Lawrence Durrell on Greek wine

Here is an extract from Lawrence Durrell’s wonderful book The Greek Islands (1978)  where he discusses, while in Crete, Greek wine…..I love this piece,  and I am sure that you will too!!

“As for drink, the controversial rezina has been discussed so often that it seems invidious to do it again. Rezina may well taste ‘like pure turpentine which has been strained through the socks of a bishop’, as someone wrote to me; but it is to be recommended most warmly. You should make a real effort with it, but be warned that it is never as good bottled as it is fresh from the blue cans of the Athenian Plaka. It is a perfect adjunct for food which is oil-cooked, and sometimes with oil not too fresh. Its pungent aroma clears the mind and the palate at one blow. Yet it is mild, and you can drink gallons without a hang-over; not does it ever provoke the disgusting leaden sort of drunkenness that gin does – but rather, high spirits and wit. If you drink rezina you will live for ever, and never be a trial to your friends and to waiters. If you really cannot take any pleasure in it, you will find today several good little wines, white and red, which are not only stable but very good to taste. I think immediately of Santa Elena (white) and Naoussa (red), which are available almost everywhere because their production is high. But some of the monasteries also have good small wines which do not travel. In Santorini I remember once a red wine that came from volcanic soil and was faintly fizzy. It is worthwhile experimenting with the local brew wherever you are. You simply have to present yourself at a wine shop and say gravely, ‘I want some samples’. and a glass is produced and you are invited to sit down. Whole mornings can be passed in this delicious sport when once you have tired of ruins and thirsty, dusty valleys.”

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