Let’s be honest from the start : Chamlija winery is my favourite Turkish winery and that for many reasons. They have the passion, they have the soil, they have the grapes and they have the skills.
The passion :
Chamlija is the brand name of the winery. It comes from the name of the family, Camlija. Its prominent figure is Mr Mustafa Camlija, Mustafa’bey, whose family has immigrated from Bulgaria and has been farming in Kirklareli region, in the north of Turkish oriental Thrace, since 1936.
Mustafa’bey, who’s from the third generation, is the man behind the creation of this fantastic winery that was established in 2008. Their first vintage was 2011. All the family is involved in this great adventure. His daughter, Irem Camlija, is a talented artist who designed all the labels on the bottles.
The soil and the grapes :
The Strandja mountain massif in Thrace is an extremely old volcanic arc with great soils made from decomposed granite with all types of pebbles and clay/limestone terra rossa. This exceptional terroir has some 13 vineyards. Here is a more detailed description of them from north to south :
Akoren vineyards : Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Kalecik Karasi are planted on fossiliferous limestone and clay. Narince is planted on sand and decomposed granite (350 million-yer-old).
Islambeyli vineyards : Cabernet Franc is planted on sand, with quartz pebbles and clay, while Chardonnay is planted on clay/limestone.
Poyrali (Parpara) vineyards : Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are all planted on limestone, clay, sand and quartz pebbles.
Poyrali (Duzdag) vineyards : Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are planted on limestone, clay, sand and quartz pebbles.
Poyrali ( Kartalkaya) vineyards : Riesling and Chardonnay are planted on sand, silt and fossiliferous limestone.
Poyrali (Camtepe) vineyards : Merlot is planted on chalk and clay with quartz stones and pebbles.
Poyrali (Dikalan) vineyards : Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Papaskarasi, Narince, Chardonnay and Alvarinho are all planted on quartz stone, fossiliferous clay and chalk.
Poyrali ( Karadere) vineyards : Papaskarasi, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are planted on chalk, clay and quartz stone.
Sogucak-Kurtcatagi vineyards : Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Papaskarasi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mavrud, Karaoglan, Okuzgozu and Bogazkere are planted on chalk, clay, and quartz stone.
Tozakli (Sarap Yolu Altı) vineyards : Alvarinho and Sauvignon Blanc are planted on red clay with quartz pebbles.
Sutluce vineyards : Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec are planted on quartz gravels and terra rossa clays.
Akcakoy vineyards : Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are planted on limestone and lacustrine silt.
Kucukkaristiran vineyards : Merlot and Viognier are planted on quartz sand, clay and lacustrine limestone.
The skills :
The annual production is around 100.000 bottles and the grapes are sourced from 85 hectares of certified sustainable estate vineyards. What’s remarkable here is the density of vines per hectare with an average of 5000 to 6,666 vines. Some vineyards are even reaching 10,000 vines. This is one of the highest density for vineyards in the Balkans. The goal of this high density is to enhance quality and encourage deep rout system in order to express the full potential of the Strandja terroir.