After traveling for a week straight, it was nice to be able to sleep in in Izmir. Sarah and I both happily took advantage and stayed in our pajamas, catching up on the Internet since we finally had wifi, while Mike was out running errands in the morning.
Once we finally set off for the day, we headed to Urla, which is the wine country in Izmir. We visited three wineries during the day: Urlice, Usca, and MMG.
Urlice was the smallest of the three and had a really quaint, rustic feel to it. The girl there said they serve pizzas on the weekend and also do six course meals when you have a large group. We unfortunately did not have the chance to meet the owners, but the girl who was there told us they lived in America for awhile and opened the winery once they moved to Turkey. They only produce about 10,000 bottles each year, but the wines were so good – I ended up buying a Rose which was unlike most roses I’ve had, and a Cabernet Sauvignon which was both delicious and had a really cute bottle!
Usca was slightly bigger and had absolutely incredible views. It was set high on a hill in a barn-like structure which had a coastal feel. The winery would be the perfect venue for a party. We were able to try four of the wines and all of them were really good. However, we were not able to learn as much about the wines as at Urlice, and the environment seemed more formal than friendly.
Our favorite by far was MMG. We met the owner and his daughter – it’s a family run business – and learned all about their wines and the winery’s history. They were extremely friendly and open, so we spent a good amount of time there just chatting while trying the wines. The owner had just been to Virginia and visited some of the vineyards, in the Leesburg area we assume, so we talked to him about the various types of grapes found there and how Leesburg is turning into the prime brewery/vineyard location. I had such great conversations that I honestly wanted to buy a full case and send it home, but they do not ship internationally (so sad). No worries, Mike and Sarah will have to find a way to get me a supply!
Their winery was located on the mountain, with stunning views and no other businesses in site. They also had just taken in a street dog who was a six month old black lab and the cutest puppy ever. He would get overly excited and pee, just like Bruno did when he was younger. After good conversation, great wine, and puppy love, we all left so happy. I told Mike and Sarah they better go back there all the time and promised my return the next time I am in Turkey.
It’s crazy how much better of an experience we had wine tasting in Izmir than in Bozcaada, an island pretty much known for its wine. I am so excited to experience more wine tastings throughout Europe, and at home when I get back. Also, I made major progress this week on filling the wine rack in the new flat. Three happy campers returned home today!