Turkey’s First Pinot Noir - Chamlija

The First Pinot Noir Wine From Turkey: CHAMLIJA 
- by Cass Lam

"Pinot Noir is not an easy grape to grow. It's elusive and extremely fussy with terroir and weather..." I was told long time ago even before I started my first WSET course. Back then my favorite wine was made from Carménère, Shiraz or Zinfandel - basically any full-bodied  New World wine that could make me tipsy easily.

Six years later, I found myself crazily in love with Pinot Noir, a variety that is quite unapproachable and yet so sexy, delicate and elegant, which was once considered unmanageable outside France.

Chamlija Pinot Noir 2014
In HK, where 90% of the wine lovers is obsessed with blue-chip "fine wine" - generally refers to Bordeaux Premier Crus and Burgundy Grand Crus, New World Pinot Noir from New Zealand and the US have just started to take off while Burgundy still dominates the market, let alone Ancient World or other Old World Pinot Noir. 
Turkey is just a whole new category. It definitely sounds unprecedented and unique, and that's why I think CHAMLIJA Winery is making a breakthrough and playing a prominent role in the Turkish Wine Renaissance. 
Turkey is probably the last place on earth you'd expect to product Pinot Noir although its native grape Kalecik Karasi is always synonymous with Pinot Noir because it has all the red fruit, spice and pepper notes you’d expect to find in your favorite bottle from New Zealand or Oregon. 
Last week's sampling
Last week, we were so excited and thrilled to sample two Pinot of Chamlija. They were nothing like the New World. In fact, they reminded me much of Burgundy-styled Pinot and also Hamilton Russell Vineyards from South Africa. 
The context is crucial. Chamlija's Pinot is grown on Strandja Massif near where European Turkey meets Bulgaria and the Black Sea. 
Chamlija Felix Culpa Pinot Noir 2014
Chamlija Pinot Noir 2014
Medium-bodied. We detected raspberry and a bit vanilla scents. We let it sit for 30 mins after taking our first sip - subtle and young. As the aromas aerated, flavors started to mellow out and soften with a lot of toasted red fruit notes showing. Young but full of aging potential. It still tasted fantastic and juicy after 2 days (well kept in the fridge). Very good-value. 
Chamlija Felix Culpa Pinot Noir 2014
Medium to full-bodied. It was obviously sweeter and smoother than the former one. Multiple dimensions, complex and charming that it evolved along the way. It tasted like a different wine after an hour breathing. It has so much to offer. It has the dry, lithe character that makes the wine so fine to pair with Chinese or Turkish food. It still tasted fantastic and juicy after 2 days (well kept in the fridge).
To find out more about Chamlija:
Exotic Wine Travel:
ParMieux Wine Adventures
The Drink Business:
Author: Turkish Wine Club Asia
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