A long history:
Retsina has a long history dating back thousands of years. Traditionally, winemakers in ancient Greece used pine resin to seal the amphorae, or clay vessels, while storing and transporting the wine. This practice inadvertently imparted a distinct resinous flavour to the wine, giving rise to the name Retsina.
The Retsina experience:
The wine is known for its distinct aroma and flavour profile. The prominent scent of pine resin, derived from the Aleppo pine, immediately transports you to the fragrant forests of Greece. This unique characteristic, combined with the wine's crisp acidity and refreshing qualities, makes Retsina a unique experience for wine connoisseurs.
Production and grape varieties:
Modern Retsina is mainly made from two grape varieties: Savatiano and Roditis. These indigenous Greek grapes contribute to the wine's lively acidity and balance. Retsina's distinctive flavour comes from the addition of pine resin during the winemaking process.
Here is a step-by-step explanation of how Retsina is made:
- Grape harvest: The process begins with the careful selection and harvesting of the grapes. The two main grape varieties used to produce Retsina are Savatiano and Roditis. These indigenous Greek grapes are known for their lively acidity and their ability to harmonise with the resinous flavours of Retsina.
- Grape pressing: After harvesting, the grapes are transported to the winery, where they are crushed. This step extracts the grape juice or must, which will be fermented to produce the wine.
- fermentation: The grape must is transferred to fermentation vessels, usually stainless steel tanks, where its transformation into wine begins. During fermentation, yeast converts the sugars in the grape juice into alcohol. It is important to note that no resin is added at this stage.
- Pine resin addition: Once primary fermentation is complete, the winemaker adds pine resin to the wine. Small pieces of pine resin, usually from the Aleppo pine tree, are added to the wine barrels or tanks. The resin is left in contact with the wine for some time to allow the flavours to infuse.
- Clarification and ageing: After the resin has soaked into the wine, the winemaker proceeds with the clarification process. This involves removing sediment and impurities from the wine, leaving it clear and stable. Retsina can then age in barrels or tanks, allowing the flavours to further develop and harmonise.
- bottling: Once the desired maturation period is reached, the Retsina is ready to be bottled. The wine is carefully transferred into bottles, often sealed with cork or other closures to preserve its freshness and distinctive flavours.
It is important to note that the addition of pine resin to Retsina is not intended to dominate the wine, but rather to add a unique aromatic character. The amount of resin used varies depending on the wine's desired flavour profile and the winemaker's preferences.
When you enjoy Retsina, you can expect a delicious interplay of flavours. Its resinous aroma is beautifully complemented by notes of citrus, spices and a subtle minerality. On the palate, Retsina offers a fresh and refreshing experience, with lively acidity that goes perfectly with Greek cuisine and Mediterranean flavours.
Retsina is an ideal accompaniment to Greek cuisine, accentuating traditional flavours and harmonising with the country's vibrant culinary offerings. Its crisp acidity and unique resinous notes make it a natural match for dishes such as grilled seafood, mezze dishes, fresh salads and savoury pies. The combination of Retsina's character and the flavours of Greek cuisine create a symphony of flavours that will transport you to the sun-drenched shores of Greece.
It is not just any wine; it represents a cultural tradition deeply rooted in Greek heritage. When you sip on a glass of Retsina, you connect with the past and embrace the age-old winemaking techniques and flavours that have thrilled generations. It is a testament to the enduring allure of Greek wines and the commitment to preserve their unique character.
Retsina attests to Greece's winemaking heritage and offers a taste of tradition that thrills wine lovers. Its distinctive resinous aroma, refreshing profile and deep cultural significance make Retsina a must for those looking for a truly authentic Greek wine experience. Embark on a journey through time and flavours as you raise a glass of Retsina and taste the essence of Greece in every sip. Cheers to the enduring charm of this iconic Greek wine!
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