Wine crush | Piecing together the mosaic

16 May 2016
3 min read
Co-founder of Mozaik Winery, Melis Kurtel recounts the story of the unfathomable success of the Turkish vineyard, as seen in FOUR International edition.
Minerality and strength

My husband and I have always been admirers of wine. But it was during our honeymoon in Italy that we realised that we wanted to produce wine. Before we knew it, we had resigned from our jobs and moved to my hometown, İzmir in Urla, Turkey, after finding the perfect piece of land to work on. At first, we thought we would produce something special and unique and keep to ourselves, but as we dived into details and found a perfect team, we decided to share our passion with the rest of the world. Mozaik is the culmination of my husband and my passion for wine, our family’s history, the history of wine and Urla (ancient Klazomenai), and, of course the end product—the wine itself! The pieces of the mosaic have come together to realise our dream project.

Working with our Italian oenologist, we are highlighting the taste of Urla and its history within our unique wines. We want to show the world that exquisite wines can be made in Turkey, and that with a little passion and care for what you love, you can turn history and innovation into a bottled marvel.

Urla, and especially our site, has exceptional soil, because there has been little cultivation over the past few decades. Our plot is bordered by a rich pine forest, and is close to the Aegean Sea, so we have all the richness of the forest in the soil, and the beautiful minerals of the sea in the breeze that flows through the vineyard. You can taste this richness in every bottle of our wines.

As we don’t have an irrigation system in the vineyard and the climate is much hotter than what is experienced in the traditional wine-producing countries in Europe, the grapes that we grow, and the wines that we produce have really dark colour and really concentrated flavours. This leads to the wines becoming more suitable to age in the bottle. Our first harvest was in 2010, giving wine that had finally reached maturity last year, four years after production. Our wines have always been described as having minerality, strength and beautiful tannins. This only improves over time.

Aiming to produce something unprecedented, we wanted to blend the historical tradition of winegrowing in our region with new varietals. The new varietals that we planted in our vineyard almost 10 years ago have now reached a perfect balance in their new home, and are bringing very good results. One of these grapes is Ekigaïna–a hybrid of cabernet sauvignon and tannat–has revently won a silver award at International Wine Challenge. Another is Rebo—a hybrid between merlot and teroldego—is a type of rare grape that can be seen in northern Italy, which has matured well in Urla. Blending it with petit verdot has won it a gold medal in Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, and two bronze medals in International Wine Challenge. Another new varietal we have is the increasingly popular Marselan, which is a hybrid between cabernet sauvignon and grenache. It deserves all the praise it receives, and has found a fantastic balance in Urla.

As Mozaik, our utmost goal is to bring out the grape and the terroir from within the wine, so we aim to manipulate it as little as possible. We do use modern technology inside the winery, but we aim to keep it simple. Rather than blends for every wine, we like to produce mono-cepage wines because we want to expose the bold and fine characters of our wines. Each year we produce a limited amount of Tannat, and we bottle it 100 per cent, because it deserves to present itself alone.

As well as our doors being open six days a week for visitors to enjoy tours and private tasting events, we also have a stud farm that goes hand-in-hand with our winemaking project. With paddocks of Thoroughbred and Arabian foals that sit on what was one of the ancient Ionian cities, Klazomenai, Mozaik is living history. Launching soon, guests will have the opportunity to indulge in all of Mozaik’s activities from newly-built luxurious suites, nestled inside the romantic landscape of our farm.