I love wine, I love tasting new wines and I love tasting unusual and local varieties, even if it is not always the greatest wine. Being in Greece I just have to taste the local wines, so I went out in Rhodes to one of the bigger estates to try the local delicacies.......not all of them bowled me over I have to admit. In Greece the white wine production is bigger than the red wine and generally I prefer the whites here. Even most of the reds tasted are rather light bodied and often served chilled like a white wine.
I think the most well known wine is the Retsina. Here in Rhodes it is made from the local grape variety Athiri and then Pine resin is added during the fermentation. This has been done since 2000 years. It is amazing just the smell in the glass is overpowering with Pine and Eucalyptus flavours. It is a flavour one has to get used to, if one really wants of course. I just had to get a bottle to take home and for 3 Euro one can't complain.
Then of course they make a lot of sweet wines, red and white. I am a sucker for sweet wines, especially noble late harvests and botrytis infected wines, but here they were just sweet, a little one dimensional. I guess I have to try the VinSanto on Santorini, they are well known for that.
I was able to join a tour of Rhodes and part of the tour was the tasting. Yes I liked the historic part of the tour, the palace of the knights, the fortified walls, the history, but to be honest, this time I joined more for the wine tasting than anything else.....and the tasting was not what I expected. We went to a big Coop named Cair and two big tour buses just left the tasting area, so I knew that there wouldn't be an in depth tasting, but what we received was more a "why do you bother us" attitude, the wine was poured so fast that we struggled to taste a wine before the glass was re-filled with the next wine (I guess one could literally call it a blend!)
But somehow I could make out what I drunk and then after the lady behind the counter poured 8 wines in a time frame of 5 minutes she walked away to be ready for us to storm to her other counter and buy wine......yes right. So we could take a bit more time to taste the wines, read the labels and make up our own story where the wine was grown, and, and, and.
Oh, by the way, the six bottles in the photo are now in my suitcase and will come with me to South Africa.....no idea if they will arrive the way I hope they will, but that is just me!!! I will be hopelessly overweight and will have to schmooze again big time at the airport to get them all through. OK, the seaman's book helps, I can travel with 40 kg, but still till the moment the suit cases are checked in I will be a tiny bit nervous.....OK, a bit more than a tiny bit.