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.

HME-CHIXX Methymnaeos Orange 2013

Available Wines

Methymnaeos 2015 Chidiriotiko (Lesbos)

While there is a certain kinship here with Zafeirakis’ Limniona, in that the wine is not very dark, not at all heavy and just kissed with oak, it has a distinctive flavour of its own that we would describe as leaning in the direction of Muscat. Not quite as obviously floral as a Ribeira Sacra or Lacrima di Morra d’Alba, it evokes those parallels by dint of its pefumed beauty and tensile strength. A real original that will expand your vinous universe, without neglecting to give you pleasure!

Methymnaeos 2015 Chidiriotiko Orange Wine (Lesbos)

Yannis makes all his wines from the black indigenous grape of Lesvos. Not especially endowed with colour, it is a good candidate for “white” wine. We are normally sceptical of the vogue for “ancient-style” wines like these, but found ourselves preferring this version to the Blanc de Noir. Pressed before fermentation, which occurs at a controlled temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, the wine has a beguilingly nutty aroma with no overt oxidative qualities. The texture is slightly oily, the fruit flavours tend in a cool, almost green direction and the finish is strikingly long and mineral. This wine is not just original but good – which surely is its first duty.