Winemakers in Greece continue to push the industry forward. A new wave of pioneers successfully propels the quality of Greek wines ever higher. These pioneers share a common trait, their innovation is based on tradition.
Greece has a rich winemaking history and is blessed by a treasure chest of indigenous grape varieties. Many of these have been revived during the last years. Winemakers are literally going back to their roots.
At Domaine Nerantzi, which is located close to the border with Bulgaria, the oak used for barrel ageing is Balkan. Domaine Karanika uses the ancient Xinomavro variety to produce the only Greek sparkling Xinomavro wine made by the methode champenoise. These are just two out of many examples where innovation and tradition go hand in hand.
Retsina is certainly an integral part of Greece’s heritage, wine with resin has been produced for more than 2500 years. Only a handful of winemakers have been brave enough to attempt and produce a more refined, elegant and modern style of this wine. The Tetramythos winery can now be added to the names of these visionaries.
The resin is collected from pine trees that grow in the vineyard. The grape variety is Roditis, the vines are 24 years old. The single vineyard site is located at an altitude of 650 metres (2130 feet). And now it is getting interesting: Only wild yeasts are used for the fermentation, no sulphur is added. 40% is fermented in clay jars (amphora), the remainder in stainless steel tanks. The fermentation last for more than two months, with skins (sur lie). It finishes somewhat earlier in the clay jars due to the higher oxygen presence. The wine was bottled last month, at which point a very small sulphur addition took place. This was just one third of the limit allowed for organic wines. This is the first time that a minimal intervention Retsina wine has been created in Greece.
Notes: Delicate aromas of flowers and lemon with mineral notes, only a hint of resin. Medium bodied with a crispy acidity, smooth and elegant, the mid palate dominated by citrus fruit. The resin is beautifully integrated and does not dominate at all; it is most present on the excellent finish. A very intriguing wine indeed, the alcohol level is 13%. This will pair great with Greek mezedes, a number of grilled fish dishes, and also slightly spicy cuisine.