23 December 2015

Turkish Wine of the Week - Chamlija 2014 Riesling

A friend of mine was in town not too long ago and I met her at her hotel for a drink. Normally I'd have suggested Solera or one of the other wine places I like so much but she was staying at Soho House and I couldn't not go.

Soho House is a private club/luxury hotel with locations around the world. A new location was recently opened in Istanbul in what was the American Consulate here. Now the American Consulate is far outside the city it might as well be in Bulgaria. It's a gorgeous building and Soho House has done a lot of expensive renovation on it. Interestingly enough it's still owned by the Consulate (there are some rules as to what one can and can't do with things owned by embassies) but Soho House has leased it for something like 99 years. Since I don't have an impressive enough bank account nor am I cool enough to get membership, I can only get into Soho House with a member or guest of the hotel.

Inside it's all muted lighting, semi uncomfortable furniture (sure I'm a little overweight but I don't usually have a problem getting my rather non-existent hips into an armchair!), and hushed voices. Use of social media at the hotel is forbidden as are making phone calls (in the club) and taking pictures. They even go so far as to put it on the coasters (one of which I nabbed).


What does this have to do with wine? Just reaffirming that I would rather be home drinking some Turkish wine than hanging out in a club that's too cool for me with prices reminiscent of my DC days (cocktails ranged from between  35-40 TL).

Even though summer is over and I generally only drink white wine in the summer, I couldn't resist any longer the Chamlija Reisling I bought at the end of the season. I generally like Riesling and since I have yet to meet a Chamlija wine I don't like I thought that this would probably be 90 TL (from La Cave) well-spent. I was right.

Rieslings are fruity, aromatic wines that can run the gamut from super sweet to dry. If you're looking for a particular style but the label doesn't describe the sweetness level you can tell by the alcohol content. Generally the lower the alcohol content the sweeter the Riesling is. Chamlija's 2014 Riesling, at 13.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), was on the drier side.

A beautiful pale to medium lemon, this Riesling has a delicate and beautiful nose of possibly jasmine, honeysuckle, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and green apple. Rieslings have a fairly wide range of possible flavors the most dominant of which depend largely on whether the grapes are from cooler or warmer climates. Chamlija's vineyard is only 120 kilometers from Istanbul which I guess puts in somewhere in the temperate climate area? I really must find a friend who doesn't mind squiring me around though because as close as Chamlija is, it might as well be on the other side of the country to someone like me who doesn't drive.

In the mouth it's smooth and clean with zesty citrus, honeysuckle, green apples, and cantaloupe; super lovely. With medium high acidity it's also quite literally mouth watering! It's so rare that I like any white wine that's not sweet so I'm over the moon when I do. Chamlija has scored for me a couple times now; once with their Viognier-Narince, with the single varietal Viognier and now with this. I really do heart Chamlija.

Not only are Chamlija wines gorgeous to drink but their labels are beautiful. I believe that the daughter of the current vintner designs all of them. I think I should like a print to hang in my apartment. Perhaps one of these days when I make it to winery!

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