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This, our first island producer, comes 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, particularly 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.
City of Origin:
Chidira. A remote village, not a city.
Date Founded:
Owner Name:
Yannis Lambrou
Vineyard Size:
5.68 acres
Total Annual Production:
15-20,000 bottles

Property History:

According to Archestratus (4th century BC), an ancient poet and connoisseur, the wine of Lesvos was the best of antiquity: I can praise the wines produced in many places And their names I do not forget But no wine is compared to the wine of Lesvos (quoted by Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae, A, 52d) Unfortunately, the famous, age-old winemaking tradition of Lesvos came to an end in the beginning of the 20th century because of phylloxera's arrival to the island. This vine-root eating bug had been spreading from its native America almost everywhere since the middle of the 19th century. The remedy against phylloxera in most parts of the world was to graft vines on rootstock resistant to the bug. However, Lesvos by the end of the 19th century had specialized in ouzo, made from alcohol produced elsewhere, so vineyards on the island were abandoned when hit by phylloxera. In the early 1980s the Lambrou family discovered the last remaining vines of an old grape of Lesvos near Chidira, a forgotten village of the island. The grape, named after the village Chidiriotiko, was replanted in 1985 by the Lambrou family in their private estate, located in the crater of the extinct volcano close to Chidira. The lava of this volcano had once created the Petrified Forest of Lesvos.

Owner History:

In 1997 the Lambrou family completed construction of Methymnaeos Winery, located, too, in Chidira. The first bottles of Methymnaeos Organic Wine, of the harvest of 1997, came out of the winery's production line in 1999. This was the first bottled wine in the history of Lesvos. Nowdays Yannis Lambrou, son of the family, makes wine at Methymnaeos Winery from his own grapes and the grapes of other local vine growers, who, following the steps of the Lambrou family, have decided to replant and recultivate Chidiriotiko.

Wines By Methymnaeos

2015 Chidiriotiko Red (Lesbos)

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