These reviews are based on samples provided by the winery or organization acting on their behalf.



2013 Turasan Emir Cappadocia

2010 Diren Öküzgözü Collection



Wines -Turkey



When I was given the opportunity to explore the wine of Turkey, I eagerly accepted.  This is a country that was new, wine wise, to me.  After checking out the importer’s website, I was even more intrigued seeing wines made from grapes that I had never heard of let alone tasted.





The Country

Wine historians and ampelographers believe that the southeast part of Turkey was the origin of grape domestication, dating back to 9,000 BC.


The first evidence of Turkish viticulture and wine making dates back 7,000 years in Anatolia (central Turkey).  It was a custom to celebrate each vintage with a holiday.  Phrygians from Anatolia introduced wine to the Greeks, and by the 6th century BC, Turkish wine was being exported as far abroad as France and Italy.  During the dark days of the phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800’s, the Ottoman Empire increased their wine exports substantially, reaching 340 million liters in 1904.


There is a very informative History of Turkish Wine available by clicking here.



VinoRai logo


About VinoRai

Vino Rai  was founded in 2012 and has exclusive American rights to import the best wines from the finest wineries in Turkey.  It is their commitment to only select the very best wines for each category and to represent a wide range of varietals so that the wine adventure seekers can try a new wine region without reservations.


Much more information is available by clicking here.  VinoRai also actively participates on Twitter and Facebook.




My line up for this session:

Wines of Turkey

Wines of Turkey




2013 Turasan Emir Cappadocia – SRP $13.99

Hasan Turasan established Turasan in 1943 in the heart of Cappadocia.  The winery has been run by the family for three generations and has been the proud pioneers in the Cappadocia wine region.  More information on the winery is available by clicking here.


The grape for this wine, Emir (eh-MEER), only grows in one place in the world, Cappadocia, Turkey.  The grape thrives in the region’s high altitude (4,000 to 4,6000 feet) volcanic soil.  The grape benefits from the region’s hot days and cool nights.  The Emir grape is often compared to Torrontes and has been grown in the region since the Hitite era in 1700 BC.


The grapes for this wine came from very low yielding vines that averaged 2 tons per acre.  After a temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged sur-lie for 6 months before bottling.  The total production was 20,000 bottles (bottles, not cases).


The wine has 13.5% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with an agglomerated cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a light yellow straw color.  The intriguing nose has pears, fennel seeds, orange zest, crushed stones, pineapples, dry straw and tropical flowers.  This has medium body with crisp acidity and just a hint of sweetness.  On the palate pears, fennel seed and orange zest jump out first with crushed stone minerals coming in on the back end.  The finish has good length with dried straw and a nice floral note joining the show.  For my first time tasting either a wine from the Emir grape or a wine from Turkey, I’m impressed.  (91 pts)

2013 Turasan Emir Cappadocia

2013 Turasan Emir Cappadocia




2010 Diren Öküzgözü Collection – SRP $14.99

Diren Winery was founded in 1958 by Mustafa Vasfi Diren in the northern part of Turkey.  They produce quality wines of Anatolia, predominantly, the Tokat region.  In 1985 Mustafa turned over the winery reins to his son Ali Diren.  Ali has continued the family legacy at the helm of one of Turkey’s oldest wineries.


More information on the winery is available by clicking here.


The late ripening Öküzgözü grapes came from estate vineyards planted in sandy soil in Mid-Eastern Anatolia.  The vineyards yielded 3.3 tons per acre.  The wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks.  The wine was aged for 18 months in tanks before bottling.  The total production was 1,000 cases.


This wine is a blend of 85% Öküzgözü (pronounced oh-couscous–zoo), and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.


The wine has 13.3% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The deep and dark nose has plums, road tar, stony minerals, warm baking spices, dried violets and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body with soft to moderate tannins and very nice acidity.  Plums and spice coat the palate, slowly allowing stony minerals and some earthiness to enter the picture on the back end.  The finish has nice length with dried flowers coming into play.  This would work nicely with a rich stew.  The wine would also pair nicely with grilled chicken or lamb.  The wine can also be served slightly chilled.  (89 pts)

2010 Diren Öküzgözü Collection

2010 Diren Öküzgözü Collection




Closing comments

I went into this tasting not knowing what to expect but was a fan by the time I was done.  I highly recommend checking out Turkish wines in general and specifically the selections offered by VinoRai.  It looks like their wines are available on Amazon (only California shipping) and selected labels are available nationwide by Compass Wines.  Check out VinoRai’s site for options by clicking here.


After exchanging several e-mails with Shane Rai, I did learn one meaty tidbit of information; by law Turkish wineries are not allowed to market their winery and products in Turkey.



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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.