Chamlija Pinot Noir 2018

THRACE, TURKEY

In our constant quest for premium, small-production wines, dozens of wines from every corner of the world grace our tasting table every week, yet it was still an eye-opening experience to find this wonderful Pinot Noir from Turkey, grown on the rugged, windswept plateaus in the Thracian region.

First, the wine: it has a deep ruby color, with powerful red-flower aromatics of hibiscus, rose, black cherry, with a wild animal-umami element. On the palate it's surprisingly fresh and light on its feet, with crushed red berries, black tea, silky tannins, and a smooth, velvety finish.

The Chamlija estate was founded in 1936, just over a decade after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, when the family decided to farm grapes (as well as other produce) in Thrace, a high plateau spanning parts of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece. The name Thrace hearkens to Thrax, son of Ares, and the mysterious Thracian society, whose first mention is found in the Iliad in the 8th century BCE. Indeed, some of the oldest remnants of winemaking come from this region of the world, so it's no surprise that grapevines do so well here.

At $19, this out-performs so many other Pinots out there and has a wonderful, unique story behind it. It is not everyday we find naturally-made Pinot Noir of this caliber, at this price, from such an unexpected corner of the world. Stock up!

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