Then stuff ‘em in your gob and chew.
Now. I’ve never actually eaten the leaves of an evergreen tree. But if I did, I expect they’d taste a fair bit like this wine. Which isn’t really that surprising, I guess, given that it’s flavoured with pine resin.
… Which gives it a bitterness and a lot of middle-body. A little like a jaded divorcee who’s let himself go to seed. Compared to oak — a variety of tree we’re more accustomed to encountering in the alcoholic context — it’s much less soft, less opulent, less vanilla’d in the quality with which it endows the wine. There’s a frontloaded, chemical quality to it that must be something of an, um, acquired taste.
(Or, in the words of the excellent Quaffable’s Charles Saunders, ‘Domestos, that pine flavoured aroma designed to leave your palate fresh and clean’.)
Beyond this — well, it’s dry. There’s a little dab of lemony fruit in there, but, really, it’s all about the resin — and talking about any other characteristics of the wine feels a little perverse, given that this is manifestly its dominant property. I guess these things are more important if you’re writing a dedicated Retsina blog.
And (on the strength of this) I must confess to being rather glad I’m not.
Price £5.99 (I think) at Sainsbury’s — who’ve since, it seems, stopped selling it. But it’s at Tesco. If you really want it. For £5.49.