Greek Crisis Wine Paring: Retsina!

*Editor’s comments: Mr. Wannabe Wino, aka my husband Matt, is going to be joining Wannabe Wino as a contributor. Since he deals with politics and current events on a daily basis, he will be offering his (often tongue-in-cheek) thoughts on wines to pair with the events of the day.

Not sure what sort of wine to serve alongside a heaping serving of Greek financial doom and default?  Why not a wine sometimes described as having a bouquet of turpentine: Retsina!

Making up a significant percentage of modern white wine production in Greece, retsina been produced in Greece for thousands of years.  Retsina’s unique characteristics are believed to have originated in the ancient world as a side effect of sealing amphorae with Aleppo Pine resin to limit wine oxidization.  Although such storage methods are unnecessary today (and actually haven’t been necessary since the Romans began widely using barrels in the 3rd and 4th centuries), the velvety pine flavoring has remained popular with many Greeks down to the current day.  Today, without the need to store wine in clay jars, the scrumptious sap flavoring is created by adding small pieces of Aleppo Pine resin during fermentation.
This Greek specialty hasn’t always gone over well with northern Europeans.  Most infamously, during the crusades undiluted retsina was blamed for causing the deaths of two European monarchs, King Eric I of Denmark and Sigurd I of Norway.  (Makes you wonder if the Greeks should send a few amphorae of retsina to Brussels…)  So if you’re looking for something especially pungent to pare with a protracted crisis, consider giving retsina a try!
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