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Wine of the Week an Engaging Red from Turkey - the Diren 2012 Öküzgözü @dimesbahcesi @VinoRaiWines


Öküzgözü is one of Turkey’s five most import native grapes. 

*Turkish Wine FAQ: It seems appropriate to add this FAQ to the top of this post. New to you varieties from different countries and producers merit clarification.
  • Diren is the winery.
  • Öküzgözü is the grape.
  • Öküzgözü translates as the eye of the bull. Derives its name from the fact that the fruit has large, black berries that resemble a bull’s eye.
  •  Pronunciation of "Öküzgözü" is similar to: "Oh! + couscous + zoo"
  •  Öküzgözü grape produces light/medium style wines. Often compared to Beaujolais wines. It can be served chilled.
  • Native Turkish varietals include: Öküzgözü, Kalecik, Karasi, Bogazkere, Emir and Narince (first 3 red, last 2 white). These are the five most important native Turkish grapes.
  • Turkey has 800+ indigenous grape varieties - it may be a founder nation for grape domestication around 7,000 years ago.
  • During the long period of the Ottoman Empire (1299–1923), wine production and trade were carried out exclusively by non-Muslim minorities (Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, and others).

I'd like to thank Protocol Wine Studio for hosting the May 2015 #WineStudio session on Turkish wines. Protocol Wine Studio is all about wine education, thus a better understanding of our world via wine and our part in that world. Bravo. I'd also like to thank VinoRai Wines, Seattle, Washington, importer, for providing the sample Diren 2012 Öküzgözü wine.


This was my first Turkish red wine experience. An extremely positive red wine experience. My palate continues to expand and now I know that I like Turkish wines. I'll have a post soon about a tasty white Turkish wine. Prepare for the Turkish wine renaissance and discover the beauty of native Turkish varieties.

At $15 this is a wine to find and share with friends.
Recommended/Strongly Recommended + Great Value + Wine of the Week.
Purchase the Diren 2012 Öküzgözü wine on Amazon (CA only).

Tasting Notes Diren 2012 Öküzgözü:

Color: Pale, clear, ruby. Looked like a Pinot Noir.
Nose: Soft, powdery nose, cherry, light spice, hint of earth.
Palate: Textured, dry on the tongue and cheeks, dried cherry, suggestion of chocolate/earth, balanced acidity. Like. Very drinkable at open, the tannin and acid gave this wine some pleasant texture, easy going flavor, complimentary for food. Cold cuts and hard cheese with crusty bread dipped in olive oil, a welcome way to start a meal with the Diren Öküzgözü.

After 15 minutes: Nose expanded, broad earthy, cherry, slightly candied. Darker cherry, tar edged, not as dry on the palate, touch of mandarin orange, hint of chocolate. Enjoyable medium finish. Perfect if you want a lighter bodied red, but want some texture and tannin in the mouth. Perfect for fatty, meaty foods without too much flavor. Think grilled meats, salmon and salami. Enjoyed with Genoa Salami, tasted as if they were made for each other. Like.

After 60 minutes: More complex, dried berries, smoky quality, exotic dried herbs and spice. Focused to mid-palate, tannin on cheeks, very tasty finish. Not over the top. Yum! Big Like.

After 5 hours: This wine was engaging, wonderful mouth feel and delicious. Impressed.

Day two: Dry texture, dried cherries, savory dry herbs, delicate floral perfume, touch of cranberry, focused to front, rich fluid quality, good weight, almost chocolate/cola in background. Good sipping and still ready for food. Big like.

Thoughts: I poured this wine lightly chilled. It was wonderful with sliced Genoa Salami, the salami was smoky and earthy, flavorful and fatty, this wine is made for charcuterie. A wonderful red wine experience. I encourage you to bring this wine home and enjoy this wonderful red wine from Turkey. Perfect for summer too. Recommended/Strongly Recommended + Great Value.


Imported byVinorai Wines
Sample provided byProtocol Wine Studio and VinoRai Wines
SRP: $15
Blend: 85% Öküzgözü, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
ABV: 13.3%
Closure: Natural Cork
Production: 1,000 Cases
Tech Sheet Diren 2012 Öküzgözü (.pdf)

Box 95235, Seattle, WA 98145
(206) 604-2183 (p)
(206) 289-0049 (f)


Diren Winery is located in the northern part of Turkey and has been making wines of Anatolia, predominantly from Tokat region, for over 50 years. Diren was founded in 1958 by Mustafa Vasfi Diren, in 1985 his son Ali Diren took over the reins at the winery, keeping it in the family, and continuing to carry the legacy of one of Turkey’s oldest wineries.

Diren is known in its domestic market for its eclectic collection of indigenous varietals. The winery takes great pride in producing wine from rare, native grape varieties and presenting them for international wine lovers. Wines are a natural complement to Mediterranean flavors such as lamb, kebabs and fish. You can now find Diren wines in the United States.


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