Kourtaki, Retsina of Attica review

… has a fair dose of bitterness and a lot of middle-body. A little like a jaded divorcee who’s let himself go to seed.

The yellow label of a bottle of Kourtaki RetsinaGo out and find your nearest coniferous forest. Sure, you probably have one somewhere on your estate, right? Send out the groundsman and tell him to pick a handful of spiny pine leaves.

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.

Rating ★ 1 star (flawed)
Region Attica
Grape Savatiano
ABV 11.5%
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.

6 thoughts on “Kourtaki, Retsina of Attica review”

  1. Acquired taste? Think about Whiskey and beer. Anglo-Saxons can always surprise you by their total lack of self-reflection. What do you expect from people “civilized” by half-barbaric Normans. Sophisticated Greeks enjoyed their pine raisin flavored wines already at the times of Homer, when the forebears of the Anglo-Saxons were still jumping around in the trees of the Teutonic forests.

  2. Er — fair doos. I don’t like most beer, either, by the way. Probably down to my Anglo-Saxon lack of self-reflection. Or, perhaps, just THE FACT THAT I DON’T LIKE IT. Ought I to pretend to like it? Are you mad?

    It’s a wine blog, dear, not a forum for jingoistic comparison. My opinion on how the wine tastes, yuh? Not my opinion of whole European civilisations and the histories thereof.

    Though I realise those two things might sound similar.

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