Dookie winemaker talks flavours

By Shepparton News

Richard Tallis may still barely know how to pronounce Boğazkere.

But as probably the only winemaker that grows the Turkish grape variety in Australia, he is year on year growing production of the wine.

And the Dookie winemaker remains hopeful there will be demand and a local appetite for the variety.

Boğazkere comes from the southeastern region of Turkey, in Anatolia, and loosely translates to ‘‘throat burner.’’

Online wine resources describe it as a a dark-skinned wine grape which can have a complex flavour profile which some say includes tobacco, liquorice, leather and dark forest fruits.

‘‘It’s a Turkish variety, from southern Turkey, along the Syrian border,’’ Mr Tallis explains.

‘‘Its nickname is throat strangler.’’

‘‘The grapes are quite plump, it has very tanic skins.’’

‘‘(The wine) comes out much more fruity.’’

Mr Tallis says he came to grow the grape variety following a ‘‘chance meeting’’ with importers of Boğazkere.

The Dookie vineyard around this time had ‘‘about four spare rows’’, he says, adding that it was determined the Dookie climate would likely prove to be a good match with the grape.

Mr Tallis caught up with importers Robert Paul and John Runting when it was decided Tallis had some space for the grapes.

‘‘We talked about this vine going into quarantine at the time.’’

‘‘We said, we’ve got these spare rows.’’

When it came out of quarantine, the cuttings went to Dookie.

A partnership was born.

‘‘We put it in, that was about 2012,’’ he says.

The first vintage was completed by 2014; barely 100 litres at the time.

But by 2017, Mr Tallis says the winery had started producing about one thousand litres.

Over time, the winemaker says the winery has been progressively ‘‘working out how to do it better’’.

‘‘It’s exciting to be involved in an industry first.’’

Mr Tallis has been particulary excited about coming in on the ‘‘ground floor of something new and different.’’

‘‘If it takes the public’s fancy, it could be quite useful to us,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s quite different... it has its own unique characteristics.

‘‘It’s mid weight, the tannins are far more moderate.’’

‘‘Viticulturally, it’s been quite a challenge.’’

‘‘It behaves here quite differently.’’

And while Mr Tallis concedes he can still ‘‘barely pronounce it’’ some of his colleagues at the cellar door have the pronunciation ‘‘down perfect’’

‘‘I think it has an interesting enough flavour profile that people looking for something different will be more than happy to give it a go,’’ he says.