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Nov 16 2009

Spinster aunt has puerile episode

Attic black figure wine stompers, ca. 600 BCE

Attic black figure wine stompers, ca. 600 BCE

My sidekick Stingray is a professional wino. She can tell you the names of about 87 different species of fungus that grow on grapes. She speaks reverently of the Moldavian terroir. She goes around telling people what wine to drink with their fire-roasted frisée frittatas.

Lately she’s been on this kick where she quits her job, shoves a few necessaries into a bumbag, and biffs off to some distant vineyard or other to toil in a cellar for months on end. I’m not sure what, exactly, this cellar work entails, but I get the impression that it more or less involves attaching lots of hoses to lots of tanks for about 12 hours a day in an ultra-misogynist environment for next to no pay. Stingray stresses that it absolutely does not involve picking or stomping grapes. Stomping grapes, she says, has fallen out of vogue. She thinks it maybe isn’t even legal in the U.S.

Anyway, Stingray is lately returned from one of these indentured servitude binges, this time in the Douro River Valley in Portugal. The winery was apparently picturesque in every respect. Rolling hills, winding river, ancient vineyards, and yes, human grape treaders.

I got pretty excited about this last feature. Grape stomping, as anyone who has watched I Love Lucy can tell you, is an iconic motif in the ancient European rustic narrative. It’s Bacchanalian. It’s bucolic. It’s barefooted. How soothing to know that, persisting through the mists of untold millennia, in some faraway Arcadian paradise, human feet yet aspire to this high moral purpose, squishing the crap out of grapes for the enbiggenment of all humankind.

Naturally I subjected Stingray to an extended debriefing on this foot treading theme.

“I can’t believe they still do that!” I said. “Did you stomp grapes?”

“Uh, no. Why does everybody ask me that?”

“What! How come?”

“Well,” said Stingray, adopting the weary tone of an evolutionary biologist addressing an audience of feeble-minded Intelligent Designers on the meaning of the word theory, “they asked me once if I wanted to, but I didn’t feel like taking off my –”

“Are you mad? How could you pass up a primo local color experience like that?”

“I don’t know, I was like up to my elbows in wine all day, and I just didn’t feel –”

“This is a travesty.” I was sorely disappointed by this bloodless disinterest in grape-stomping. “Who goes all the way to Portugal, works in an idyllic ancient vineyard where idyllic ancient rituals flourish, and suddenly declines to stomp grapes? Grape stomping’s a fucking archetypal theme!

We went back and forth like this for a while. Eventually the facts emerged.

Fig. 2b. Photo by Stingray, 2009.

Fig. 2b. Photo by Stingray, 2009.

Apparently, as a wine professional, Stingray is immune to the romantic lure of the grape stomping mythos. A further, even more shocking revelation: grape stomping is actually considered lowly. It turns out that the most popular insult around the cellar was “Why don’t you go stomp some grapes, you miserable grape stomper!” In Portuguese this colorful sentiment is expressed somewhat more poetically by the phrase peez ah pee. Or possibly pizza pie.*

Stingray produced some photos of the Douro Valley grape treaders. They didn’t look miserable to me. But the longer I contemplated the pictures, the less nostalgic I began to feel toward stomping. I began to formulate in my lobe a hypothesis I’d never considered before. You will observe in Fig. 2b that the treaders are not wearing sterile disposable latex long-johns.

They’re wearing Speedos.

“Sometimes,” noted Stingray, “these people are up to their crotches in grapes.”

Coincidentally, my fridge happened at that moment to be full of Portuguese wine, so my next question was exactly what you think it was.

Stingray delivered a detailed speech on the subject of filtering practices, albumin, the antibacterial properties of alcohol, and other hygiene-related crap. Unsoothed by this, I pressed her for more. She mentioned the alcohol thing again, and something about a sort of screen on a spigot somewhere. I remained dubious. Finally she admitted the truth: that although the odds are pretty well stacked against it, it’s not 100% impossible that a bottle of wine might contain a pube.

A bottle of wine could contain a pube! A bottle of wine could contain a pube!

____________________________

* Portuguese speakers are invited to improve my phonetic treatment of the phrase with actual spelling.

77 comments

  1. Larkspur

    “…A bottle of wine could contain a pube! A bottle of wine could contain a pube!”

    I see several possible solutions and/or accommodations one could devise that would allow one to construct a belief system that is strong enough to support the drinking of Portuguese wine:

    1. Have a second and maybe a third glass of the wine. This is the Purim effect: you drink enough so that you cannot tell the good guys from the bad guys. In this case, you drink enough that you forget about possible pubes, or you begin to think the possibility is hilarious.

    2. Desensitize yourself by thinking about the growing incidence of e. coli in our own domestic hamburgers.

    3. Help me devise a plan to reverse-outsource the stompage, by contracting with Portugal to accept migrant stompers from the ranks of our own unemployed but nevertheless super-hip young people. Everybody knows they wax everything: thus, no pubes.

    Would you please ask Stingray if she needs a valet and/or bodyguard on any of her travels?

  2. Pellegrina

    Also, a family friend who is an engineer of various food processing machines once asserted over his younger son’s wedding breakfast that no machine had been made capable of 100% accuracy in sorting cranberries from the poop of the reindeer who love to frequent the places where cranberries are grown and mechanically scooped off their plants. Cranberry juice could contain reindeer poop!

  3. PhysioProf

    You’re worried about a few measly pubes? What about all that fucking between-the-toes sploogy shit? Huh?

  4. rootlesscosmo

    Stingray will know if this is accurate, but as I recall, stomping isn’t a trade like barrel-making; it’s more like one of those traditional harvest-time things, like oats gathering in Britain as recently as the 1940′s, that call for a whole lot of extra work (over and above the ordinary drudgery of farm labor) but not much in the way of specialized craft. So there are annual mobilizations of people usually outside the paid local workforce, i.e. women, kids, itinerant casual workers etc. Does the low status of the work reflect the low status of the people doing it, or does the work transfer its low status to them? Probably the former, though better-informed blamers may have more data.

  5. Pinko Punko

    I think the list of things that may contain a pube is longer than bottles of wine. Ick. I was noting that that yummy belgian raspberry lambic crap actually gets fermented by a series of specific environmental contaminants that take over at various states of the process. This seemed to mean to me that the environmentally borne organisms were just wafting into the mix as it were. Perhaps wafting in on a dollop of bird shit for all I know. I find these apples to be disturbing thank you very much!

  6. Larkspur

    Ooh, PhysioProf is right: no one would want my feet stomping no grapes, not with my never-ending runner’s toenail unpleasantness.

    Pinko – at first I read your cited crap to be “Belgian raspberry iambic crap” and I nearly screamed really high: “Oh no, even the poetry is contaminated?”

  7. norbizness

    I like those odds, especially as compared to a fiver worth of Jack-in-the-Box tacos.

  8. rootlesscosmo

    Sorry–hops, not oats.

  9. Orange

    I’m putting my trust in scientific filtering, and I’m hoping that I never have foot-stomped grape wine.

    I would be remiss not to mention the perils of amateur grape-stomping, which came to my notice via a viral video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMS0O3kknvk&feature=fvw). I see why those Portuguese were holding onto each other for dear, Speedo-clad life.

  10. BadKitty

    Regardless of whether or not the wine contains actual pubes, it was still lapping gently around sweaty ol’ ball sacks. This is not an image that will disappear from my mind any time soon. No one walks around in beer nude, do they? I can still drink beer?

  11. Pinko Punko

    Lark-

    I would say Catullus is definitely contaminated.

  12. Belle

    Ask Stingray for a list of wineries that use grape stompers. I’ll be rather selective in my wine selections until (and after) then.

  13. pheenobarbidoll

    This is going to be added to the reasons why I do not drink wine when my snobby wine drinking friends snobbily ask.

  14. Mare Island

    Sequence of events chez Mare: 1. Ooh! A new post by Jill! Refill the wine glass! 2. Read post. 3. Pteeeewph!

    Happily, it’s the next level up from box wine; I’m sure there’s no pubes.

    For a fun exercise, Google “allowable bug parts in food.” You’re welcome!

  15. Amelia (BarcodesAU)

    Thank you for this blog, I enjoy reading it (I have subscribed to it in google reader). I blame the patriarchy, too ;)

  16. Suzan

    I was just thinking that this type of story is why I always just order another glass of wine.

    And another.

    S

  17. Squiggy

    Pube hair is a step up from pee. Why wouldn’t the oppressed occasionally pee in there?

  18. maidden

    Being Brazilian, I could help with the Portuguese spelling, but I have no idea what you were trying to say with “peez ah pee”. Maybe “peez ah” was meant to be “pisa” which is the 2nd person imperative of “pisar” (to step, or to tread), but I haven’t a clue what the second “pee” was about.

    I could try a rough translation of the colorful sentence suggested before: “Por que não vai pisar uvas, seu miserável pisador de uvas!”

  19. yttik

    The world is a scary place, but considering that we eat things that come out of a chickens butt, I’m not convinced that wine is our biggest problem.

  20. OVERLADY

    C’mon, my Fellow Americans! Our bodies are COVERED with bacteria, inside and out. Everything is. Bacteria, molds, and viruses waft about in the air. Every fart you ever smelt was airborne Molecules of fecal matter. You get poop in your mouth, and yeasts, and germs of fatal diseases, everytime you go down on another person, everytime you kiss another person, everytime you BREATHE.Once we swabbed our throats and grew petri dishes of the germs found there. Many, including tuberculosis, diptheria, and of course Staph and Strep were found.

    I had a biology teacher who used to intone: “THIS IS LIFE IN THE BIOSPHERE PEOPLE! DEAL WITH IT!”

    It is bad form to react to these facts with anything less than elan.

  21. vinoveritas

    After a harvest or two, I would say this: After a few hours elbow-deep on the sorting line, the last thing on one’s mind is a nice glass of wine with dinner. There’s a reason that the saying goes “It takes a lot of beer to make wine.” As for stomping, we don’t do so much of that up here in the Pacific NW, so enjoy a glass of Oregon Pinot noir, guaranteed pube-free!

  22. Casey

    Considering what the water in those grapes has passed through during its many trips around the hydrologic cycle (e.g., dinosaurs, Superfund sites, Republicans), pubes seem like small potatoes.

  23. keshmeshi

    You know that alcohol is basically just yeast urine, right?

  24. Pinko Punko

    Yeast don’t have dongs or eat asparagus.

  25. Janna

    There’s a vineyard around here (Denver) where once a year or so they have children stomp grapes with their feet and I think they give the proceeds from it to charity. I know people who drank it and say good things about this “barefoot merlot” but I don’t think I could bring myself to drink it.

  26. Vinaigrette Girl

    Just got back from Sicily where we drank foot-stomped Nero d’Avola bought in a village named Water Tower from the local lady baker in 2-litre re-used (but washed) plastic water bottles. It’s nectar, unbelievably good wine, and the vat in whicg the grapes were stomped goes to just above the knees because the ladies won’t lift their skirts higher than that.

    So it’ll be just Portugese pubes then. Narrows the field somewhat.

  27. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    A certain amount of filth keeps your immune system in fighting trim.

    But I really coulda lived this day without the thought of sweaty, hairy ballsacs marinating in my future wine. Or the pee of the downtrodden.

  28. Skiramen

    To elaborate on OVERLADY’s point: most of life is slime. That is, by mass, the overwhelming bulk of biota that has ever lived, is living now, or will ever live, was, is, and ever shall be, single-celled goo. This knowledge comforts me.

  29. yttik

    We have some lovely home grown wines around here, nettle, dandelion, rhubarb. Light and lemony, sometimes dry with a hint of ginger to really warm you up. Wine is one of the safest things to get involved in making because you are basically just fermenting and letting nature do it’s job. If you mess it up, you get vinegar, which is probably healthier then wine in the first place. It’s very difficult to poison yourself like you might do with improper canning. You also don’t have the problem of exploding beer bottles, beer which can be somewhat volatile to deal with.

  30. dilly

    Twisty, you are hilarious. I thank fucking gawd for this blog. And I recommend the book Wild Fermentation.

  31. humanbein

    Can Stingray possibly get any cooler than she already is?

  32. givesgoodemail

    Beer is now apparently even more superior to wine. No one stomps on hops, malt, or barley.
    While there is the slightest possibility that a pube might be purposely placed into a batch of beer, I know few brewmasters that would react to such an heinous deed with anything less than instant evisceration of the perpetrator.

  33. Larkspur

    Okay, now this is gross, in a bizarre church-picnic way. Once, many moons ago, when my grandmother and great-ant (hold the “u”) Betty were visiting my ant and uncle (and me) out here in California (Great-Ant Betty having traveled here from Pennsylvania), we were treated to an account of the Cucumber Surprise for which my Great Ant was famous.

    Thank dog we were not treated to the Cucumber dish itself, just a description. She cheerfully described the tender loving care with which she peeled and diced the cucumbers, then salted the remains, let it sit for a while, then carefully, handful by handful, squeezed the excess water from the cucumber guts, transferring the squeezed stuff to a platter for further preparation.

    Very nice, so far. But here’s the part where you say, Great Ant Betty, please don’t ever invite me over for dinner, because at the end, she exclaimed with wonder, after the cucumbers were all squeezed, her hands were so smooth and pretty! Turns out cucumber juice is a great beauty aid.

    She didn’t get that feeding your exfoliated epidermis to the congregation is the first step on the road to the heartbreak of zombiehood.

  34. Zencomix

    If the grapestompers peed in the wine, it would turn the wine purple.

  35. Amanda

    So, yttik, I hate to break this astonishing news to you, but unless you’re eating chicken shit, you’re not eating anything that “come[s] out of a chicken’s butt.” I blame the patriarchy for jokes about how things come out of females’ butts.

  36. octopod

    Amanda, I regret to inform you that only placental mammals bother to make a distinction between the urethra, rectum, and reproductive tract. Instead, they — birds in particular — have a single opening called the cloaca. This, if you’ve ever kept chickens, is the reason why the eggs occasionally show up with dainty streaks of poo, and why there are definite washing directions for commercially-distributed eggs.

    (In fact, birds generally don’t bother with a penis either — only a few oddballs among the anseriform birds have that. Mostly they trade gametes using what is called a “cloacal kiss”.)

    Also: hey folks, don’t worry, pee is sterile!

  37. octopod

    Ooh, and on that note: diving turtles often BREATHE through their cloacas. That’s right — instead of reverting to their ancestral gilled state, they found it easier to develop a pair of gills in their butt in order to breathe from the water while diving.

    As to the wine, I’m with Overlady and Skiramen. Faith in one’s own microbiota, regular inoculation with tasty fermented products, and a fair amount of accidental dirt ingestion? No toe fungus has a chance.

  38. blondie

    Every fart you ever smelt was airborne Molecules of fecal matter.

    AaaHa! I thought so.

    Still. I’m not drinking Portuguese wine. And probably not cranberry juice either.

  39. Cranky Old Coot

    Back in them olden days,maybe THAT’S how they got the yeast in the first place.From between the toes of the stompers! And other locales depending on how deep the vats were and how klutzy the stompers might have been. Thanks. I haven’t laughed this much in weeks. I think I’ll go have a woo-woo (vodka, peach schnapps,and cranberry juice-oops,I just remembered the story about the reindeer.)

  40. simone

    I hate to break it to you. Not only might your wine have been gently lapping against some guys’ sweaty ball sacs, but your chocolate may have insect bits or rodent shit in it. Not only that, but, if you’re in the United States, the FDA is absolutely hunky dory with this state of affairs, unless, for example, there’s more than 60 insect fragments or one rodent hair per 100 grams of chocolate.

    Yum.

  41. Rikibeth

    Amanda, don’t chickens have cloacas? Chicken poop and chicken eggs BOTH come out of a chicken’s butt.

    As for pubes in wine and stompers in Speedos — I read recently, in a discussion of the infamous burkini that the French, at least, consider Speedos more hygienic than other swimsuits, with the idea that loose shorts could harbor bacteria and let stray pubes go floating around. Maybe the stompers ought to wear bike shorts, just in case their pubes extend beyond the bounds of a Speedo.

  42. katrina

    Due to the extensive use of the phrase “a travesty of justice”, people have come to believe that “travesty” means “anything that provokes outrage”. In fact, a travesty is a grotesque imitation of something else.

    Disinterested means impartial. It doesn’t mean uninterested. I don’t know if the noun “disinterest” exists, but if it does, it means impartiality, not lack of interest.

    I’m well aware that this comment makes me look like a pedantic bore. That’s because I am one. You, on the other hand, Jill, are a scintillatingly witty writer who lights up my life, and it hurts me to see you making the same mistakes that lesser mortals do.

  43. rubysecret

    Still, I would have dropped trou, donned the speedo, jumped into the vat and hugged a fellow stomper just for the giggle. You only live once.

  44. goblinbee

    “Amanda, don’t chickens have cloacas? Chicken poop and chicken eggs BOTH come out of a chicken’s butt.” (Rikibeth)

    So true! The reproductive and excretory systems start out separately, but they empty into a common area: the cloaca. And everything comes out the vent. However, the passage to the digestive system gets closed down while an egg is coming through. The eggs my chickens lay come out very clean, but get soiled by feces or mud if they walk on them. Which they do, since they all like to lay in the same spot.

  45. mavro

    Does the fact that “pheenobarbidoll” doesn’t drink wine constitute a travesty?

  46. Jill

    “it hurts me to see you making the same mistakes that lesser mortals do.”

    I can sympathize with your pain, and will endeavor to kick it up a notch with the OED cross-checking. These are things that need to be said!

    Although I’m giving myself a pass on “disinterested,” since your definition describes precisely Stingray’s attitude toward grape stomping.

  47. Hedgepig

    Not for the first time, IBTP has thrown up a topic that has been on my mind of late. I only recently discovered that chickens poo and lay eggs out the same orifice, and for some time now I’ve not been able to look at my delightful pair of Light Sussex Bantams quite the same way. Having this sensitive subject discussed openly here has helped me come to terms with this information. Thankyou all. Also, it’s made me wonder if ‘cloaca’ is the word from which the slang expression ‘clacker’ is derived. And I’ve never known if ‘clacker’ is supposed to refer to the vagina or the rectum, so now I can confidently utilise it when referring to either.

  48. Josquin

    I was always troubled by the word “cloaca” even though I didn’t know what it meant. Now that I know what it means, I’m even more troubled.
    Dang. Is there ANYTHING that we eat that doesn’t come in contact with poo? Vegetables get it from proximity to cow fields. Every cat in the neighborhood probably poos in my backyard vegetable garden. All meat gets it apparently from bad butchering practices. It’s just poo, poo, poo, twenty-four-seven. (Yes, I know I’m taking a chance by writing “twenty-four-seven”)

  49. Craroline

    i will lose sleep over this, probably. pubes!

  50. Chai Latte

    I totally just had a flashback to the TV show “Monk”

    “Oh God, it’s foot wine! FOOT WINE!”

  51. Pinko Punko

    We used this abbreviation back in the infant days of the internet, oh years ago: STAGMC. Slimier Than A Gila Monster’s Cloaca. It seems appropriate for the gross-out one-upspersonship in this dealio.

  52. goblinbee

    Fair Needs Foul (Fowl)!, a poem:

    A chicken can be proud and stiff
    When on laying intent;
    And eggs have pitched their mansion in
    The place of excrement;
    For nothing can be sole or whole
    That has not been rent.

    (much obliged to William Butler Yeats)

  53. rootlesscosmo

    @goblinbee: that’s brilliant–many thanks. The effort to imagine eggs pitching a mansion–pitching anything, actually–has given my antique brain a much-needed workout.

  54. stingray

    I must admit the interest in traditional wine making methods by IBTP is surprising, but welcomed.
    To clarify a point, the wines that get the personal foot treading touch are those of the highest quality. These are generally premium, small production wines without chemical additives that many mass-produced wines would contain. The treaders, as anyone that takes part in the wine making process, are very proud of the wines they help produce, and spend much of the time partaking of those wines while working.
    The Douro River Valley is one of few regions to still produce wine by the same methods as a thousand years ago. The added time and expense of human treading holds little interest for the venture capitalists and large corporations that are gradually coming to control the industry.
    I seek out small-production wines like these, both to help make and consume. It’s like buying organic produce directly from the farmer or getting bread from a small baker. Why we are more comfortable to consume overly-processed foods never touched by humans is a mystery.
    The quality is incomparable, and the fact that someone’s hands, as well as feet are part of the process is for me a selling point.

  55. Unree

    There’s no shelter anywhere, according to W.C. Fields: “I don’t drink water. Fish fuck in it.”

  56. goblinbee

    Rootlesscosmo, alas, any brilliance is Yeats’. I just tweaked a few words.

  57. CLD

    The occasional hairball I expel explains the amount of wine I drink; at least now it does. Also, eating cranberries and/or drinking their juice allows you to take flight on Christmas Eve — everyone knows reindeer poop is magic!

  58. rubysecret

    New blog tags: foot stomping, various and sundry cloaca, altered Yeats, reindeer poo, drunk on pubes

  59. Liza

    I almost hesitate to mention this, but this whole thread reminds me of the ninth grade students I used to teach who, after learning about the water cycle, cried, as if with one voice: “You mean the water we drink might have once been pee?!” The answer, of course, is yes.

  60. rootlesscosmo

    @goblinbee: but brilliantly tweaked. The substitution of “eggs” for “Love” is inspired. In fact it suggests a whole new parlor game:

    “Ah, eggs, let us be true to one another,” etc.

  61. Annie May

    I got to Overlady’s post and pushed on to the bit that elaborated on Overlady’s post, skipped down to the fecal farts and have decided I’m not reading the rest; ignorance is bliss in this case.

  62. Carolyn in Baltimore

    Oh dear. I’m glad I have met my cronehood because otherwise I would be worrying about getting knocked up by portuguese wine. I mean if pubes and pee get in it what’s to stop a few million hardy sperms?
    Condoms for male grapestompers is the ticket.

  63. yttik

    Ha! I suppose one really could get knocked up from drinking Portuguese wine. Although this being a science blog and all, we should probably point out that serving it slightly warm and drinking it alone should render it safe.

  64. Jill

    I suppose one really could get knocked up from drinking Portuguese wine. “

    You’d have to drink it with an orifice not traditionally used for drinking, though. Unless Miss Smith in 7th grade sex ed was pulling my leg.

  65. nails

    I guess it is pretty easy to get alcohol poisoning if alcohol is consumed via enema. Vomiting is obviously impossible after over consuming, and the booze floods into the bloodstream really fast. I remembered this story:

    http://www.seattlepi.com/national/210573_sherry03ww.html

    “HOUSTON — Investigators say a woman caused her husband’s death by giving him a sherry enema, leading to alcohol poisoning.

    The enema caused his blood alcohol level to soar to 0.47 percent — almost six times the legal intoxication limit in Texas, a toxicology report showed.”

  66. Squiggy

    Small wine suppositories: quickest high.

  67. Larkspur

    Stingray, I like it that they “…spend much of the time partaking of those wines while working….“, and if this talk of orifici continues, I will declare myself to be on the job, and I will start pouring. Thanks for the info, too.

  68. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    How on earth did we get from wine production to butt-drugging?

    The Commentariat Brigade forever!

  69. Ron Sullivan

    Well hello Stingray!

    Got any recommendations? The Spanish Table here in Berkeley (and Seattle, Mill Valley, and someplace else) carries Portuguese wines and I suppose there’s a bare chance that one of your faves might reach us.

    Ditto Spanish, of course, and/or any others including Californians.

  70. nails

    wine production-> pubes in wine-> sperm could get in wine -> wine gets someone pregnified -> wine in a non traditional orifice -> wine enema causes death

    ADD doesn’t usually happen on a group level. I’m happy to do my part though.

  71. vinoveritas

    She had to pick Sherry? Shudder.

  72. Nepenthe

    For the record, cranberries are relatively safe. They grow in swamps way too far south for reindeer. Deer feces are usually smaller than cranberries and sink in water. They should only have the feces in irrigation problem that all other food crops seem to have.

    I hail from Wisconsin, producer of most of the world’s cranberries.

  73. Frumious B.

    Why we are more comfortable to consume overly-processed foods never touched by humans is a mystery.

    Lack of hand contact tends to correlate with lack of pube contact. Anyway, that’s what does it for me.

  74. copykatparis

    Laughing so much I just might expel wine through my nose.

    And Spanish wine: try a red Atalaya (sorry I don’t have any more info than that, ‘cept it was daaaaaaamn good). 15% alcohol, dark as a day in the P but a thousand times more fun. (restraining self from saying “liberating”… gggnnnngggg….)

  75. copykatparis

    aiiiiieeeeeeee the ellipses attacked me and wriggled their way into previous comment! Apologies, apologies…

    And yes, bacteria *does* make you hardier. Raw milk products, unadulterated wine, true yoghurt, and other good rel stuff that’s not so easy to find stateside. Whenever Americans first come here to Europe, seems like they’re a bit queasy for a day or two, then their lonely bacteria says “At last! We have friends from Outside joining us in this here body!”

  76. stingray

    Some of my favorites from Portugal:

    Esporao (region-Alentejo),
    Monte Velho (Alentejo),
    Quinta do Alqueve (Ribatejo),
    Animus (Douro),
    Altano, Symington Family Estates (Douro),
    Quinta de la Rosa (Douro),
    Lavradores de Faitoria (Douro)

    All of these bottles are below $15. and are of excellent quality.
    Good luck, and if all else fails, just look for any wine with “Douro” on the label- your local wine shop will be the best bet.

  77. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Thanks for the recommendations. The thought of spending the upcoming holidays with my relatives is sending me to my local wine shop in search of solace.

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