Sommelier session with Ahmet Tosun

16 Jan 2017
4 min read
Germany’s first certified Turkish wine expert speaks to FOUR about the emerging market of fine Turkish Mahrem Wines made by Mozaik Winery…

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in 1964 in Erzincan, Turkey, and I moved to Berlin with my family in 1974, migrating here as workers. Me being a Turkish sommelier in Berlin is probably a first.I started out in the 1990s, I went to schools, attended seminars, I went to German Wine and Sommelier Academy, went to school in Austria, and was also educated in England, in Napa Valley, I studied in Ontario in Canada, but most of all, to educate myself fully, I dedicated myself to study all wine regions of Turkey.

What really pushed me into this profession was my drive to show the world that with a small but very important change, Turkish wines would prove to be an important part of the wine market.That change is oenology, and I want to say that Mozaik Winery from Turkey has really taken that step and taken it forward with their exquisite combination of special grape varietals, valuable soil and climate of the Urla region, and their Italian oenologist, who was able to show all those precious attributes in their wines.

What interesting trends/themes are going on in the world of wines?

Let me answer that as a Berliner carrying a Turkish heart.Wine has now become a cultural bond.It’s a beverage that one can communicate over.We don’t see it as an alcoholic drink.You don’t “drink” wine.Wine has a communicative character.So when people want to buy wine, they seek advice.They are ready to pay 40 Euros, even 80 Euros per bottle, as long as they know why it is 80 Euros.The new trend generally is that people are pouring into wine houses to consult about finding wines with better quality.They want to listen, learn, and be informed.

In which capacity do you work with Mozaik Winery?

A fellow Turkish businessman here introduced me to Mozaik Winery, in Berlin, and I was amazed when we conducted a tasting here with the owners of the company.I immediately said that the European market should meet with these wines, and start a clean page with their impression of wines from Turkey. I have 683 different types of wine from all around the world in my wine house, and now I am happy and excited to say that Mahrem Wines made by Mozaik Winery is a part of our big family.

How do you describe Mahrem Wines? Where would you place them within the current trends in the wine world?

Mahrem Wines have pushed me into developing a new point of view regarding Turkish wines.They are produced by Mozaik Winery from new cross grapes by their valuable oenologist within their project, who incorporates the new cross breeds into their winegrowing in Urla.This is precious in today’s Turkey, where the number of oenologists making wine is close to none. Today, Mahrem wines are produced from 10 year-old vines, carefully selected by their experienced team from Italy.

They have cross varietals – such as Rebo, Marselan, Ekigaïna, and have achieved outstanding results! Using crossbreeds in varietals is especially important for me.Let’s consider their Ekigaïna for instance; it is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat.People seek something new! And here they have a brand new grape, and it is delicately processed.It’s not a blend; it’s a grape, produced on Turkish soil, by an Italian oenologist.They have Syrah, which does not like every soil.In Turkey, it is impossible to produce a high quality Syrah, but Mozaik has, and it has with a great body.All their wines show well balanced body, minerals, acidity, color concentration, which would pair very well with many types of meat, even fish. All their wines have outstanding body, and are properly priced for their quality.One of my main targets in this profession is to promote the importance of oenology and terroir, and Mozaik has combined Italian innovation and oenology with the rich soil and fantastic climate of Urla.They have brought out their own terroir, and filled their bottles with it. I believe that they are unique in Turkey, and they will be unique in Europe.

What are your FOUR indispensable collection favourites?

Wow! There are so many types, I would probably like to say that I would like to see Turkish grapes stick out more, or new breeds of cross grapes.As for favourites, it is hard for me to say.I think I might have 20 favourites! As a sommelier, considering my responsibility in the sector, I am not able to pronounce 4 favourites.I hold 683 different types of wines, and I know 80% of them personally – I would have to count them all!

The best wine is achieved when you can put together what the nature and climate provides with the professional experiences of an oenologist. Therefore, what I value is wines with terroir.The climate in Turkey is very suitable for this, for creating wines with character, wines of terroir – and Urla is right in the center of this—between the 36th and 41st longitudes.Grapes that grow in that range have it all—and when that is handled by an oenologist, then you will have great wines of terroir produced in Turkey.What you’re looking for in wine is vital: Is it sugar? Is it acidity? Or character? Names play big roles in wine, but behind all that, quality is what matters.That is why I say – Urla is on the brink of becoming the most important wine region in Turkey, because there are oenologists involved.

Find out more about Mahrem wines andMosaik Winery here |