Patkara Grape

Ark of taste
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Patkara is a rare, almost-forgotten Anatolian grape variety. It originated in what is now Mersin Province, in Turkey’s Mediterranean Region. More specifically, the patkara variety probably comes from the western part of Mersin Province, which was known in ancient times as Cilicia Trachea, or “rugged Cilicia” (Cilicia Pedias, or “flat Cilicia,” lies further east and includes the fertile Çukurova plain around the city of Adana). The villages of Çömelek and Karacaoğlan, which lie in the Taurus Mountains about 90 kilometers west of the city of Mersin (as the crow flies), are home to some of the only remaining patkara vineyards, the highest of which sit at an elevation of 1,200 meters above sea level. Descending from the mountains toward the Mediterranean, it is possible to observe stone wine presses at archaeological sites in ancient settlements including Uzuncaburç (or Diokaisareia), Cambazlı, Karakabaklı, and Işıklı, pointing to grape cultivation and wine production in this region during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

The climate in Çömelek and Karacaoğlan is quite dry, and temperatures fluctuate widely between day and night; dry farming is practiced in this area. The soil in the vineyards is predominantly sand and limestone, which provides a good balance between drainage and water retention. Because lime-rich soils decrease vines’ ability to take up iron, farmers here have to use fertilizers. Most of the patkara vines are goblet trained. Traditionally, vine growers in this area applied a mixture of sulfur and oak ash to the vineyards once a year to prevent disease. The grapes themselves grow in loose, cylindrical bunches and are round with a thin skin, which makes them prone to damage. They are blue-black in color and they ripen rapidly—indeed, the word “patkara” is derived from pat, which means “fast” or “sudden,” and kara, which means “black.” Harvest takes place between late August and early September. Patkara is one of the few wine grape varieties that is also suitable for the production of table grapes and raisins, which have a distinctive aroma and deep color. However, since ancient times, it has been more highly valued as a wine grape. Patkara wines are medium bodied with medium tannin and fruit, medium to low acidity, and flavors of spices and dark fruits.

Even though it has a long history, wine production is not particularly widespread in area where patkara grapes are grown; in fact, the Mediterranean Region accounts for less than one percent of all the wine produced in Turkey. In addition, patkara has declined in recent decades as more resistant international varieties have gained popularity. According to some sources, there are only two commercial wineries still working with patkara. Luckily, patkara’s potential is being recognized abroad.

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Territory

StateTurkey
Region

Akdeniz Bölgesi

Other info

Categories

Wines and grape varietals