drought, Boğazkere is from Southeastern Anatolia. It means “Throat Scratcher” and is Turkey’s most tannic grape.

A blend of 70% Öküzgözü 30% Boğazkere, the wine is dark in color with notes of black cherry and berry. It is quite earthy and full-bodied with good tannins. We enjoyed it with a simple Chicken Provençal, at least my version of it. I cook the chicken in a skillet with diced onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes and herbes de Provence. I also add some dry-cured black olives to the sauce and I must say, their ripe flavors went pretty well with the wine.