Literally “I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts”. Each time we have tried Greek wines, Richard and I have commented on the quality, the unique nature and their value for money – and the two wines we tasted on Friday were no exception. Trojan Horses indeed – ones to enjoy.
Firstly, the Retsina from winemakers Tetramythos. It was non-vintage, organic and only 12%. We can both remember Retsina from earlier times (1980s?) which was heavily pine scented and prone to oxidise but this was much subtler and fresher. The amphora maturation is interesting, as is the use of wild yeasts. The Roditis grapes are grown at altitude by makers who are very environmentally conscious. The result of all this detailed, modern approach was a very pale yellow and slightly petillant appearance which reminded us of Muscadet or Picpoul. Initially very slight, the nose gained pungency as the wine sat in the glass but it maintained its zingy lemon freshness whilst developing slightly herby notes – but little pine resin.
The palate I classed as bold, a little bit hard and easy drinking if a little one-dimensional. Richard opined (pun intended) it was short. However, we both agreed that it was a well-made wine, excellent value (WS £7.95) and would be lovely with sea food. I think that this wine has been made to suit a wider European audience, the distinctive pine flavours toned down to make it commercially appealing. In this, it has succeeded.
(Historical/technical stuff. Originally, the resin was used to seal the stone amphora in which the wine was kept; the wine took on that nuance of flavour. In more modern manufacturing, resin is added to the must to flavour the wine).