Certainly in the trend of the producers who wish to get Retsina wine out of triviality, Kechis has released this so unconventional bottling.
The Appellation by Tradition rules allow resinated wine to be produced anywhere in Greece from local grape varieties. [Lazarakis, 2005, Location no. 836; Keevil et al., 2009/2010]. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Retsina wine is made in Central Greece (Attica, Boeotia) or on the island of Euboea, from Savatiano or Roditis grape varieties [Lazarakis, 2005, Location no. 3597; “Retsina Wine”, n.d].
This one is neither made in Central Greece, nor from Savatiano or Roditis grapes. Instead, Stelios Kechris Domaine is set in Kalochori, Thessaloniki province, and their product is made near the town of Goumenissa [“Our Winery”, n.d.; “The Tear,” n.d.]. Goumenissa has, in fact, its own PDO appellation, totally non-related to resinated wine [“Goumenissa”, n.d.]. The whole enterprise belongs, thus, to Macedonia viticultural region, in Northern Greece.
The grape variety chosen by Stelios Kechris Domaine for their Retsina wine is Assyrtiko, the famous aromatic cépage of Santorini [“Assyrtiko”, n.d.]. The final product is 100% Assyrtiko [“The Tear,” n.d.].
Moreover, while resinated wines, even quality ones, are generally made using the simplest vinification process – fermentation in stainless steel tanks – this bottling benefits from fermentation in oak barrels and maturation on the lees during 6 months [“The Tear,” n.d.].
A straight comparison could be made with Retsina Papagiannakos, also in the trend of high-quality Retsinas, which is simply fermented in steel tanks at a low temperature [“Retsina Papagiannakos”, n.d.].
Though atypical, The Tear of the Pine is the product that fueled the statement “great retsina is no oxymoron” in “The Oxford Companion to Wine” [Robinson et al., 2005, p. 605].
Pale gold. The strong pine resin smell can be at first mistaken for a fault. Intensely aromatic, though fruit stays behind the resin, this wine enchants with everything from lemon and grapefruit to apricot, peach and nuances of quince, to which add remote acacia scents and herbaceous notes. Sharp acidity and a medium-to-full body define the gustatory impression, which is again dominated by pine resin. Green apple and pear sensations add to citrus and stone fruit on the palate. The taste persists, but could be longer than this. Modern style, yet we get a fair impression of what retsina wine is like.
Personally, I enjoy more Savatiano-based retsinas. Although technically this is a very good bottling, I think Assyrtiko’s aromatic profile goes in a competition with the pungency of the resin, of which none seems to win. On the contrary, Savatiano grape’s rather neutral character copes better in my opinion with the pervasive smell of pine.
- Stelios Kechris Domaine
- The Tear of the Pine
- Traditional Appellation Retsina
- 100% Assyrtiko
[“The Tear,” n.d.]
Where to Buy
- Lazarakis, K. (2005). The Wines of Greece. [Kindle version]. Retrieved from
- Keevil, S., Adams, G., Austin, C., Bodains, R., Besonen, J., & Buckley, K., … Williams, D. (2010). Vinurile lumii [The Wines of the World] (p. 420). București: Litera Internațional (Original work published 2009).
- Vin retsina [Retsina Wine]. Retrieved 30 December 2017, from
- Our Winery. Retrieved 30 December 2017, from
- The Tear of the Pine. Retrieved 5 November 2017, from
- Goumenissa. Retrieved 30 December 2017, from
- Assyrtiko. Retrieved 30 December 2017, from
- Retsina Papagiannakos. Retrieved 30 December 2017, from
- Robinson, J., Harding, J., Ahmed, S., Aird, H., Aitchison, J., & Amanov, M., … Zoecklein, B. (2015). The Oxford Companion to Wine. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Categories: Tasting Notes