It is probably a rare wine drinker that walks into a fancy restaurant and tells the wine steward, "Bring me some of your finest Turkish wines." The country of Turkey is not typically known as being a producer of fine wines and isn't always given the respect and regard that it deserves because of its wine production. However, once you start to learn a little bit about wines from Turkey, you may find that indeed it would be good if your favorite restaurant began serving this choice!
Interestingly enough, wine drinking was actually banned in Turkey for some 500 years during the rule of the Ottoman empire, but fortunately for us today wines from Turkey have made quite a comeback and are being rediscovered by wine connoisseurs around the world. Also, because the country is now looking to be more competitive economically, wine growers are realizing the importance of producing a product that is palatable to a worldwide audience. What makes them so high-quality?
The Climate of Turkey
One of the reasons that Turkish wines are so high quality is because of the climate of the country. Their warm and dry Mediterranean summers and mild winters make for some of the best grape harvests there are. Even inland away from the Mediterranean, there are pockets of wine producing regions, some more successful in grape growing and harvesting than others.
Grapes Grown in Turkey
There are actually some 1,000 different grapes that are grown in Turkey, but the vast majority of them are used for fruit or raisins. Only about 40 types of grapes are made into Turkish wines. However, these grapes include many local types, including Bogazkere, Kalecik Karasi, Karasakiz, Çalkarasi, and Öküzgözü for the red variety, Emir, Narince and Sultaniye for white wines. With the fourth-largest vineyard area in the world, but with such a small percentage of those grapes for wine growth, it is no wonder that the few wines they produce need to be of the best quality.
Looking Forward to the Future
Despite the one-time ban on wines from Turkey due to religious taboo, they are now becoming more competitive on the worldwide market and because Turkey is looking to compete on a global scale both economically and culturally, the future can only hold good things for their winemakers. While they may have some catching up to do when it comes to being competitive with their nearby countries, it's likely that Turkey will appreciate the natural gift they have of a beautiful climate that is perfect for grape growing and winemaking. Certainly the future holds only good things for those who love and appreciate Turkish wines.