April 2017 Meeting - Wines from conflict zones

This month's presentation was given by Kim and Teresa who brought us more obsure wines from former conflict zones ...





% Alc




Narince Vinkara 2015






Semeli Mantinia Nassiakos 2015






Mtsvane, Schuchmann, 2014






Saperavi, Kakhetian, Vinoterra 2014






Château Ksara Réserve du Couvent 2014






Kalecik Karasi, Vinkara 2014






1. TURKEY: Narince Vinkara 2015 (Dry White)

Agreeably approachable Turkish white with ripe fruit and touches of apricot and citrus. No rough edges but fresh too. Narince is a local Anatolian grape, whose leaves are also sought after for dolmades.

The vineyards stand at around 650m above sea level, and are surrounded by mountains, creating an ideal microclimate for viticulture: during the summer, the mountains allow the flow of air to the plain, and in the spring and autumn the accumulated rain act as the vineyards’ natural water supply. They are also only 4km from the Kizilirmak River, which provides irrigation when necessary. This terroir – along with the large variation between day and night temperatures – give grapes grown here a high acidity and wonderful aromatic quality.

White wine, 2 (of 9): dry, 13.0%, no oak flavour, now to 2018


2. GREECE: Semeli Mantinia Nassiakos 2015 (White)

Capturing the scented (lemon and rose-petal) bouquet of the moschofilero grapes at their best, this is a delicious aperitif and goes well with a selection of Greek mezedes, fish and seafood. Leonidas Nasiakos's vines grow at 650m at Zevgolatio in the central Peloponnese where cool nights are ideal for preserving finesse.

Semeli now makes about 70,000 dozens a year, of which 70% is white. The red is 95% aghioghitiko, and the top wines come from the 15-hectare estate in Nemea.

White wine, 1 (of 9): bone dry, moschofilero grape, 12.0%, no oak flavour, now to 2018


3. GEORGIA: Mtsvane, Schuchmann, 2014 (Dry White)

Original medium-full dry white with intense flavour and satisfyingly crisp aftertaste. The mtsvane grape local to the Kakheti region in east Georgia, when properly cared for as here makes fine wine that keeps its freshness well, matching the excellent local dishes.

Burkhard Scuchmann founded this winery at Telavi in the heart of Kakheti, Georgia's premier wine region in 2008, with the aim of specialising in top-quality wines from local grape varieties with the help of experienced winemaker Giorgi Dakishvili.

Wine has been made in this part of Georgia for 8,000 years, and the local varieties have proved that they work very well here, when cultivated for quality rather than volume.

White wine, 2 (of 9): dry, 13.0%, no oak flavour, now to 2019


4. GEORGIA: Saperavi, Kakhetian, Vinoterra 2014 (Dry Red)

Saperavi, making full-flavoured age worthy reds, is Georgia's outstanding red grape variety. It responds superbly to the traditional method of fermentation in subterranean clay amphoras, qvevri, before ageing a year in French oak to enhance development, resulting here in a rich red with ripe cherry notes and good structure.

Red wine, medium bodied, 13.0%, light oak flavour, now to 2021


5. LEBANON: Château Ksara Réserve du Couvent 2014 (Red)

The wine the Lebanese drink, Ksara is the country's oldest winery. This is a big, chunky and spicy red made from a Mediterranean blend of mostly syrah and cabernet sauvignon.

Chateau Ksara is the oldest and largest winery in Lebanon, and with over 150 years of experience it is not surprising that their wines win awards every year.

Winemaking actually began in Lebanon a staggering 5,000 years ago, and the Christian faith even cites Jesus’ ‘'water to wine’ miracle happened here. This rich winemaking history means it is not surprising that it is Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley that hosts the ancient Roman temple of Bacchus – Roman God of wine – rather than other more famous wine-producing countries.

In fact, Chateau Ksara has fittingly religious roots: it was founded by Jesuit monks in 1857, who brought the winery through the first 120 years of its existence, only relinquishing control to local businessmen in 1973. It was these monks who discovered the stunning underground caves that are still used to store Ksara’s wines and that are part of the reason it is such a popular visitor attraction for wine lovers worldwide. The monks were also responsible for producing Lebanon’s first dry red wine.

At the end of the First World War, the French were mandated to govern Lebanon as part of the Versailles peace talks. This meant an insurgence of French soldiers and civil servants whose palates were not used to the traditional sweet raisin-based wines of Lebanon, so the monks began to plant more French varieties such as carignan, muscat and ugni blanc, setting them in good stead for the Rhône and Bordeaux varieties for which they are now famous.

Incredibly, the chateau didn’t miss a single vintage during Lebanon’s war-ravaged years towards the end of the 20th century, and in 1993 it began planting cabernet sauvignon and syrah – the two varieties that now make up their ever-popular Réserve du Couvent wine.

Red wine, medium bodied, cabernet shiraz grape, 13.5%, no oak flavour, now to 2019


6, TURKEY: Kalecik Karasi, Vinkara 2014 (Red)

This is a Turkish original whose fragrant bouquet evoking raspberry and redcurrant, and charming and seductively caressing palate, should appeal to Burgundy lovers. It is delicious drunk cellar cool.

Vinkara – based in Kalecik, a town in the mountainous region north-east of Ankara – has been putting its heart and soul into revitalising the reputation of Turkish wines since 2003.

In fact, the Anatolia region, which encompasses most of Turkey, has a viticultural tradition dating back to the Hittites in 3000BC, but during the country’s turbulent political journey both the levels of production and the quality diminished.

Red wine, full bodied, 14.0%, light oak flavour, now to 2019


All wines from The Wine Society, Stevenage