Traditional Turkish Buzbag… The Kayra Way

Press Release

Traditional Turkish Buzbag… The Kayra Way

Kayra’s Buzbag Öküzgözü-Bogazkere 2017 (pronounced Bush-bag Oh-cooz-goe-zue-Bow-aahz-keh-reh) is as rich in history as it is in vowels and consonants, and a whole lot easier to drink than pronounce!

‘Buzbag’ is a blend of two of Turkey’s six main indigenous varietals, and dates back to 1944 and the early days of the Turkish Republic when Atatürk employed two French oenologists to explore ways of reviving the country’s 6,000-year-old winemaking history.  They blended two red grapes from Eastern Anatolia - Öküzgözü and Bogazkere - and this was the origin of the now legendary ‘Buzbag’, which is still today one of Turkey’s top selling wines.

Kayra’s long-standing winemaker Daniel O’Donnell (a native Californian who has notched up 20 years’ worth of experience in Chile, Argentina, Italy and China) takes up the tale.  “These two wonderful grapes complement each other perfectly,” he explains.  “The Turkish palate is all about tannins and Bogazkere has these in bucket loads.  We can’t dispense with them as this wine is a best-seller in Turkey, but we’ve used the soft tannins, generous acidity and elegance of Öküzgözü to balance them out and create this much softer example of Buzbag.”

Kayra’s Buzbag Öküzgözü-Bogazkere 2017                                              12.5% ABV
RRP £12.25, strictlywine.co.uk
Previous Vintages available at: Greatwinesdirect.co.uk (2015 & 2016 - RRP £11.56); corkingwines.co.uk (2015 - RRP £10.85)

We’ve spent 15 years of trial and study trying to get this wine to a really high-quality level for its price point, and I think we’re now there.”             Daniel O’Donnell

Daniel and the winemaking team at Kayra have spent the last 15 years nurturing the grapes in the vineyards and winery in order to understand what each varietal had to offer.  “We wanted to find the true soul of each of these two grapes in the different areas they’re grown,” explains Daniel.  “Vintage on vintage this then becomes a balancing act to overcome variational effects and coax out the true potential of each grape in the blending process.”

Daniel is a vocal supporter of Öküzgözü, which Kayra grows in the mineral rich soils in Elazig in eastern Turkey.  “After years of winemaking, I have never been so enchanted by a single grape,” he enthuses.  “The vineyards start at 1,000m and the old, low yielding vines grow on rocks with a very shallow level of topsoil in a hot, dry, continental climate which sees temperatures rise to 45oC during the day.”  The region has been organic for the last 5,000 years, as there is no need for chemical fungicides or herbicides.  “Our soils see a bit of manure every four to five years, but that’s about the extent of it,” explains Daniel.   The cold night temperatures allow the berries to retain a good level of activity, so the wines made from these grapes have mature tannins and developed red and dark fruit aromas and textures without being overripe.  They are also juicy, and fresh.”

Kayra blends 66% of this grape with 34% of the powerful Bogazkere from old vines in the Diyarbakir region in south-eastern Turkey.  The climate here is similar, with vineyards starting at 1,200m altitude, but soil composition is a bit richer with maybe several feet of soil and decomposed granite as the vineyard is in a valley floor surrounded by a granite monolith structures several hundred feet high.  The berries are very small and thick-skinned, and the varietal is one that is highly tannic with a low juice to skin ratio that tends to give the structure and framework to the Buzbag blend. 

According to Daniel, the key is a short skin contact fermentation so this wine doesn’t overwhelm the juiciness of the Öküzgözü but complements it by allowing architectural framework.  This Bogazkere from this vineyard brings dark fruit and minty aromas to the finished blend, alongside some rustic aromas and flavours.  “Bogazkere is a grape with an opinion and a voice for sure that wants - no, needs - to be heard.  It brings richness and strength,” says Daniel.  “Now where is that Stilton?  This is a terrific match for Stilton!”

Kayra’s Buzbag Öküzgözü-Bogazkere 2017 also pairs well with meat dishes with sauces and traditional Turkish dishes. 

Widely recognised as one of Turkey’s leading producers, Kayra is on a mission to reintroduce the indigenous Anatolian varietals to the global wine world, and has put considerable investment into its research in the belief these varietals have the potential to produce great wines.



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Date of issue:                   13 November 2018

Further information:      emma wellings pr      020 8996 5168      emma@ew-pr.co.uk