We are always looking for the unusual wine and we recently noticed a bottle of Mediterranean Cellars 2004 Rechina in our cellar. We had visited this local northern Virginia winery about 2 years ago (see Compass Tours) and the bottle had finally resurfaced. This wine is made in the Greek wine making tradition inherited by the Papadopoulos family. Before the use of barrels, wine was stored in containers which quickly became oxidized. Around the 13th century B.C., the Greeks discovered that adding a trace of resin from Aleppo pine trees preserved the wine as well as providing a unique piney flavor. Even after the use of barrels became routine, which also preserved the wine, the resin was still added to some Greek wines because the flavor was so popular. This tradition continues today.
According to Mr. Papadopoulos, his version is similar to the Greek style - but has been Americanized - meaning it is milder and smoother than the current counterparts. However the piney flavor is still apparent which makes this a very versatile wine. The piney flavor is not oaky or buttery as an oaked Chardonnay; the initial flavor is similar to taking a whiff of pine sol, but the pine aroma and flavor mellows in the mouth. I tried it in many circumstances and in all cases I loved it. It works well alone - as a sipping wine - think of a light scotch. I drank it with beef and the pine flavor melted into the meat. Think of it as a white wine drinker's red wine. It also complimented mesquite chicken where the spiciness from the marinade blended harmoniously with the wine. I even liked it with Belmont Peanuts. There is no doubt that we will be making another trip out to Mediterranean Cellars to resupply. And the next will be a comparative tasting of this winery's Americanized style and the authenticate Greek Retsina wine.