An opportunity for Retsina
By Yiannis Karakasis MW
I sometimes wonder. What’s the point of talking about traditional Greek products when nobody wants to support them? And, I mean with their actions, not in theory. There are excellent Greek kinds of butter, my favourite of which is from the Tositsa Foundation, but Lurpak is a great success in most Greek hotels. There is superb Greek meat (for those who enjoy some protein), but black Angus from the USA, Argentina or Australia is the hit. The same applies to Greek wines that we advocate are as good as some of the world’s best (quite true).
But then I can hear the opposition saying that Greek products are hard to find and are not of steady quality. Despite this, there is a but here. If we don’t support Greek wine, particularly our wine tradition, I’m afraid it will be lost. For instance, we have the most famous and definitely Greek wine, Resinated Wine or Retsina, and we are embarrassed to speak about it. Let alone suggest it to high-end foreign consumers. If there isn’t a single resinated wine in restaurants with local Greek cuisine on the list, one will probably not be able to find it anywhere. This way, we are missing our only chance of introducing resinated wines to our guests. Its gastronomic versatility is unsurpassable, and there are now so many marvellous New Age Resinated wines. One of the most essential characteristics of Retsina is its ability to pair with meze, tapas and often contrasting flavours.
We should take advantage of its versatility and adaptation to this kind of food. Let me give you an example from the wine pairings we make at Selene restaurant in Santorini, where I am in charge of its wine programme. There’s a fantastic menu by Chef Ettore Botrini (1 Michelin Star) that sings Greek rhymes and calls for authentic wines. We pair Bonito (bonito, taramas mousse, Santorini katsouni, a type of local cucumber seen in the photograph) with one of the most gastronomic and relatively light in resin-intensity Retsina, Retsina Amphora Nature from the Tetramythos Winery. A combination I find exquisite that pairs haute cuisine, tradition, finesse and daring in equal doses. So, next time you visit a restaurant, don’t hesitate to ask for a glass of Resinated wine. You will be amazed!
11 Favourite New-Age Retsinas to try
Tetramythos, Amphore Nature
Troupis, Pity Ritinitis (hit number 2 in 50 Great Greek Wines)
Gaia, Ritinitis Nobilis
Kechris, Tear of the Pine
Gikas, Pine Forest