The Essential Guide to Turkish Wines by Andrea Lemieux
Turkish wines are likely not wines you are familiar with. Sadly, there are only a few being exported. But the country is on an upward trajectory with its wines, many of which are ancient and indigenous varieties, from this place, one of the first regions to see vitis vinifera.
Through my wine writing groups, I met Andrea Lemieux. Andrea is based in Istanbul (okay, how cool is it to have a virtual friend in Istanbul!). I was enamored by her glorious little balcony, where she would sip Turkish wines paired with delicious bites, and her cats, Sherlock and Dr. Watson. Visit her IG page at @QuirkyCork, you will be enchanted too. I tease that I need a Tardis (for non-Dr. Who fans, that is, “time and relative dimension in space,” a British blue police box that travels through space and time) so that I can join her. You can find her website at The Quirky Cork
As a wine lover living in Turkey, Andrea searched for a book to tell her about these grapes and the wineries and vineyards. She came up dry. After monitoring the writers in the wine community for a bit, (she figured someone Must be writing it), she saw no one diving in, so she took the plunge.
With Emma Aslihan Baser Rose traveling with her to shoot the stunning photographs and Basak Gökkiliç creating the beautiful graphic artwork, she set out to tell the story of Turkish wine, exploring its long history. She also wanted to share information on these fascinating indigenous grapes and, finally, the stories of the wineries and winemakers.
This last bit was probably the toughest. In Turkey, it is illegal to advertise alcohol. Many wineries do not have websites or social media accounts as these are considered advertising, so how do you find them?
Andrea spent almost 6 years putting this book together, and it is beautiful. Beyond that, it is a great read! She writes in a voice that looks to tell you the story of these places and wines and manages to keep all this information from seeming analytical.
Andrea was our inaugural guest for our “Wine-down Wednesday” book club, and she joined me and Camilla Mann of “Culinary Cam” for a Zoom chat. It’s not quite as good as a TARDIS, but it will do for now. It was dark for all of us. Cam and I were on the West coast US at 8 pm, while Andrea was in the early morning 7 am, before the sun had come up in Istanbul.
We spoke with her about the book, how it came to be, and all the aspects of putting it together. We went on to ask her about the recent devastating earthquakes in Turkey. Then we finished on a lighter note, discussing the potential for her to collaborate on a similar book on Greek Wines!
I’ll share with you our wonderful conversation.
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
Check out our book series, “Tempting Spoonfuls” available through Amazon!
Inspired by the flavors and aromas in wines, these books create “tempting spoonfuls” of flavors to pair with wines.
“Tempting Spoonfuls – Pairing single bites with glorious wines” – Our first book paired wines from boutique wineries on the west coast, in California, Oregon, and Washington, with delicious spoonfuls.
This book is 60 pages, 18 recipes, lots of beautiful photos, and insights into some fantastic small wineries!
“Tempting Spoonfuls – small bites paired with wines from around the Globe” – This book takes us around the globe to explore 12 wine regions, a wine from the region, and then gives you a recipe for a pairing!
A slightly larger book at 104 pages, this time you learn about pairing with a type of wine from a region. Rather than a specific bottle, you can look for a style of wine from a region and feel confident that it will go well with the recipe pairing we provide. We give you 12 recipes, each to pair with a wine.
The goal is to make your mouth water and encourage you to create your own “Tempting Spoonfuls.”