What is Retsina?

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images4XADWPDB  Τι είναι Ρετσίνα;

Good question!!!
Many answers,
– I fell for this from thebacklable.com

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“When you’re in college, you have the perfect excuse for drinking liquor that tastes like it could strip paint. Retsina fans, however, do not.

That may be harsh. Though the wine is known for its whiff of turpentine and has drawn a divide amongst wine lovers, the pine-flavored (yes, you read that correctly) Greek white is steeped in over 2,000 years of history.

Once Upon a Time

All those years ago, winemakers faced a dilemma: how to go about successfully aging their grapes. The process at the time was a little rudimentary, and wine would often stand in open or porous containers, exposed to oxygen and spoiling quickly. As no wine should be wasted, the Greeks came up with an ingenuous solution. They started to seal the containers with pitch from Aleppo pine trees, which, while keeping the wine for longer, also ended up flavoring it.

Retsina was an acquired taste from the beginning. In the first century, Roman writer Columella criticized the use of it in fine wines due to its distinctive flavor, though not so much later, Roman writer and wino Pliny the Elder (23 CE – 79 CE) encouraged the addition. He also recommended where in Greece to find the best resin, anticipating the concept of terroir.

Cut from https://www.thebacklabel.com/what-is-retsina/#.WgQBkM_r02w

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This is what makes the retsina unique!
The “tears” from the pine tree …

I still remember my first taste of retsina, early 1980-ies in Skiathos.
We were invited with “The Greek Connection”/
the fantastic Sarris family, who were the agents for Gulliver Reiser
to a church ceremony.
Slowly when the priest was finishing preaching,
food and drinks started to show up.
Great food that the women had brought with them.
To drink there was 3 choices, water – which was needed –
tzipouro or homemade retsina.
Ti na kanw? I did not like any of the latter!
But I tried some retsina and diluted it with water.
and slowly slowly it got better and better!

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Now and for many years RETSINA is my drink!
I drink it with water still and if lucky some ice.
That makes me able to drink so much more!!!
And honesty I never get a headache the next day ;o)

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A short cut from Wikipedia;
“Popular anecdotes about the evolution of retsina stem from the Roman conquest of Greece. Stories claim that the Romans plundered the wines of Greece, angering the citizens who turned to pine resin as a way of extending their store of wine and as a deterrent to their thirsty conquerors. The harsh flavor was said to put off the Romans, who refused to drink the bitter ferment. Another anecdote claims that an excess of undiluted retsina was lethal for King Eric I of Denmark and Sigurd I of Norway.”
Much more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retsina

I have never seen or tried this retsina,
but I will. It has taken all these medals,
so do not tell me that retsina is shit!!!

http://www.kechri.gr/TheTearOfThePine.html
“Our wine story begins with Evangelos Kechris, who imports glass bottles from the U.S. to bottle wine for the first time in Greece. Although he doesn’t manage to implement his pioneering idea, he imparts the spark of innovation to his four sons.”
More at http://www.kechri.gr/history.html

“2003 “Kechribari” becomes the very first retsina awarded a gold medal at an international wine competition, this of Thessaloniki, opening a new chapter in global wine history.”

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“2009, 2013 & 2014 Three years, four historic firsts, one wine. “The tear of the pine” is awarded a gold medal at the largest international wine contests: Decanter World Wine Awards, International Wine Challenge (2009), Mundus Vini (2013) and Vinalies Internationales (2014) classify the unique retsina of Stelios Kechris into the “crème de la crème” of the global wine map. And our story continues…”

Another retsina I have to find when I go to the mainland is
New Retsina Malamatina Rosé

Retsina-Malamatina-Rose

When I came to stay on Skopelos in 1983 they collected a lot of “tears”
from the pine trees, you can still see long scars on some old trees.
There were oil barrels along the main road where they
stored the “tears” – looked not so good!!!
I have not seen this here for many years.

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Next time you visit Greece, try a retsina, a cool retsina!
BUT never take a bottle home to a cold country,
it does not like the climate!!!
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Anything more to mention?
Well, there are so many very good Greek wines now,
that one can see as many of them has taken medals
in big competitions in the world

The Guardian; “Greece given reason to raise a glass. More than 70% of the Greek wines
entered in the world’s biggest wine competition have won medals
.”

“At the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards, now in their eighth year, the tasters went through 14,119 wines from around the globe, awarding three golds to Greece’s Gaia Wines. Three other wineries, Lyrarakis, Estate Argyros and Domaine Gerovassiliou, also took home gold.”
From https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/may/22/wine-awards-greece-raise-glass

Για μας – Στην υγειά σας

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