Chamlija winery is many things. They produce some 13 different and very unexpected varieties. And, with some 13 vineyards scattered across the Thracian Strandzha (Istranca) mountain massif, Chamlija operates like several ‘boutique’ wineries under one name. The winery also has a flare for the arts.
We started our morning (after a 5.30am hustle to our car rental) at 10am with show-runner Mustafa Çamlıca. As it were, we hit the vineyards running. We had the an unbelievable opportunity to see the man in action. We hopped from one vineyard to the next listening to Mustafa bey enthuse over the terroir.* Yes, terroir is often thrown around to explain away some aspect in your glass. Here, however, it used in complete earnestness. Familiar with the Thracian region since childhood, Mustafa bey knows these mountains all too well, and dives into geological detail when discussing the vineyard’s effect on the grape during the winemaking process. We examined soil, tasted grapes (just a month before their harvest, it was a little too sour for our taste), and analyzed bunches and leaves. We were finally able to see what (until that point) we had only read in books and we are eternally grateful.
Mustafa bey knows each vineyard like the back of his hand, including the surrounding the climate and geography. He also knowns history of each vineyard as a cultural value. Once again we were reminded that vines and wines create an inextricable link between people and their landscapes, one that does not stop at national borders.
Chamlija wines are largely available and do quite a bit of exporting. There labels are one of a kind and hard to miss. In fact each label is designed by Irem Çamlıca, Mustafa bey’s daughter, an artist herself. Check out her work at here.That said, if you are in Turkey be sure to stop by their restaurant outside Istanbul (about an hour or so of driving).
Büyükkarıştıran Belediyesi, Lüleburgaz
t: +90 (288) 436 12 78
I’ll keep an eye out for that label!
They work with a variety of grapes that work so well with the land. They are even working with a mavrud!
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