Friday, November 18, 2011

YAŞASIN! ... from the Vinkara Vineyards!!

Hip hip hooray or ... Yaşaşın! to Vinkara Vineyards!!! This fairly new Turkish wine producer has just introduced a naturally sparkling wine produced using the "Method Traditionelle" used in producing Champagne!

Of course, they cannot call it champagne as only those produced in Champagne, France can be classifed as such... but Vinkara - has captured the same taste!

The first tasting of Yaşasın (roughly translated means hooray, yippee, long live, etc.) was held at the Marmara Taksim Hotel last night (November 17) and participants included restauranteurs, sommeliers, press, friends and me!

Guests started gathering at the hotel's Tuti Balkon at around 7:00pm where we were first served a variety of fruit cocktails to tide us over until the official presentation began at 7:30pm...

The speaker was Mr. Marco Monchiero, a wine producer and oenologist residing in Italy and a consultant at Vinkara Vineyards since 2008.

Mr. Marco Monchiero (left) and translator (right)
Mr. Monchiero has been producing wines under his own label "Monchiero Carbone" since 1990 and has been a consultant to numerous vineyards since 1993.

The "champenoise" method of producing sparkling wine is a very complicated and long process, but he was able to give us a "short" version in a way we could very easily understand.

Vinkara's Yaşasın brand was produced with Kalecik Karası grapes, normally used to produce red wine which are harvested at Vinkara's vineyards in Kalecik, Ankara.

I will not get into the technical side of the production of this sparkling wine as this is not my field, however, I do want to mention that Mr. Monchiero said that Kalecik Karası grapes are very similar to Pinor Noir grapes used to produce champagne and that's why the production was very successful.

After this introduction, he popped the first cork and we excitedly waited for that first flute of sparkling wine!

To make a very long story short, I think I probably drank a whole bottle by myself last night! Yaşasın received high marks from the sommeliers who were present as well as all the other guests in attendance.

Yaşasın sparkling wine will be sold at specialty wine shops throughout Istanbul and the rest of the country as well as the wine and chocolate shop located at the entrance of the Marmara Taksim Hotel. The retail price was not officially announced but will be between 80 to 90 TL (vat included).

With the holidays coming up, I recommend that you stock up on Yaşasın to ring in the New Year!


For those of you not familiar with Vinkara wines, I suggest you visit their website for detailed information at

I was first "introduced" to Vinkara wines when I was still at The Guide Istanbul and I was sent several bottles of Vinkara's first crop of wines introduced to the market - the Doruk Series - earlier last year with a press release. At that time, PR companies were still allowed to send complimentary bottles of alcoholic beverages, but alas, this is no longer permitted by law. 

To be quite frank with you, I wasn't very impressed with the labels of the wines, but was very pleasantly surprised when I tasted the wines!
Then later on - in November 2010 to be exact, I attended the opening night party of Contemporary Istanbul (an annual contemporary art event). As with all parties, a wine company - in this case Vinkara, was a co-sponsor of the event.
Normally, I took a glass of wine from the the servers walking around the room, but at one point, I went to the table to get a glass... and what do I see? Vinkara Wines with the most beautifully designed labels!

I know they didn't "read my mind", but I guess they too realized that their earlier labels were not up to par and did something about it! Once again, Kudos to Vinkara! Now, everything was complete... not only are Vinkara's wines very good - they also look good!

Then, earlier on this year, I had the opportunity to attend another event where a tasting and lunch was organzied for a group of food and wine writers where we had a chance to taste some wines from the "Quattro" series and the "Mahzen" or "Reserve" series... need I say, we were once again very impressed!

This very new Turkish wine producer is quickly starting to make a mark for itself on the Turkish wine market and in fact, has won several awards at prestigious international wine competitions and events.

So, if you haven't had a chance to try these wines, I highly recommend that you try a bottle soon - I'm sure you too will find a wine to your liking among the many choices available!


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