25 August 2014

Turkish Wine of the Week - Suvla Kirte

Despite my resolve to review whites for the summer I'm moving back to reds. I just really don't like dry whites under the best of circumstances and I think I've finally run out of Miskets. So now it's back to tannins and red wine hangovers.

Suvla wines break my rule about buying "reasonably-priced" wine. The Sur (which I'm trying to find another bottle of so I may properly review it) sets you back about 80TL which is more than I generally pay for wine regardless of which country produces it. However-they're worth it. They're so very much worth it.

Not being able to locate the Sur, I picked up another Suvla wine I've been wanting to try: the Kirte. At Carrefour no less. My Carrefour seems to have revamped not just the shelves in its wine section but also the selection it carries. And while 52TL/bottle is still more than I'd like to spending on a Turkish wine (and frankly still more than what I'd normally pay for any wine under other circumstances), at least it wasn't the 80TL for which I'd steeled myself.

The Kirte is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah with just that tiny amount of Petit Verdot added both for color and to give the Cab Sauv that lift it needs out of its general mediocrity. While you may chance across a Petit Verdot varietal wine in the US (I miss you VA wineries!), it is more often added to red blends (usually Bordeaux styles) for color. Turkey is apparently taking a leaf from neighboring Old World producers and doing the same here; and not without a nice effect. Suvla Kirta is a beautiful, deep ruby color that glows a bit in the light.

Sherlock's new favorite perch - preferable to climbing up my leg
Price is not always an indicator of whether or not a wine is good but sometimes you really do get what you pay for. While it's not a knock-you-on-your-ass, big, bold Italian, the Kirte it is a lovely medium bodied red that kicks the crap out of a lot of the other Turkey-produced reds (ahem, I'm looking at you Diren Okuzgozu/Bogazkere and pretty much the entire Diren Collection lineup).

It's not jammy as Syrahs can be, but the cherry and red fruits balance nicely with the pepper that I usually taste in a Cab Sauv. And for all its greater percentage of Cab Sauv, it did not give me that dry, overly spicy, I need meat stat feeling I often get. If semi-dense is a thing that's what I'd say the Kirte is; semi-dense, smooth, and silky*.

It also paired very well with my usual eat-in dinner of sauteed garlic, shallots, and cherry tomatoes over linguine topped with a semi-hard goat cheese. As a testing ground for red wine pairings it's a pretty easy route to take. I also generally prefer simple to make meals both because I'm lazy and usually because Sherlock is attempting to climb up my leg. Which is not a good pairing for chopping things with a big knife. Speaking of cheese, the Kirte also paired nicely with the Manchego (spoils of London) that I've been hoarding.

All in all-Suvla Kirte is a very satisfying red that's entirely worth the sticker price. We will become good friends, the Kirte and I.

*I looked these up, aside from the questionable 'semi-dense' the rest are legit wine descriptors and I may even be using them correctly.

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