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  • Writer's pictureNoelle Brandmier


There is a thing that happens quite often with my adventures in wine and game pairing. I type a phrase into Google, for example "wood wine" and Google answers with an almost audible "Do I have a wine suggestion for YOU!" And I usually spin around in my chair at work to exclaim at my coworkers, "Guys guess what I just learned about WINE!" This is pretty much exactly what happened with my discovery of retsina.

Now what brought me to searching for the phrase "wood wine" in Google was my earlier discovery of the board game Photosynthesis. I have to be completely honest and say that this board game is completely unlike anything else I've played. In Photosynthesis, you plant seeds in an effort to grow trees, and you collect sun points to further your growth. Now what I really like about this game is that as the game progresses, the sun rotates around the board and creates shadows. Sometimes you won't get many sun points in a round because taller trees (yours or your opponents) will overshadow your smaller trees. And sometimes the roles are reversed. It's such a natural mechanic, but its also so unique! On top of all of that, the game is absolutely stunning to look at. Half way through the game, the board is covered in a beautiful multicolored forest of trees that come in all shapes and sizes. This game was another result of my trip to PAX Unplugged, I can't get over how many new games I learned about at that amazingly fun convention.

Now let's go back to my discovery of the Greek wine called retsina. When I was thinking of a wine to pair with Photosynthesis, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if I could get a light, bright wine that also had a woody taste?" This is retsina. Retsina is an ancient wine of Greece that is infused with pine resin. Now I've heard that most traditional retsinas can be quite rough on the palate, but Gaia has done an excellent job of modernizing a tradition and making a tasty yet interesting wine. The first sip that you take it similar to something like a pinot grigio, bright with notes of lemon and herbs. And then the pine washes over you. This is a very woody wine, and I wouldn't recommend it unless you want to try something unique, different, and very flavorful. However if that's what you're looking for, go all in! I had such a fun time sipping retsina while playing Photosynthesis.

Can you think of any other games that would pair well with retsina? Have you tried retsina or Photosynthesis? Let me know in the comments below!


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