Viticulture

Toasting a new taste

By Country News

Richard Tallis still barely knows how to pronounce Bogazkere.

But, as probably the only winemaker growing the Turkish grape variety in Australia, he is year-on-year increasing production of the wine.

And the Dookie winemaker remains hopeful there will be demand and a local appetite for the variety.

Bogazkere comes from the south-eastern region of Turkey, in Anatolia, and loosely translates to ‘‘throat burner’’.

Online wine resources describe it as a dark-skinned wine grape, which can have a complex flavour profile which some say includes tobacco, liquorice, leather and dark forest fruits.

‘‘It’s a Turkish variety, from southern Turkey, along the Syrian border,’’ Mr Tallis said.

‘‘Its nickname is ‘throat strangler’.

‘‘The grapes are quite plump, it has very tannic skins.

‘‘(The wine) comes out much more fruity.’’

Mr Tallis started growing the grape variety after a chance meeting with importers of Bogazkere.

At the time, the Dookie vineyard had about four spare rows, and Mr Tallis said it was determined the Dookie climate would likely prove to be a good match with the grape.

Mr Tallis spoke with importers Robert Paul and John Runting when it was decided Tallis had some space for the grapes.

‘‘We talked about this vine going into quarantine at the time,’’ he said.

‘‘We said, we’ve got these spare rows.’’

When it came out of quarantine, the cuttings went to Dookie and a partnership was born.

‘‘We put it in, that was about 2012,’’ Mr Tallis said.

The first vintage was completed by 2014; barely 100 litres at the time.

But by last year, Mr Tallis said the winery started producing about 1000 litres.

The winemaker said they had had been progressively working out how to do it better.

‘‘It’s exciting to be involved in an industry first,’’ he said.

Mr Tallis was particularly excited about coming in at the ‘‘ground floor of something new and different’’.

‘‘If it takes the public’s fancy, it could be quite useful to us.

‘‘It’s quite different ... it has its own unique characteristics.

‘‘It’s mid-weight, the tannins are far more moderate.

‘‘Viniculturally, it’s been quite a challenge. It behaves here quite differently.’’

And while Mr Tallis concedes he struggles to pronounce it, some of his colleagues at the cellar door have the pronunciation down perfect.

‘‘I think it has an interesting enough flavour profile that people looking for something different will be more than happy to give it a go,’’ he said.

—Thomas Moir