Kourtaki Retsina

Winery: D. Kourtakis S.A. (Attica, Greece)
Grape: Savatiano (Indigenous to Greece)

My first introduction to a Greek Retsina! I learned about retsina wines last week. For my friends who are curious, retsina wines are wines (usually white or rose’) that have been resinated, or have had pine resin added to them. This came out of a method of preserving wines 2000 years ago, back when clay vessels, or amphorae, were used to store wines. Clay being a porous substance, spoilage was an issue due to unwanted exposure to oxygen. To keep the vessels airtight, pine resin was used to seal the amphorae. The resin also infused the wine with a distinctive aroma and flavor that remained popular even as winemakers switched to more airtight wooden barrels.

Nowadays it seems, many people either love retsina or love to hate it. This retsina by Kourtaki is apparently one of the more popular mainstream retsinas. Aromas and flavors of fresh lemon and other citrus fruits burst forth, with a spicy, somewhat pungent undertone that reminds me a bit of ginger. No doubt that is from the pine resin added to the wine must. Surprisingly the resin wasn’t as overpowering as I expected, as a matter of fact I found that the pungent flavor rather complimented the fruitiness of the wine and gave it a sorely needed complexity. This is a fun wine, if a little strong in flavor for some, which makes it hold up well with strong flavored, spicy food. A solid 4.0 in my book.

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