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Vice President Athenee Importers

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GAIA Ritinitis Retsina label gets a makeover

Since the late 1990s when Athenee Importers began importing GAIA's Ritinitis Retsina, we have been using this label:

Starting  fall 2012 GAIA has decided to retire our existing label and move to a new design. 

The bottle will be clear and with a screw cap.  Pricing remains the same and we anticipate it making its way into the US later this fall.  The wine in the bottle remains the same - 100% Roditis.  It's the same base wine used to make their Notios White (a blend of Roditis & Moschofilero). 

What they do to make the retsina is take the vat of Roditis set aside for Retsina and infuse small amounts of pine resin into it.  The whole process looks like you are making a very large pot of tea.  The final product, while having aromas of menthol, eucalyptus and pine, also has citrus notes and pleasant acidity.  This is the perfect wine to pair with "difficult" cuisines like Indian.  It acts like a breath mint - take a bite of food and then a swig of Retsina and your mouth will feel fresh afterwards.

Once we get a bottle in our hands we'll upload it for all to see.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Introducing Estate Argyros' new Vin Santo line

Estate Argyros is considered one of the best producers of Vin Santo on the island of Santorini.  Yiannis Argyros produced his first vintage of Vin Santo in 1974 for his own personal consumption & for friends & family.  Several  years later the first Vin Santo was commercially released.

For those that believe Vin Santo is of Italian origin, they would be mistaken.  Historically, Vin Santo meant "Vino di Santorini" - or wine of Santorini.  Several years ago, Greek Vin Santo producers petitioned the EU to protect the name "Vin Santo" as a uniquely Greek product and to stop the Italians from using the name.  After presenting documentation proving the historical roots of the term, the EU courts granted the Greek petition.  "Vin Santo" can only be used be producers of the wine on the island of Santorini.  In Italy, the wines must be named "Vino Santo di (the origin)". 

The Estate previously released two different Vin Santo dessert wines - one a vintage dated and aged 20 years in oak and the "Mezzo", a wine aged for at least 4 years in oak before release.  Several years ago the family decided to expand the series to include 3 wines - 4 year, 12 year and 20 year.  The "Mezzo" has been effectively discontinued and here in the US we are selling through the last of the remaining inventory.  By fall, we will be rolling out the new line in it's entirety across the country.  The wines in this line will be based on the average amount of years the wine has spent aging in the barrel.  For example, the 4 year Vin Santo is the average age of wines in various casks (anywhere from 3-8 years old for argument's sake).  This premise continues with the 12 & 20 year aged wines as well.

The new wines & approximate retail prices are:
Vin Santo 4 year 2006 $30 (90 Points Wine Advocate)
Vin Santo 12 year 1998 $50
Vin Santo 20 year 1990 $125 (96 Points Wine Advocate)

Look for these wines to start making their way into distribution this fall.