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A new generation of retsina

August 26, 2009     Views 8,509     Grabbed 1     Grab    
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A new generation of retsina

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It was inevitable: The rise of quality Greek wine had to trickle down to an improvement in retsina.

This pine resin-scented wine may not have been your thing in the past, but the new retsinas are worth a try--if you know what to look for.

First, you need to ensure that the wine is fresh: No wine tastes good after languishing on the shelf for years. Second, it's important to serve retsina in the proper context: Just because you're eating Greek food doesn't mean retsina is going to perfectly match your meal.

What retsina requires is a full-on meze spread: garlicky skordalia, fishy taramasalata, salty feta, fried halloumi, orange-scented pork sausages, herby keftedes and the like.

No other Greek wine can handle this onslaught of flavors as well. And that whiff of pine feels like a cool breeze after every bite. Best yet, these bottles are dirt cheap. Here are four retsinas to get acquainted with:

Kourtaki Retsina Neophytes start here: Lighter and fresher than ever before, Kourtaki's retsina is a gentle introduction to resin-scented wine, with plenty of light, crisp apple flavor to back it up. Available at Anthos restaurant or from Grand Wine & Liquor ($5)

Creta Olympias Retsina Crete is far from retsina's homeland of Attica, but this ultramodern winery does it justice, using a light hand with the resin to let the sunny fruit flavors shine. Available at Vintage Grape Wines & Spirits ($7)

Gaia Ritinitis Nobilis Retsina The most avant-garde retsina of the bunch, this is bracingly fresh, like the scent of the sea screened through a pine-lined beach. Available at Pylos restaurant or from Astor Wines & Spirits ($13)

Malamatina Retsina A hard-core retsina lover's bottle, this is as pungent as its deep yellow hue suggests--yet, it, too, is more refined than in years past. Available at Thalassa restaurant or from Gotham Wines & Liquors ($4)


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