09 December 2014

Turkish Wine of the Week - The Suvla Surs

Last week I went to the Suvla shop in Cihangir for a bottle of Sur, completely forgetting that there were two. When I was stumped by which one to try first my friend there, Nusrat, suggested getting them both and comparing them. Never one to turn down a good opportunity to drink yet more wine I happily accepted his proposal.

Suvla makes two Surs, one a 2011 and the other a 2010. Both are blends of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot (although in different percentages). Let's begin, as I did, with the 2011.

A dense garnet red the nose was redolent with spice and blackberry. According to the description on the bottle I should also be getting mocha in the nose but in all my years of wine drinking I have never been able to detect coffee aromas. Ever. Since wine and coffee are my two favorite beverages I'm rather disappointed by this (although God forbid I ever encounter the Coke Blak version of wine-shudder).

The 2011 has medium tannins that slowly expand to fill the mouth. Don't get me wrong, it's not chewy in anyway and if you're not a tannin lover you still might like this. What I enjoyed about the tannins in 2011 is that they present like a wave; building up slowly, breaking over the tongue to fill the mouth, then receding to leave you with all the flavor and none of the cottony dryness that heavy tannins cause.

I think there's a little jamminess coming through with the Cabernet Franc. I know 'jammy' isn't a favorite descriptor for a lot of wine professionals but personally I love jammy wines so that was a plus for me. I'm curious as to the type of oak (i.e. American or French) used to age this wine and I really must remember to ask. There was a kind of, I don't know, maybe a smokiness to the flavor? It was faint but there and I wondered if it came from the oak.

Now the 2010. Wow. This was like two wines in one. My initial impression, after I picked myself up off the floor from the explosivity of the flavor, was of a vivid wine; tart and juicy with blueberries and prunes and a flavor as bright as its bright cherry color. A low tannin wine, it dances softly and elegantly in the mouth. 

But there's a second wine hiding inside. The more it opened the deeper and oakier it became. It was almost like being able to taste the aging process and again I would like to know what kind of oak Suvla uses.

2011                                                                                           2010

Merlot 57%                                                                           Merlot 50%
Cabernet Franc 22%                                                             Cabernet Franc 14%
Cabernet Sauvignon 19%                                                     Cabernet Sauvignon 34%
Petit Verdot 2%                                                                     Petit Verdot 2%

I really felt utterly decadent sitting all by my onesy with two glasses and two bottles.

I've never tried to compare two vintages of the 'same' wine. Probably I should have Googled a how to. But going by my taste buds, this is what I got:

2011                                                                                       2010

Jammy                                                                                   Tart/Juicy
Spice                                                                                      Spice
Med tannins                                                                           Light tannins
Velvety                                                                                   Bright
Consistent                                                                              Layered         

So after all that, where do I come down? At first I liked the 2010 better. I really loved the initial juiciness but my love affair kind of died as it opened and the oakyness became more apparent. In the end I surprised myself by coming down on the side of the 2011. The 2010 might go really well with grilled meats but I don't really have a lot of grilled meat laying around. What I do have is Parmesan* and chocolate. Especially the latter. Neither of those went particularly well with the 2010 but with the 2011...the Parmesan softened the spice and let the berry flavors shine and with chocolate...dude. The 2011 intensified the chocolate and made my 1 TL candy bar taste like premiere European chocolate. So I guess it's really a no brainer as to which I like better!

*This reminds me...on my recent trip to London L and I escaped the rain with lunch in an Italian restaurant off Leicester Square. I ordered the Carbonara (and we're all shocked of course that I was eating bacon like it were going out of style) and of course accepted the offer of freshly grated Parmesan. Our flirty waiter stopped to check on us a few minutes later joking that he just knew we wanted more cheese. I laughingly told him that with the price that I pay for Parmesan in Turkey he could stand there grating all afternoon. Five minutes later he sidled up to our table with a napkin wrapped package that turned out to be several pounds of Parmesan. L couldn't stop laughing about my 'tribute' (especially since it turned out that night was the world premiere of whatever the new Hunger Games movie is at the Odeon in Leicester). And he wouldn't even let us tip him. He's now my cheese boyfriend.

BTW - I accept tribute in all forms but cheese is definitely one of my favorites.

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