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A Conversation with Mr. Marco Monchiero

A Conversation with Mr. Marco Monchiero

Wine consultant Signor Monchiero: committed to Kalecik with a passion...

"We must promote this land, rooted in culture to the world"

At the invitation of Vinkara , when Italian wine producer and oenologist Signor Marco Monchiero first arrived at Kalecik , he said he immediately knew that he would become committed to this land with a passion. Home of the Kalecik Karası grape, this region dubbed "the land blessed by God" by the Italians according to the oenologist, commented, "even though the subject of wine and grapes are not very popular in this country, there is in fact a very deep seeded tradition. Vinkara, by adding a small brick to a very long history is attempting to rectify this opinion. Suffice to say, this is the whole story behind why I am here". Vinkara 's wine consultant since 2008, Signor Marco Monchiero began his career in 1972 and has consulted for leading Italian wine brands for many years. The acclaimed oenologist continues consulting on viniculture and oenology in his homeland and with his wife produces his own wine under the brand Monchiero-Carbone.

Oenologist Signor Marco Monchiero indicates that Kalecik's most prominent characteristics are its geography and geology creating the climate conditions. The region is surrounded by mountains and the fact that it is approximately 700 meters above sea level ensures that the evenings are cool in the valley. Monchiero points out that the difference between the high temperatures during the day and the low temperatures at night is an important factor for determining the quality of the grape. As a result, he states that the white and red grape matures in a gradual and meticulous fashion. The oenologist asserts that quality wines can be produced because of Vinkara's favorable location and soil.

Homeland of the birth of wine...

Monchiero was especially impressed that a variety of grape was named after the region. He says, "If a variety of grape is named after the region, it shows that the region is seeded in tradition and culture". As a result, what got my curiousity and intrigued me, convincing me to work here was that a vineyard was linked to winemaking tradition. In Italy, we call these regions "the land blessed by God. The reason I say this is that in the past, choice was based on physical selections. However, if a variety of grape is cultivated on a land for a long time, this means that the soil is suitable for cultivation. This region is a place that needs to be promoted as it is the homeland of a rooted culture. Vinkara's objective is to familiarize everyone with Kalecik Karası within the next few years".

Monchiero indicates that when we look at the root of viniculture and wine production, we notice that the first actors appeared on the stage on Anatolian soil. The oenologist states that the birth of wine is the area between what is today called Armenia and Caucasia , in other words Anatolia . With time, wine culture first spread to the east and then to the west. In fact, it became so popular in Europe that today the world's highest praised wines are French and Italian wines. Monchiero states that for a variety of reasons winemaking in this region lost its popularity. He indicates that they are working on changing this perception and to once again make wine a lifestyle choice of people in Turkey.

Monchiero states that presently, 60% of Vinkara's wines are produced with Kalecik Karası grapes which he compares to Pinot Noir, an internationally acclaimed French grape. Just like the Pinot Noir, Kalecik Karası grapes are also used to produce white wine, thereby bringing further attention to and adding value to the prominence of the vineyards. Monchiero also states other grapes native to Anatolia including Öküzgözü , Boğazkere , Emir and Narince , along with internationally known grapes Cabernet Sauvignon , Merlot , Sauvignon Blanc , Chardonnay and Riesling grapes are cultivated in Kalecik.

The best oenologist is the one that does not overlook all that nature has to offer.

Indicating that he is very happy working in Turkey where viniculture and wines were born, the oenologist stated the following about his profession: "I believe that the best oenologist is one who does not overlook all that nature has to offer. In order to attain the highest quality product, you have to be show the utmost care and be very meticulous at the vineyard". Monchiero emphasizes that when producing quality wine, besides the quality of the grape, the technique used is just as important and further points out that at Vinkara, the latest state of the art technology is utilized. He says, "The grapes picked at the vineyards are transferred to Vinkara's facility in the same region. The grapes are first pressed and then based on the variety of grape, are fermented between 5 to 6 days. Then once the skin and must are removed, the grapes are left to mature. At this stage of the production process, just like other quality red wines from around the world, Vinkara wines are aged in oak barrels. Oak barrels allow the wine to interact with the air, resulting in a more balanced wine with less aggressive tannins making the wines smooth to drink. Afterwards, the wine is bottled and a long aging process begins".

The Italian oenologist emphasizes that the quality wines produced are palatable, smooth to drink and that Vinkara's strategy is to "be accessible to all segments" of consumers and the objective is to make wine consumption a routine part of daily life.

Sparkling wine from Kalecik Karası grapes...

Signor Marco Monchiero proudly announces that in a short period of time, Vinkara will be introducing a sparkling wine to the market. He states, "We are so confident of the quality of our grapes that we will produce this wine using the same methods applied to produce champagne" , further indicating that white Kalecik Karası grapes will be used. Monchiero also shares the kick off date for Vinkara sparkling wine: "the wine will be available towards the end of 2011 and we will be uncorking the bottles at New Year's Eve" .