What is Retsina

If there is one wine which epitomizes the Greek wine culture in all its glory and uniqueness, it must be Retsina. This delicious, yet unusual tasting white or rosé wine has been made in and around Greece for at least 2,000 years by much the same method, making it one of the most famous and dearly loved examples to be found within Greece's rich culinary and viticultural heritage. To sip a glass of aromatic, cool Retsina is to share flavors and aromas with the cradle of civilization itself, to partake in an unbroken chain of appreciation and sensory enjoyment which spans millennia. No wonder the Greeks are so proud of this rare and special product!

What makes Retsina so special?

You can't sip a glass of this honey-colored wine without being taken aback by the unusual flavors found within the bottle. This refreshing and highly aromatic quality comes from the inclusion of small pieces of Aleppo Pine resin, which is mixed into the grape juices as they are fermenting, resulting in a powerful, unique and unforgettable flavor Traditionally, Retsina wines are made with a blend of Savatiano, Assyrtiko and Rhoditis grapes, however, both modern and traditional wineries across Greece and the Greek islands regularly experiment with other varieties to produce a range of characteristics and qualities. Other than the fact that pine resin is added to the mix, the production of most modern Retsina is much the same as with other white or rosé wines, which means the wine can still regularly be enjoyed alongside strongly flavored food, or drank alone on a hot, Mediterranean day.

Origins of Retsina

There are a few theories about the origins of Retsina wine, but the one most commonly agreed upon is that the pine resin was originally used as a seal for wine vessels. When the Romans came to Greece with their new, impermeable wine barrels, the locals missed the taste the resin gave their wine, so began adding it anyway, and have been ever since.

Additional Information on Greek Wines

Greek Wines

Ancient Greek Wines – A Brief History of Wine in Greece

The Myth of Dionysus, Greek God of Wine