Local grapes in the land of female love

dsc00708-copy.jpgFor one reason or another I’ve been to a fair share of gay clubs and bars over the years and had completely discounted the seeming minority of female couples in comparison to male couples on each occasion. So this last week it was rather a unique experience to be quite suddenly immersed into the cultural birthplace of lesbianism, on the Greek isle of Lesbos, in the Aegean Sea, just off the coast of Turkey.

Once again, I was to encounter the home vineyard; where seemingly every back garden had its own vines, and either the locals did not know the varietal or had no idea what I was asking them about. But true to what I’d seen in Kefalonia, many local communities had their own hand-presses and barriques in which to produce garagiste wine without the garage.dsc00570-copy.jpg

The wines themselves are a different animal to what we’re used to. The closest comparison would be milk directly from the milk pale on a farm vs. fully pasteurised, low fat milk. Wine has become a beverage of science quite easily separated from its origin; and it takes a glass of wine pressed in a hand-press, fermented in what is perhaps a 4th fill barrel, treated with wild yeasts and with no instruments to test for phenolic ripeness or remove excess alcohol through centrifuging to go back to what its really all about.

For one thing, there’s sediment, but somehow there’s an extra layer of flavour. Secondly, barrel to barrel there’s little consistency which could perhaps be due in part to the vastly different soils in Greece, influenced by volcanic dust and the like. What I enjoyed most however, was the freedom of branding. I dsc00704-copy.jpgshould write to Dr. Debs and tell her about these places which have good wine for well under $20, but I couldn’t tell her the name of a producer, only the name and lot of the family who made it.

While women walked with one another, hand in hand and in love, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the timeless farming system and mode of production that was still being employed. No doubt, poor economy is an influence, and many of the people do it from lack of money because I did see sophisticated, high end producers in financially better off areas. However, there’s something so pure in the old way that got my imagination going. We all know that the US has vine suitable soils in all of its states, and though I can’t quite picture myself keeping a rose-garden in my backyard… my thoughts aren’t too far away from a personal vineyard.


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