September 23, 2009 – Santorini

October 9, 2009

After finishing lunch yesterday, we went to the Boutari winery.  It’s the largest exporter of wine in all of Greece, although I don’t think they have much competition for the distinction.  Lots of grapes are grown on the island but most of them get used for homemade wine.  The vines grow low to the ground, twisting in a circle with the grapes all inside the circle.  This protects them from the wind and lets them use up every it of moisture available, including the morning dew.

Grapevine wreath  - the vines are trained to grow this way.

Grapevine wreath - the vines are trained to grow this way.

Outside the winery, a half grown puppy greeted us.  He had black fur and crystal blue eyes.  We fell into love at first sight and joked about taking him home and naming him Papus Dave – Papus being Greek for “grandpa.”  N got his super blue eyes from his grandfather who was also blessed with black hair.

Papus Dave

Papus Dave

Inside the winery, we opted for the tour with tastings of eight wines.  The guide was very enthusiastic but his accent made it hard for me to understand some of what he said.  As we stood by the casks, the bartender came down to tell the guide to “hurry up and let us taste the wine – that was why we’d come!” 

We went back upstairs and tasted four whites, two reds, a port and a dessert wine.  We also received a grading sheet so we could rate each and then compare our results to the findings of the experts.  N quickly ditched the official rating system in favor of “Dig it,” “Mostly dig it” and “Super dig it.”

Around five, we left the winery and returned to the room for a shower and rest before dinner.  Dinner took us to Ammoudi, a village beneath Oia on the northern tip of the island’s crescent.  We went to a restaurant called Pandora’s, also through the recommendation of the rental car agent.  It was dusk when we arrived, just past sunset.  The restaurant only had outdoor seating so we looked out on the fishing boats in port.

Long exposure shot taken from Pandora's patio at Amoudi Bay.

Long exposure shot taken from Pandora's patio at Amoudi Bay.

One fellow, about our age, ran the whole operation.  I’m sure during the high season he had help but that night he took our order, cooked the food and then delivered it.  N had “perfect fish soup,” so described by the chef.  I ordered fresh spaghetti with shrimp.  After we ate, the proprietor surprised us with small glasses of honey mead and then a flaky dessert.  To round out a perfect vacation day, I saw a shooting star streak across the sky as we lingered over the remains of dinner.

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