Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wine & Kareoke - Bozcaada Continued...

                                                               We returned to our "otel" http://egehotel.com/index.htm
after touring the fort.  The Ege is a lovely little place with a charming courtyard and a very nice host who made us all feel quite welcome.  We could see the sea from our window if we looked at an angle, but the lack of an immediate view didn't really matter because we were a bit drowsy and ready for a short sleep before touring the wine rooms.  We opened up the windows and slumbered for a bit.  My room mate is a dancer / art teacher who works at the same school and she too was ready for a breezy Turkish nap.

The weather here is still quite lovely and warm.  I woke about an hour later aware of voices in the courtyard.  Our group was assembling for the tour.  We had four shops to visit, though there are more on the island.  I believe these were selected by recommendation of quality.

First on the tour was the Talay Winery http://www.talay.com.tr/Talay-Eng/documents/45.html  (if I remember correctly)  Please understand we had been on an all night bus ride, two ferries, a trek through the fortress, short snooze followed by tastings at four different wine shops.  I may have gotten the order confused, though I know for certain which we visited last.  At any rate... I was impressed by this small shop's ability to pour samplings from 5 different wines to 25 people lined up at a small bar.  I was also impressed with their Cabernet / Merlot blend, and at 20 TL (roughly $11 US), I now wish I had bought a case.  We actually ended up drinking this wine in the bus on the way home while..... oh never mind.  That story will have to wait. 

The history of wine and the island of Bozcaada, also known as Tenedos, goes back many many years.  Turkish history has toyed a bit with the ability to continuously produce a quality product en masse from this local, but I hope and pray that this up and coming region will find an international market for their products, yet maintain the home grown organic attitude of the current vintners.  Do see some of these links if you are interested in the generations who have struggled to keep their craft alive and viable.  These are interesting and fascinating people.
Next we ambled down the narrow alley ways back to the main arterial to Ataol Winery.  This is the only shop where I did not purchase wine.  Though I was delighted by their cooler of whites and fresh goat cheese.

Some of us took a break at this point to jettison off for ice cream or a coffee or a pastry.  We reconvened and headed to the third shop on our list... Camlibag.  I won't list the link here, because at this point it is all in Turkish.  If any of my readers are truly interested, you probably will be able to find it for yourself, or of course you can e-mail me.  This was a charming spot as well and the pourer of our tastes remained nonplussed with questions and requests.  I liked the whites at this shop, particularly a heavy golden crisp Vasilaki.  I didn't buy a bottle though, thinking perhaps the last winery would produce a perfect white for our fall evening tour of the island.

The plan was to head back to the hotel to freshen up and then to board the bus for an island tour to watch the sunset over the Aegean after our last winery on the tour.  Upon arriving back in the main thoroughfare of town, I realized the next winery was an unknown (little did I know) and that white had been so delightful...
I headed back to Camlibag with my friend Prags who had promised to buy me a bottle of wine anyway.  He got away fairly cheap as the bottle of white came to a whopping 12 TL...(maybe $7 US) and I took it back to the "otel" to pop it in the refrigerator so we would have it for our sunset watching.

The plan was to dress for dinner, then head to the last and most well known (evidently) of wineries for a short taste and tour, then sunset, then dinner in town.  Sounded great to us!  We headed up a long dirt road to a gate that was opened just for us, then we had to back the bus out because it was the wrong entrance to the winery.  Once there... we entered the country shop which was lined with interesting artwork including two paintings of crows.  The name of the winery - Corvus.  Conversation with my fellow travelers led us to understand that the word Corvus is a name for crow, and in fact, this winery was built around a crow legend.  Delightful!  I love crows and ravens and I thought immediately of my friend Viki in Oregon who loves crows, wine, and art.  She would have been right at home in this place.  The wine was good.  Exceedingly good, but the best was yet to come. 

Our tour began with this unassuming man in shorts telling us it had been a very long day, and not necessarily a good one for him, so would we please stop plonking on the baby grand that was in the vat room and let him get on with his talk.  YES SIR.  As he spoke, his story and passion emerged... turns out he -
Mr. Reşit Soley - is an extremely famous Turkish architect who also happened to have some little side hobbies of car racing and flying his own planes.  He dumped it all to come to Bozcaada to make wine... following the muse of Corvus... he managed to create a work of nectar perfection which is now served to heads of state all over the planet.  http://www.corvus.com.tr/v2/en-US/content.asp?ctID=132  His passion was contagious and our tour lasted well past the sunset.  He obviously is full of life and loves his craft.  Oh... he is 56 years old and has a new baby at home.  Don't confuse this Corvus with the Washington State Corvus which is a different product all together.  At any rate... we were ushered back to the wine bar where we had the second round of tastings.  I bought Mr. Soley's recommendation, the Kuntra Cabernet which WILL wait for Christmas to be consumed.  

One of our Hosts - Ibrahim Turko
Sunset gone.  We are all hungry.  Dinner is served Turkish style of course on the waterfront.  We share mezes and drinks and a fantastic plate of fish that was cooked to perfection.  Dessert was broiled halva and then the musicians showed up...  These guys were in it for the money and they were loud and pesky up close so a game ensued of one table paying them to go play at the other table, and then visa versa.  They made out ok.

 These are the days my friend... we hope they never end... we'll sing and dance forever and a day....

I don't think anyone wanted the day to end... we milled about back at the inn, and some of us wandered down the streets looking for more...something.... I am not sure what.  Some of us sat back in the inn courtyard talking quietly and forestalling the inevitable sleep.  But nightlife in Bozcaada late September consists mostly of couples and families eating late meals and sharing intimate conversation.  I gave up and headed off to my room for some Turkish TV and a slumber that was fitful and filled with odd dreams.   

You would think the adventure would end there, that the next day would consist of a boring ride back home filled with sleeping adventurists who are all adventured out.  Not so.   

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