What is Retsina and where to find it?

Maybe you tasted it while in Greece, maybe not. Maybe you ordered it but didn`t quite get what it was and you just remembered the word "retsina" thinking it was some local wine brand. What is it after all, wine or something else? Greek retsina is resinated wine which means the wine was in contact with pine resin and thus got specific taste and flavor which distinguish it from wine. The Greek tradition of making retsina is considered over 2000 years old and it is still produced and bottled at many locations in Greece. To be more specific, there are other countries producing resinated wine as well but the Greek one is the most popular.

You will find retsina in any taverna or restaurant in Greece, usually in the wine/drinks section of the menu. There are two types, white and rosé, as white is more common and rosé is not offered everywhere. The specific taste of retsina cannot be well explained to someone who has never tried it but in general it is mild, neither sweet nor bitter. Also, the taste and flavor vary from brand to brand and are subject to personal preferences. The most widespread brands are: Malamatina, Michali Georgiadi, Ampelicious (it is actually a product of Georgiadi wine company but the taste is different) and Kechribari. One or a few of these are available in any Greek taverna, along with a local less known brand. The less known brands can sometimes surprise you with supreme taste but they are available only in their regional unit and hard to find elsewhere. If you enter a bigger supermarket, the quantity of retsina brands may be astonishing and we have happened to buy a new brand just because...we liked the bottle. Note that the labels on the bottles are written with Greek letters and the above brands would look like: Μαλαματίνα, Μιχάλη Γεωργιάδη, Αμπελήσιους and Κεχριμπάρι.

Retsina is served cold and goes very well with fish, seafood, cheese and appetizers (or mezedes, as they call them in Greece). It comes in a bottle of 500 ml and unlike the draft homemade wine, we have never seen draft retsina in a taverna but it doesn`t mean you can`t find such. We personally have tried almost any brand we could see during our visits to Greece but still there are many undiscovered, and usually we are torn between the idea of getting something new or something favorite (its hard). No matter which brand you order for the first time, it will be good enough, after the second and third it is a matter of taste. Cheers/Στην υγειά σας!

Note: This is not paid advertisement of any Greek retsina brand.

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