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Retsina Rising

Retsina, (a white wine fermented with an inclusion of pine resin) has been part of Greek wine culture for centuries. It has also been a well traveled wine thanks to Greek merchants that sailed the world over the years. But because of its unique and obscure flavor profile it wasn’t as well liked in the modern world. To debunk all of the myths that have been floating around about retsina, I’ll give you the short version of its creation. As Greek merchants were setting off for their voyages around the world, they would load up their ships with all of their supplies and necessities, which included wine. The clay vessels that carried that wine would be stored down below in the ships. In order to seal the containers of wine air tight, they created an adhesive that consisted of pine resin and tar. But since the lower levels of the ship would be extremely hot during travels, the adhesive would melt and drip into the wine. Despite the wine being tainted by pine resin, they would drink it regardless since it was their only supply out at sea. Over the years, it became an acquired taste for Greeks and ended up becoming the national wine for decades during the 20th century.

Retsina’s production was mainly bulk wine making and was relatively low in quality. Most tourists visiting Greece during the 70s and 80s were introduced to retsina at the local tavernas around the country. That was their first impression of Greek wine. Not the best example but it was traditional at the time. At the same token, as the vast migration of Greeks to the U.S. during the 50s and 60s started to settle, importers began shipping in retsina to supply that demand. At one point during that time, retsina actually was one of the top wines being imported into the U.S. to supply all the Greeks throughout the U.S.

But as the development of Greece’s wine industry was ramping up during the 90s, we began to see a rapid decline in retsina production. As the generation of that era began to go away, the new generation had no interest in retsina and it became scarcely available in the U.S.

As the progression of Greek wine production has evolved into world class selections, we are starting to see a resurgence of innovative and pioneering practices of featuring local varieties that showcase their uniqueness. And now, a growing number of winemakers are experimenting with bringing back restina but at a high quality production. Retina was typically produced by Savatiano, the most planted grape variety in Greece. Savatiano was adaptable in any environment and could easily grow in most parts of Greece. This was ideal to produce bulk wine that could be sold cheaply.

Now wineries such as Mylonas in Attiki and Troupis in Mantinia are taking retsina to a higher level. Both wineries farm organically and produce clean wine without any synthetic sugars, additives or chemicals. Mylonas is using a high quality Savatiano and Troupis is using Assyrtiko that’s unfiltered for their restina. Both outstanding productions that will really change your perception of retsina. The flavor profile of both of these wines are refreshing and crisp, herbal notes, with a touch of pine, along with floral aromas and a clean finish.

Try this retsina from our platform and enjoy!