‘Bull’s eye’, the literal meaning of Öküzgözü, is a key Turkish variety well suited to the growing demand for lighter, more refreshing, characterful reds, best when any oak influence is a sleight of hand. But it is also possible to make full-bodied, more tannic, oak-aged wines that improve in bottle for up to 10 years, especially when the fruit is from Elazığ in eastern Anatolia, its likely region of origin.
Öküzgözü is Turkey’s most widely planted dark-skinned variety, just ahead of Shiraz and Boğazkere. The big, fleshy berries can reach relatively high sugar levels and are used for both table and wine grapes. Whatever the style, the wines generally display aromatic fruit and a persistent freshness.
The bigger producers often make both styles of wine described above. For a juicy early-drinking style, try Doluca, Diren, Sevilen, Vinkara or Yazgan. For a more powerful, ageworthy wine, try especially Kavaklidere’s and Kayra’s top bottlings. Kavaklidere’s 2004 is looking very elegant now and Kayra’s Vintage 2010 still has a way to go to reveal its full finesse.
Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson MW, Julia Harding MW and José Vouillamoz; www.winegrapes.org
Translated by Sylvia Wu / 吴嘉溦
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