View Full Version : Retsina - Greek Wines of the Gods - the best wine in the world...

Friday, September 17th, 2004, 02:20 AM
... considering all relevant factors combined, is probably Retsina of Attica, the traditional Greek rosin wine. Does someone disagree? :)

Retsina - Greek Wines of the Gods

From deTraci Regula

Some people say that Retsina, the resinated wine produced in Greece since ancient times, is an acquired taste. I'll agree - I acquired it immediately. Not everyone agrees - the Epicurious Dictionary describes the flavor as "sappy and turpentinelike". But cooking expert Sheila Lukins breaks ranks and calls it the "quintessential Mediterranean wine", applauding it as an accompaniment for all types of Mediterranean cuisine. Like most Greek beverages, such as ouzo, it is undeniably at its best when combined with Greek foods, especially the savory mezedes served as appetizers.

Retsina was born of the need to preserve and ship wines in pine-pitch sealed vessels. Ancient wines varied substantially in quality and tended to spoil. In efforts to avoid this, wines were often adulterated with exotic ingredients, from herbs to sea water. Due to the pine oils, Retsina was thought of as wood nymph tears, though how it was collected from those shy nymphs is not recorded.

Gaia Vineyards is one of a handful of Greek companies attempting to increase the quality of retsina, and to improve its reception overseas. Their Ritinitis Nobilis is an effort to grant retsina the respect of winelovers. However, a name change might boost sales -be reassured that the only effect this wine will have on your vision is if you drink far too much of it.

Some feel that Boutari's Santorini wine carries a resinous flavor, though that may be a trait from the highly volcanic soil and slightly vaporous air on the island. By the way, Santorini is filled with truly great Retsina spots. Try any of the cliffhanging taverns in Fira or, for a splurge, enjoy The Pyramid restaurant, particularly at sunset. A last-chance spot is the pleasant seaside tavern by the quay where the cablecar deposits passengers. For cruise ship passengers, it's a last sip of Santorini magic before piling onto the tender for the return trip to the mother ship.

An outstanding resource for understanding and appreciating Greek wine is Nico Manessis' The Greek Wine Guide, a beautifully illustrated, comprehensive volume on the many wines of Greece.

Achaia Clauss' Retsina Appellation Traditionelle helped wine critic Robin Garr suspend disbelief about Retsina's quality as a wine, if only temporarily.

Never miss an opportunity to enjoy the wines of Greece during your travels, and at home. As they say on Crete, Yamas!

Friday, September 17th, 2004, 02:26 AM
There is no single "best wine." It depends entirely upon one's mood and the food with which one will be drinking it. One would not drink a Liebfraumilch with prime rib, and one would not drink a Shiraz with trout. :P

Friday, September 17th, 2004, 02:42 AM
I have not been referring to wine as a supplement for food, but merely to wine by itself, considering all relevant factors combined. Like Durban Poison marijhuana might be preferrable to Hawaiian Rise, or Lebanese Blond hashish might be preferrable to Black Moroccan, or Afghan Gold opium to Danish Flag, or whatever rocks your boat. :D

So let me reword it again: If you would have to spend the rest of your life on an island, and could only take one generic brand of wine with you -- which one would it be? :)

Friday, September 17th, 2004, 04:09 AM
So let me reword it again: If you would have to spend the rest of your life on an island, and could only take one generic brand of wine with you -- which one would it be? :)

Asti spumante? :)