Research: Akın Gürbüz and a Cabernet Franc

Akın Gürbüz has long been interested in wines and vines. He grew up in and around his family vineyards – while they never commercially produced the grapes, they sold their yield to some of the larger wine producers in Turkey. After graduating from UC, Davis, Gürbüz worked with wineries in California and New Zealand, but eventually returned to his native Turkey. Here, he worked with some of Turkey’s amazing producers as a winemaker and consultant. Luckily, in 2015, he built his own winery. He is currently working with some seven different varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Misket, Kalecik Karası, and now a Cabernet Franc.

Akin Gurbuz

We have been fans of the Gürbüz wine for some time now. but when only a couple of hundred vintages are produced, and in such high demand, we jump whenever we see his work on a shelf. So you can imagine my delight when Andrea brought over his very new, shiny, and exclusive and/or elusive Cabernet Franc. As you read, you may notice that I am by no means a wine expert. I am merely an enthusiastic observer and so my “tasting notes” may not be up to part with those heroes of WSET and other guilds.

This Cab Franc was a 2018 vintage with 14% alcohol that spent thirteen months in new oak. The colour leaned a little more purple than expected and you could feel the oak in the nose. At first there were hints of cocoa nibs, pepper, and raspberry that were very well complemented by a freshness that could attributed to a Cab Franc’s wet gravel attribute. As it opened, I found the arbitrary pepper grew developed into a cayenne pepper and the cocoa nibs felt more like tobacco and spiced chocolate.

But seeing as I am no expert, so I also smelled a gooey purple bonbon from my childhood and green beans. My partner in crime did not comment.

On the palate, there was a build-up; elements of vanilla and chocolate toyed and played to produce a sweet tobacco. The texture was silky and the tannins were soft.

We drank it with charred aubergine with caramelised lemons on a bed of garlic yogurt, muhammara (which no other Turk agrees is muhammara), roasted colourful carrots, homemade rosemary potato chips, and a pumpkin-sage börek.

The wine paired best with the garlic yogurt with charred aubergines – even though I’m sure some have their reservations about pairing yogurt and wine. It was probably the pencil shavings or that wet gravel that held up to the charred aubergine. And, just maybe, the medium plus acidity of the cab franc is able to tolerate the yogurt. They don’t necessarily complement each other but they certainly don’t cancel each other out like so many other yogurt wine pairings.

Akın Gürbüz

However, just as important as any tasting note (right, wrong or made-up), this 2018 Akın Gürbüz Cabernet Franc was absolutely delicious and drunk with great gratitude.