19 March 2013

Looking beyond the Greek drama and the severe economic recession, there is a restless generation of young Greek winemakers willing to innovate, experiment and thus drive the Greek wine industry to the next level. Tetramythos winery from Oreini Aigialeia has put under its microscope retsina, a traditional style of wine with low perception and acceptance worldwide. The result redefines this classic style and its potential quality.

It is quite challenging to relaunch a wine synonymous for many years with Greece’s poor image in the international markets; however the result is very promising. First of all you need to forget whatever you know about retsina so far. Instead of masking any deficiencies or poor grape quality, the addition of resin in this case is in great balance with the primary fruit character of the wine.

The philosophy of winemaking doesn’t differ at all from making a dry white wine of excellent quality. Roditis fruit is sourced from a single, 25years old, vineyard with minimum human intervention and organic farming. The resin is collected from pine trees standing in the edge of the vineyard and is added at the beginning of the alcoholic fermentation. 40% of the fermentation takes place in clay amphorae, an innovation for the Greek wine industry. The fermentation starts with natural yeasts and without any addition of sulfur dioxide. After the end of a slow, long lasting, fermentation the wine rests on its lees for two months. The majority of the production is destined so far to the international markets, where there is a great demand for the wine.

The use of clay jars is at the moment one of the hottest trends in wine-making with great pioneers such as Gravner, Cos and Cornelissen taking advantage of it. It is a traditional approach to wine-making and jars can play the role of oak barrels without any addition of oak flavors to the wine. The image of the amphorae in the retsina’s label is a straight reference to this traditional style of winemaking. Someone can claim that paying respect to Greece’s heritage along with the combination of great knowledge will help the rebranding of Greek wines to the international markets.

Retsina Tetramythos Organic Wine 13% Roditis primary fruit is in the forefront while resin aromas are elegant and not overwhelming on the nose. A combination of citrus fruit reminiscent of lemon, along with pear and melon are surrounded by white flower notes. The palate is refreshing, elegant and there is great harmony between fruit and resin. This is more a well made dry white wine than retsina. If you are looking for a more intense traditional style of retsina this is definitely not your wine. (5.5€ in the Greek market)


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