Retsina is a traditional Greek wine flavoured with pine resin. Much of it is also mass-produced and frequently cited as a wine that 'doesn't travel well'. But please, if you've only ever tried the industrially-produced versions, don't let this put you off for life. The best examples are serious, complex wines with a unique character and heritage. In the words of Julia Harding MW on a previous vintage of today's wine, 'Fine wine by any measure.'
Aoton make arguably the best of all artisan Retsinas, and it's worth going into a little detail about the winemaking process to show just how much care and attention is involved. A blend of 75% Savatiano and 25% Roditis, the fruit comes from organically farmed vineyards planted in the mid 1990's. The grapes are picked by hand in the cool of the night and the must fermented in stainless steel with 10 days of skin contact. During fermenation, 0.5g per litre of Aleppo pine resin, collected by hand from the forest of Kouvaras, is added. The wine is then aged for 10 months on its lees before bottling.
The result is a golden wine with a beautiful aroma of rosemary. On the palate, it is rich and round yet refreshing, with more of that rosemary character. The resin influence is subtle - an additional note of complexity in an already superb wine, rather than its dominant quality. It cries out for a roast chicken or your preferred equivalent.
Aoton 2019 Retsina is available to pre-order now, this is expected to arrive next week.
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