What is a Retsina?

20190715_175913.jpgUpon a recommendation, I found myself at a Greek restaurant with a friend on a beautiful summer day and I could think of nothing more perfect to continue the evening.  As I looked over the wine list I quickly realized I would have to brush up on my knowledge of Greek wines, but I didn’t let that stop me from choosing a bottle, this Retsina wine looked interesting and I love to explore a culture through wine and food.  We sat outside on the patio, dinner was a whole grilled sea bass and grilled octopus, with a side of roasted beets, a hunk of warm cheese and crusty bread to pour olive oil over.  The wine was crisp with mouth-watering acidity, a mouthful of citrus and a hint of herbaceous notes on the palate.  After a day of sunshine it was refreshing and perfect to accompany the meal.  We had two bottles.  The next day, I did some homework.  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; which is a type of container used throughout the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Middle Ages.  It was sealed with pine resin, consequently affecting the flavor.  This resin affect 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.  For a great summer wine and a great food wine, Greece is the perfect place to take your palate on a vacation.

*the word must in wine terminology refers to the juice that undergoes fermentation and everything in the tank with it that adds to a wines character which can include: seeds, skins, and possibly stems in a soupy pulpy mass of grape juice.


xo, Margot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s