Great Retsina, an Oxymoron No More

That wine was the Ritinitis Nobilis from Gaia, one among Greece’s finest fashionable wineries. Since it was first issued, again in 1998, Gaia has been attempting to redefine retsina as a proud customized quite than a style to be shunned.

Gaia Ritinitis Nobilis at Souvla in San Francisco.CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

The origin of Ritinitis Nobilis stretches again greater than 25 years in the past to the times earlier than Gaia, when Yiannis Paraskevopoulos, a founder and the winemaker, was working at Boutari, a historic Greek producer. A mentor, Yiannis Boutaris, of the household that owned Boutari, dropped an offhand comment that stayed with him: Retsina can be a wine of high quality.

That comment challenged him, he stated, each to find out whether or not it was true and to see if he may do it.

“Quality retsinas didn’t really exist back then,” Mr. Paraskevopoulos wrote in an e mail. At the time, he stated, they have been extra a supply of disgrace.

“Retsina was Greece’s national wine, and as such it needed protection,” he stated. “The thing is, you can neither protect nor promote something that isn’t good. I had to make a good one.”

Mass-market retsina is mostly made with savatiano, Greece’s most generally planted grape, which has a fame, maybe undeserved, for making uninteresting wines at finest. At worst, farmed for prime yields quite than good high quality, it required industrial doses of pine resin for a way of identification.

Instead, Mr. Paraskevopoulos selected roditis grapes — which may make contemporary, spicy wines — grown at comparatively excessive altitudes, 2,300 to three,300 toes above sea stage. He additionally paid shut consideration to the standard of the resin, he stated, ensuring it was particularly contemporary.

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