The latest addition to our stable is our first island producer, from the home of Sappho herself. Yannis Lambrou is quite a character, with a fiercely original approach to wine and life. We especially enjoyed watching him take on not just the bureaucrats of the Greek Ministry of Agriculture but the high Paladins in Brussels itself over the ridiculous pregnancy warning symbol that Europe wants on wine labels but the U.S.A. does not. He gave them one week to come up with an answer – and they did! Unfortunately, it was not the one he wanted to hear. Still, it gave us a flavor of the man.
The estate was the first modern Lesbian estate, although the island was exalted for its wines in ancient times. Phylloxera wiped the vine out at the end of the 19th century, so when the Lambrou family revived the almost-extinct Chidiriotiko grape on their ancestral property, it marked a dramatic turning point in Greece’s viticultural history. The situation is unique – the crater of an extinct volcano that used to be home to the famed petrified forest of Lesvos. The lava soil is fantastically rich in mineral content, partiuclarly sulphur, which enables them to follow a strictly organic regime with relative ease. All this novelty aside, we would not have bought the wines if we were not struck by their exceptional quality.