Octopus & Wine 02-10-13By
One of my favorite sea critters to eat is octopus. It has good flavor & such an unusual character, which I much prefer to squid.
Octopus Terrine (red wine & Port) with eggplant caponata & Nalo Farms baby arugula
So, the question is, what kind of wine should we serve?
Salina is an Island which lies somewhere between Sicily & the southern tip of Italy. The grape varieties used to produce this “quietly” exotic/aromatic white wine is Insolia & Cataratto (although I strongly believe there is some Malvasia blended in too). I can also smell the wild shrub & baked rocks which must surround the vineyard. It is certainly part of the terroir. This wine is dry, wonderfully perfumed, light to medium bodied with a crisp, lemon-lime edge to it, which makes it ideal for this dish. The only thing I would do different the next time is to add something more to the dish, like a small side of chunked tomatoes tossed with olive oil & garlic, salt, pepper & a tiny bit of basil chiffonade. It would make the pairing more in tune, especially in the finish.
2011 Villa Sparina Gavi
The grape variety is Cortese….which in this case is grown on the rolling hills of southwest Piemonte as you head down towards Liguria. The calcareous-clay soils create a remarkable minerality/ ethereal-ness in the wine, as well as an amazing lightness & crispness on the palate which works very well with seafood dishes….in this case the octopus. ( It actually acts like a squeeze of lemon would….& heightens the food!) To make this pairng better the next time, I would drizzle some roasted garlic olive oil & sprinkle some fresh herb confetti (basil, thyme & Italian parsley).
“I want to prove to the world that Gavi is a serious white wine… fresh, precise, and beautiful.” Stefano Moccagatta, owner
2011 Domaine de la Cadette Bourgogne Blanc”Vezelay”
My wife, Cheryle, rarely asks me for anything. When she first tasted this light, ethereal, minerally, airy 2011, she had NO problem asking if we could get some for home use. Vezelay is up in the Chablis area in northern part of Burgundy, where it is cooler than even Chablis normally is. Yes, there are pockets of limestone & marine fossiled soils, but there are also lots of different clays–from blue/gray to red. I don’t think I mentioned Chardonnay yet….but this is 100% Chardonnay….although I believe most wine drinkers would never guess it as such. WHY? Because this wine is really about the soil…..one can smell it….taste it…..pure transparent, riveting…..AND the 2011 is delicious, mesmerizing & incredibly food friendly…..especially with seafood. To make this a better pairing, the next time, I would toss the octopus in a little bit of beurre blanc & garnish with finely diced onion chives.