Twelve Nightcaps Before Christmas – The Re(night)cap with Afterword

The nightcaps we posted are good all year long

With any of these you will never go wrong

In case you missed one we’ve reposted them here

With one afterword, coming sometime next year…

imageEpilogue: Oktopusake Premium Junmai Sake, Connecticut

On the rare occasions I’m not drinking wine with sushi, I opt for sake instead. Sake is a perfect pairing with sushi and, since it is a rice wine, I can still call it research. I was very excited to learn that there is a local company working on perfecting their own sake. Oktopusake will soon be offering three varieties of their premium junmai sake to Connecticut consumers: Sun – a traditional dry sake; Moon – an unfiltered version (think milky white and slightly sweet); and Stars – a specialty reserve sake that will be as black as squid ink because it will be tinted with, well…squid ink! We will keep you posted on Oktopusake’s progress and are very much looking forward to seeing this new local product in Connecticut stores and restaurants in 2014.



Re(night)cap: One of the questions I encounter the most as a wine educator is “What’s your favorite wine?” I confess, it’s a question I’ve come to dread because I always feel like I’m disappointing the inquisitor. My answer usually goes something like this: “I don’t really have a favorite. It depends on the day, the time of year, the company in which I find myself, and any gustatory delights with which I may be pairing the wine.”  If really pushed, I’ll tell them that I am a Champagne girl. This seems to provide them with a little more satisfaction. But the truth is my favorite wine changes on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis. And I am always waiting to find my next favorite wine. The beauty of the wine world is that there is always more to explore. So, here I will present a list of my 12 favorite wines right now for drinking and gifting during the holidays, one day at a time for the next 12 days.

A Votre Santé!

For the full list of 12 nightcaps, click here: Nightcap Recap






Twelve Nightcaps Before Christmas – The 8th Nightcap

NAOUSSANightcap #8: Boutari Naoussa 2007, Macedonia, Greece $16

Wines from Greece were not taken very seriously until the last 25 years or so during which there has been a concerted effort on the part of Greek winemakers to produce better quality wines (probably fueled by Greece's entrance into the European Union in 1981). And, let's face it, the country's most famous wine, Retsina, made by adding pine resin to wine, did not do much to elevate their standing in the minds of wine drinkers. But Greece is now giving us wines that merit our attention. This beautiful region with its Mediterranean climate is home to hundreds of indigenous grapes and, although almost all of them are near impossible to pronounce, it is definitely worth the effort to learn how to say at least a few of these Greek names.

One of my favorite Greek grapes is xynomavro (pronounced ksee-NOH-mah-vro). A dark-skinned red grape with high levels of both tannin and acids, xynomavro produces robust red wines. Xynomavro hails from Macedonia, and some of the best red wines in Greece are considered to come from Macedonia's subregion, Naoussa. Boutari Naoussa, made from 100% xynomavro, was the first bottled wine available in Greece in 1879 and continues to be one of Greece's treasures. It is rich and smooth with pomegranate and ripe berry flavors, and tomato notes. As with all great treasures, these wines won't be kept secret for long because, even if the names are Greek to wine drinkers, we still recognize a good thing when we taste it.