Retsina: Not What Modern Greek Wines Should Be

By December 11, 2017Greece, Wineries, Wines

OK, we’re going to Greece next Spring and invariably the word Retsina pops up when you mention wine.

This is a very hot topic for lovers of Greek wines, or should I say lovers of modern Greek wines. Because retsina represents the past, and not a very glorious past.

First, a little history: in ancient Greece, winemakers sealed their wines with resin closures.

Retsina

They would literally seal the top of the amphora with pine resin to protect against oxidation and to preserve it as best as possible.

Today producers of retsina mimic this process by adding pine resin to a base of white wine- typically Roditis or Savatiano- which creates a wine flavor and aroma of pine. Not exactly a modern concept.

There are critics who absolutely abhor Retsina. Wine Advocate’s Mark Squires is one such critic. He holds back no punches: “Why bother to make great wine and then kill it? (Not that I’ve ever seen a Retsina that I would call a great wine.)”

But Tara Q. Thomas who writes for Wine & Spirits magazine, highlighted the importance of resin in the production of Retsina in her article ‘Terroir x2.’

And Julia Harding, a Master of Wine nonetheless, wrote a review on JancisRobinson.com after visiting the Kechris Winery, where she had a thorough tasting of their Retsinas, especially Tear of the Pine. She suggests we should all give Retsina a second chance.

We will go to Greece with our eyes and minds open and not be prejudiced either way, but let the wines speak for themselves.Retsina is by no means a shy wine and speaks very blatantly but I promise to report our candid impressions, after giving Retsina the 2nd chance.

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