The best Turkish wine is underrated, and more producers are looking abroad due to strict alcohol laws...
Turkey has an ancient winemaking history stretching back millennia, well before the classic civilisations of Greece and Rome helped to cement the popularity of wine as a cultural cornerstone.
But it’s only recently that Turkey’s wine industry has grown sufficiently to become recognised internationally.
Like Italy, Turkey benefits from a vast number of indigenous grape varieties, although many of the varieties are unknown to wine lovers beyond Turkey’s borders. Varieties such as Kalecik Karası and Narince, occasionally blended with international varieties, appear on many labels and really showcase the diversity on offer.
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Turkish wine is even picking up awards, and rightly so – the many regions and sub-regions are developing individual identities, with Thrace, the Aegean Coast and Cappadocia producing the highest quality wines.
Curiously, although Turkey is one of the world’s biggest grape producers, only a tiny percentage is used for winemaking, the majority being grown for table grapes.
Promotion of alcohol has been illegal since 2013, encompassing everything from advertising to wine tastings. This has stalled the wine industry’s domestic growth and so many producers are now seeking success in international markets.
Turkish wines to try