What is a Retsina?

20190715_175913.jpgI had this Retsina wine at dinner the other night, off of the menu for $20 a bottle and it was perfect for a day after lounging poolside in the sun.  We sat outside on the patio, away from the street.  Dinner was a whole grilled sea bass and grilled octopus, with a side of roasted beets, a hunk of delicious cheese, and toasted bread to pour olive oil over.  The wine was crisp, dry and bright with a mouth-watering tartness, a hint of herbaceous notes and citrus on the palate, it was refreshing and carried throughout the meal.  We had two bottles.  We were at a Greek restaurant with a wine list that made me want to go home and read about Greek wines so that I would know better next time.  This is Retsina from Attica, the appellation being Attica, Greece.  Produced by the Kourtaki winery, the style of wine is a Retsina and the grape variety is Savatiano, one of the most widely planted white grape varieties in Greece.  Retsina, as a white or rosé is made traditionally with resin chips in the must during fermentation.  This unique secret ingredient is an homage to the style of wine produced when it was necessary to store the wine in amphorae; a type of container used throughout the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Middle Ages, which was sealed with resin consequently affecting the flavor, and it became a characteristic the wine was known for.  Although resinated wine is produced in other parts of the world, the name Retsina is a PDO recognized by the European Union indicating it’s origin from Greece or some parts of southern Cyprus.  The Savatiano grape variety is grown in Attica, Central Greece, Cyclades, Western Crete, Macedonia and the Peloponnese.  Although known for Retsina, Savatiano is also produced as a wine without resin and is commonly blended with Assyrtiko and Roditis.  Savatiano wines are known for being easy and fruity with good acidity, and as far as a great summer wine and a great food wine, Greece is the perfect place to look.
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