Winemaker Dinner - Paşaeli wines with Seyit Karagözoğlu23-09-2022
Introduction to the event
The theme of the evening was celebrating curiosity! Curiosity for high quality, unknown grape varieties. We did this together with Seyit Karagözoğlu, the founder of Paşaeli Wines. We had a tasting of 7 wines by Paşaeli with a matching 5-course dinner at Mems Amsterdam.
Briefly about the winemaker
Invited to this event was Seyit Karagözoğlu, founder of Paşaeli Wines. A boutique of Turkish wineries focused on the revival of extinct Turkish grape varieties since their inception in 2002. All their wines are single vineyard, terroir wines, which explains why Paşaeli's vineyards are so spread out (between Thrace and the Aegean Sea), allowing each grape variety to represent its "homeland. "A truly unique expression of the grape and terroir. It feels like being there for a while.
What did you like best?
I was most impressed with the Pasaeli Sidalan 2021, a beautiful white wine with a monk seal on the label that was almost extinct just like this grape variety, Sidalan. This wine reminded me of a Chablis with a soft and elegant touch. Beautiful golden lemon color in the glass, medium acidity, medium(+) body, bone dry, short to medium finish. Lovely floral notes on the nose combined with green apple, lime zest, butter, green grass and minerals. On the palette a nice combination of sour green apple, orange zest, pear, peach, minerals, vanilla with a very fresh finish.
So what does the winemaker do?
Seyit Karagözoglu founded Pasaeli in 2002. Since day one he has been a strong believer in the indigenous varieties of Turkey. All the wines are single vineyard, terroir wines, which explains why Pasaeli's vineyards are so spread, between Thrace and Aegean so that each grape variety can represent its' "homeland". He really wants to show the terroir.
After the first successful experiments, the big hunt for local and abandoned grapes has begun. Kolorko, Yapincak, Çakal, Çal Karasi, Sidalan - some of these grapes are rescued by Pasaeli from extinction and found only in their portfolio.
Many of these rare grape varieties are micro vineyards and would never have been marketed if not for the dedication to the local, true "treasures" of Turkey that Pasaeli has. Total production is currently around 150.000 bottles a year.
Some of the wines are made in as little as 500 bottles per label. All the red wines are wild ferments, so no artificial yeasts are added. Most of the wines are suitable for vegans as they aren't fined using animal additives. For example, for clearing the wine they use a special kind of clay. All grapes are hand harvested.
Short about the wines
The wines of the evening were a selection from a nicely constructed portfolio of different grapes. They were all single vineyards in order to let the grape and terroir speak for itself. The flight consisted of pet-nat, lots of white, rose, orange, red and a sweet dessert wine. For most, they were aged to a greater or lesser extent sur-lie combined with batonnage. This makes a rounder wine with creamy and complex textures. This causes these wines to have many traces of residual yeasts that you can clearly taste as biscuit, cheese, cream and butter. It’s an expression of the wines that you will find in the wines.
Which wines were there?
- Naif Pet-Nat Blush Çalkarasi, sparkling wine from Çalkarasi grape
- Paşaeli Sidalan, white wine from Sidalan grape
- Paşaeli Çalkarası Blush, rosé from Çalkarasi grape
- Paşaeli Meşeli Yapıncak, white wine from old Yapıncak vines
- Paşaeli Skin Contact Sidalan, orange wine from Sidalan grape
- Paşaeli 6N Old Vines 'Wild Fermented' Karasakız, red wine from old Karasakız vines
- Paşaeli Morso di Sole, dessert wine from Sultaniye grape
Pasaeli Naif Pet-Nat Blush Calkarasi, sparkling wine from Çalkarasi grape (85/100 TSW)
Special experience, bubbles completely different from other pet-nats due to the less aggressive bubble.
Salmon rose with a brick glow
Yeast, biscuit, peach, sour red apple, strawberries
On the palate dry, medium(+) bodied with med(+) acidity, fresh peach, sweet and sour peach, strawberries, green apple little bit of currants with a medium length finish.
Calkarasi can make complex red wines with a hint of spice. The Calkarasi grape variety is often used to "rescue" local blends in the hottest years to increase freshness on the palate. With its ability to retain acidity and low tannins, it results in fresh and summery red wines.
Drink stand alone or with some vegetable dip or light fish appetizers.
Pasaeli Sidalan, white wine from Sidalan grape (91/100 TSW)
My favorite of the evening
Beautiful golden lemon color
Lovely floral notes on the nose combined with green apple, lime zest, butter, green grass and minerals
On the palette bone dry, medium(+) bodied with med(+) acidity, medium alcohol with a nice combination of sour green apple, orange zest, pear, peach, minerals, vanilla with a long fresh finish.
Sidal is an indigenous to north Aegean region white grape variety. It grows 300 meters above sea level, the perfect altitude for some acidity in a mediterranean climate.
To pair with: seafood, fish dishes, veggie dips.
Pasaeli Calkarası Blush, rosé from Calkarasi grape (87/100 TSW)
On the medium nose of candied cherries, chemical strawberry gum, earth, yeast, cheese.
On the palate medium-dry, medium(+) bodied with med(+) acidity, gastronomic wine with strawberry, minerals, earth, cherry and raspberry with a medium to short length finish.
Calkarasi can make complex red wines with a hint of spice and in this rose it gives more complexity by 3 months on its lees and stirred one a week. It's called Blush but it's not an American kind of sweet Blush wine!
To pair with: strong vegetables like beetroot with green herbs, fish dishes, salads, and better not drink on its own.
Pasaeli Meseli Yapıncak, white wine from old Yapıncak vines (86/100 TSW)
Gold straw lemon touch
On the medium(+) nose lots of cheese, feet, yeast, minerals, green apple, wood and vanilla.
On the palate dry, full bodied with med(+) acidity, high alcohol buttery green apple, minerality, vanilia, peach, pear with a medium(+) length finish.
Yapincak is naturally low in yield which perhaps was one of the reason it became almost extinct. These grapes come from the 30 years old vineyard in Yayakoy.
To pair with: fried vegetables with strong savory and spiced up garlic yogurt.
Pasaeli Skin Contact Sidalan, orange wine from Sidalan grape (90/100 TSW)
Second best of the night but not your typical orange wine. It smells like an orange wine but doesn't look like one, it has the complexity of an orange wine.
Golden amber look on the pale side, doesn’t show that its an orange wine.
On the medium(+) nose of orange, orange zest, green apple, peach, citrus, honey, rusty and oxidative.
On the palate off-dry, medium(+) bodied with medium(+) acidity, medium(-) tannin, medium (+) alcohol nice present tannins with orange zest, green and red apple, sour peach, honey, rosemary, strafing, oxidative but with a nice freshness with a medium(+) length finish.
Nosiola grape tends to offer very neutral aromas in its natural state but this is something else. Unique wine.
Great in combination with grilled meat, fish, vegetables and yogurt.
Pasaeli 6N Old Vines 'Wild Fermented' Karasakız, red wine from old Karasakız vines (89/100 TSW)
Light see thru clear ruby
On the medium(+) nose rasberry, wood, vanila, strawberry, white pepper, nutmeg, blueberries and blackberries.
On the palate off-dry, medium(+) body, medium tannin, medium(-) acidity, medium(+) alcohol showing full cherries, rosemary, black pepper, wood, vanila, strawberry, aromatic spices with a medium length finish.
Karaskiz is famous for its black pepper profile, producing wines of medium body, low tannin and medium acidity. This grape usually gives a characteristic light red transparent color that you almost think it is a rose wine.
To pair with: grilled meat with spices and garlic.
Pasaeli Morso di Sole, dessert wine from Sultaniye grape (84/100 TSW)
Amber maple syrup
On the deep nose of candied and ripe apple, orange, honey, sweet parfum, syrup.
On the palate sweet, medium(+) bodied with medium(+) acidity, medium(+) alcohol giving the most sweetest wine experience i've ever had with raisins, apple syrup, very ripe apple, roasted nuts, orange caramel with a long finish.
Sultaniye is probably the most planted Turkish grape and it is not a wine grape! It's a table grape that is used for making raisins and raki. Chalky and clay loam soils are the best for this variety that produces big heavy grape bunches.
Drink on its own as a dessert, if you want to pair it, do it with something opposite from sweet, like sour of savory like yogurt of french cheese like camembert
More about the event
This event is a part of the Winemaker Dinner series by Terroir Journey. They invite winemakers, winery owners, oenologists - the people from behind the wine labels. A real chance to get first hand insights from people from the field. Terroir Journey is a complete wine experience company organizing wine tastings, wine dinners, wine tours and wine flash sales with a focus on wines from indigenous grapes coming from off the radar wine regions.
Founded in 2019 by Henrietta Straton, a WSET wine educator with a passion for rare wines that express the terroir they come from. Henrietta moved to the Netherlands in 2021 taking along her company, Terroir Journey, and offers wine consultancy services, private wine tastings and wine gifts to companies and individuals.
Find out more about Terroir Journey: Visit website
In short, this was an event to get acquainted with Turkish wines in an excellent way with special grapes you won't find anywhere else. Modern yet old flavors that show a lot of potential for the future.
Thanks a lot Henrietta and Seyit for this experience!
More information about the winemaker: pasaeli.com