Monday, March 31, 2008

Grape Variety #100: Roditis

Imagine a wine that is like the love child of a dry German Riesling and a French Sauvignon Blanc. It's name would have to be Roditis.

Roditis is my 100th variety and marks the unofficial completion of my Wine Century. I had a tough time deciding which grape to drink last, but as a historian I decided to go with a grape from one of the world's oldest grape-producing regions.

What is Roditis? It's a a pink or rose grape that is used to make dry white wines. The juice from Roditis is often included in Greek's famous resinated white wine, Retsina, which I have to admit is a work in process for me. I tried a bottle of Boutari Retsina given to me in a wine swap a few months ago with domaine547, and even though I chilled it and tried to get in the mood, its pine-ness proved to much for me. I should also note that Boutari's Retsina is made with yet another Greek grape variety--Savatiano. If you are interested in Greek wine, check out some of the great reviews that other bloggers have posted recently about wines from this region. There seems to be something of a Greek revival in the blogosphere, with Tasters A and B from Smells like Grape sipping an Agiorgitiko with some kebabs just the other day, and Richard the Passionate Foodie enjoying his red wine made with Xiomavro.

The 2005 Lafazanis Roditis, however, was a lot of white for the price. ($11.99, K & L Wines; available elsewhere for $9-$12) It was bright and nervy, and everything that I look for in a summer white. Delicate aromas of peach, stone, and the kind of lemon oil you use to polish furniture with enticed you to take your first sip. Flavors of lemon and the sensation of wet stone filled your mouth and delivered on all the promise that the aromas suggested the wine had. My favorite part was the aftertaste, which had just a touch of honeyed heaviness (rather than sweetness) along with some herbal notes. Excellent QPR.

Have your Roditis with some platters of Mediterranean nibbles--hummus, roasted red peppers, olives, chunks of bread, olive oil--or with a more substantial Greek-inspired dish of grilled shrimp with chickpea puree and pitas along with a Greek salad.

Thanks to all of you who have been so encouraging about my adventures into lesser known varieties. And good luck to those of you who are trying to reach your own Wine Century. It's a fantastic way to learn about wine, that's for sure. I've been bitten by the "new variety" bug so don't be surprised if the offbeat, the less-traveled, and the rare grapes of the wine world continue to make appearances here on the blog. In a time when the dollar's buying power isn't what it used to be, these wines often represent excellent value and exceptional taste.

8 comments:

Marcus said...

You complete the century and celebrate by winning big in the American Wine Blog Awards!? Way to go Dr Debs!

I actually did not know about the Roditis connection to Retsina. Greek grapes might deserve their own wine century spin-off.

In summertime, those Greek whites always do the trick.

Farley said...

Congrats on the 100th grape and on winning not one BUT TWO Wine Blog Awards. You had my vote!

Cheers!

Orion Slayer said...

Way to go, Dr. Debs!

D J R-S said...

I had waay too much Retsina as a student at NYU...25 years ago, celbrating next month. Have you tried any Moschofilero? Some of that found its way to Puerto Rico-- nice light floral & citrus...congrats on the Century, I may become motivated to run my own inventory soon...

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks, folks. I appreciate your kind words.

Marcus, I have never seen a Retsina with Roditis in it, but many don't have the grape breakdown in it, so who knows? And DJ R-S, you were some hip student if you were drinking Greek wine! I've not had a Moschofilero, but I certainly will look for it. (you should do the Century Club--it really gets you trying new things)

Taster B said...

Don't know how I missed this post--I read 'em all! Thanks for the link and congrats on finishing your Century Club!
Some hummus and tzatsiki and olives is sounding pretty good right now. :)

Dr. Debs said...

Thank you for the great post. And hummus and tsatsiki always sounds good to me...

cooknkate said...

Congrats on your Wine Century completion! As of this writing I am 72/100 on my journey and I love every minute of it.