Happening Now Tasting 23: Thera Şarapçılık Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2009, Mugla

Herkese selâm! Still incapacitated, still too displeased to write my usual wine blather, however always willing to give offbeat wine potations a try! Today I am willing to provide my palate with another Turkish wine adventure. Not an autochthonous like at various occasions on this blog. This time I am going fully international on it with a classical blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The offbeat character of this wine might be its origin. Turkish wine from Central and Eastern Anatolya (and perhaps sometimes from the European part of Turkey) might be somehow prominent – at least here and there (and unfortunately most of the time nowhere). Wine from the Aegean mainland coast isn't well known at all. 

In 2006 half way between Izmir and Antalya alongside the Mediterranean coast two German wine enthusiasts from Ahr Valley – Frank Josten and Herrman-Josef Kreuzberg of the fairly respectable Weingut Kreuzberg – started with their local partner Mustafa Al a mostly daring and microscopically tiny project called Thera

The grapes for today's blend – 70 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 30 % Merlot – were cultivated in Yerkesik and Yenikoy in Mugla Province on an elevation of 300 to 700 meters above sea-level. The 15 to 18 months aging took place in lightly toasted Allier oak barrels. So … enough input for today. My wrist and tendon sheath is starting to hurt again. What a relief, even in times of incapacitation and pain there are a few positive aspects. I leave it up to you to imagine which ones I mean … anyway let's have a sip before the preventable blather is about to have an unfortunate comeback ….

6:18 pm (popped and poured, with a delay of approx. 10 minutes)

Colour: astoundingly transparent and almost a bit light in colour – dark'ish garnet red might nail it, appears very juvenile all the way to the rim

Nose: kinda overall impression of lively lightness; cranberries, red currant, hint of plum, mild pepper, a hint of thyme and gently fitting tone of earthiness; fruitful without being all too fruitful at the moment; still very shy

Taste: impressively lean and gentle structure and convincing vitality; very appropriate acid and refined tannins; a bit less fruitful – but still very much driven by serious fruit flavours; fruit flavours seem a bit darker and a bit more cherry driven, besides that a fair share of various spices (Merlot'ish ones), nice pepper, starting indications of dark choco, black olives and an underlying raciness of solidly well grilled beef. Seriously (concerning many aspects) quaffable suff! So far I really like that shit!!!

7:29 pm

Nose: about the same, a hint more smoke, some arising cool impressions of violets as well, cranberry lost a bit of “weight”, perhaps some indications of dried tomatoes, the semi-dark cherry aromas from the palate show some nasal occupations; anyway only minimal changes

Taste: elegance and substance (not bold power) are gaining ground; earthy, herbal and smokey characteristics getting a bit stronger and fruit flavours are seeming equally fresh, however slightly affected by Mediterranean warmth, showing still plenty of cool characteristics – far off any clear indications of dried fruits and jam'y affectations

8:31 pm

Nose: again mostly the same, however earthy and mineral (don't know on which soil the grapes were cultivated) are still gaining more and more ground in the nose pattern, which equal in more – still shy – complexity

Taste: I am under the impression that the finish underwent a mentionable lengthening, the mineral punch (seems a bit lime'y) is showing more influence (I guess), structure and style is certainly still the same, so far very decent (slight anticipation) balance

10:14 pm

I am afraid the very garlic'y dish I had about an hour ago is heavily interfering at the moment. The nose is showing even more earthy and at the moment stronger hints of dark Brazilian coffee powder. The fruit is heading towards retreat. My garlic spoiled tongue is spotting stronger flavours of earthiness, black olives, rather expressive flavours of dried Shitake and a bit dusty pitch black strong coffee.

12:15 am (the day after)

Still in a very good shape. Nose seems more earthy, a bit dusty and slightly influenced by barn yard atmo. The remaining fruit appears a bit less fresh. On the palate the Cabernet share is getting more and more predominant. The peppery flavours seem more expressive and even a bit spicy. Merlot's herbal plum characteristics are still very much present, but a little bit less communicative than yesterday. The Merlot choco flavours are still very much in place. The finish is still very decent, however a little bit in reverse mode.

In short: Lean, mostly elegant, vibrant, downright well balanced and seriously intoxicatingly quaffable red blend with very distinct characteristics (not too many high temperature ones). I have no problem to consider this as the best red wine I ever had from Turkey or perhaps even from all of Asia. Very very decent***** stuff indeed!

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