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I remember in my early childhood years, when my grandmother 's sister would take me by the hand and we would walk to an underground tavern in Ag. Paraskeui with a plastic bottle in hand. The basement full of barrels and the characteristic scent of oxidised wine, would form the spot for the last generation of retsina drinks of old Athens. A generation that got lost, taking with it the respect it had towards retsina.
By Panos Georgountzos.
That tavern closed, just like many others like it in various neighborhoods of Athens. Retsina, despite her low price, due to the use of cheap grapes for its production, couldn't manage to survive in the later generation 's conscience. The reasons behind this disappearance are many. The main ones were the invasion of a more cosmopolitan lifestyle with imported drinks and a lifestyle that banished retsina as an outdates habit of the previous generations. Even, the rough way that retsina was stored in old barrels under poor conditions was not excused by the younger generations, who started learning to sterilize their consuming habits.
After several stone years, where many other wine dominated, the non-retsinated, the brousko and other such generalizations, but after the bottled quality 's “spring”, it is now time to restore retsina 's reputation and regain its place on the table.
Futhermore Greek consumers are now more educated than ever in wine issues kai at the same time they follow the global shift in the culinary traditions of the past. So there is definitely the appropriate juncture for retsina to re-introduce herself and enter our lives as something new and exotic.
Retsina is not just the concoction of the Mediteraneans massive wineries where the use of cheap Savvatiano and bad quality retsina scents are dominant. Anyway, in ancient time, every single variety could become retsina. Also, it's not the wine that in its worst form contributed into shaping a bleak picture for the Greek vineyards. Finally, it is not wine that is drunk in damp underground places with cheap snacks by people that have obvious alcohol problems. But if it's not all that, what is?
Retsina is the most distinctive Greek vineyard 's wine. The vinification method with the must 's flavouring has not been seen anywhere else in the world. The tradition dates back to a few thousand years when the other cultures where still learning the viticulture and winemaking from our ancestors. And if that's not enough to convince ourselves for its worth, then we should go back to the modern winemakers that dared to redefine it.
I strongly suggest to try some “real” retsinas that are on the market. For example organically grown grape retsina by the Georga Family. Some remarkable work has also been done by the Kechris Estate in Thessaloniki with the “Pine's Tear”, while “Ritinitis nobilis” by Gaia Estate serves as a wonderful example.
So lets open our taste horizons and welcome retsina back to our table. And as the of Greek descent owner of Chateau Margaux Korin Metzelopoulou stated on a recent interview on “Oinoxoos”, “I love retsina”. Don't you think she knows more?