I’ve heard about Retsina for years, but it was not until recently, at a Greek restaurant on Danforth in Toronto, that I actually got to taste it.
It tastes like rosemary wine.
That’s not a bad thing.
Rosemary, of course, is a member of the pine family, and Retsina is treated with pine tree resin; hence the taste.
It’s a light white wine, similar in body to a Frascati or a Pino Grigio. Behind the rosemary/pine nose and taste, there’s a vegetal, grassy flavor, and a slightly medicinal, bitter tang. I could see some people not liking it, but like the hoppy finish in a good beer, I found that the bitterness cleansed my palette and readied me for the next sip, or the next taste of food. This is definitely a wine to drink with food.
Not something I’d drink every day, but it makes a nice wine for a warm summer day.