Feast of Seven Fishes: Eat Fish. Drink Wine. Be Merry!

Well, you thought it would never get here, but here it is! It's already Christmas Eve-weekend and we are in full hustle and bustle mode around the shop. We know you're busy planning your family gathering; getting all the food, presents, that last minute gift for Cousin Eddy (Hint: he likes wine), so we will keep this short and sweet.

Each year it's a shop tradition, as well as a bit of a North End neighborhood tradition, to celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, known as La Vigilia. In Italy, especially the south, the tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the medieval Catholic tradition of abstinence. Meat, butter and other milk products were not allowed on Fridays or other Holy Days.  Instead fish, typically fried in oil would be served. This tradition has evolved and now the lush feast seems a far cry from any sort of abstinence!  While the exact dishes vary from family to family, there are always some seven combinations of anchovies, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels, oysters, and clams.

Every year we seek out a delightful lineup of fish (and feast) friendly wines that will go great with your holiday spread. Whether your family celebrates the season with fish or not these wines are sure to please. We wish all of our customer-friends a very Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season! We hope to see you tonight for one of our favorite tastings of the year.


Caneva da Nani, El Vin Col Fondo (prosecco) Veneto $18

Nothing is more fun to drink then this lively, bottle fermented, cloudy farmhouse style prosecco made by the Canelli family in the tiny town of Guia.  When Massimo and his family get together for a Sunday lunch you never know who's gonna turn up, but one thing's for sure many bottles of this bubbly are gonna get crushed.  We're really picky about prosecco and this tops the charts.  Open. Decant. Guzzle. Repeat.

Marco Sara, Erre Gialla (ribolla), Colli Orientali, Friuli $25

Young, visionary winemaker Marco Sara is a third generation farmer-winemaker in the central mountains of Fruili.  With just over 3.5 hectares of land Marco crafts elegant, pure and natural wines from the region's most particular grapes.  Here we have his ribolla gialla, called 'erre gialla' in local dialect.  1100 bottles made in 2013, they are all delicious. Pristine, pure and understated, just like the winemaker himself.

Nuo, Vermentino di Sardegna $18

We're really excited to feature this new discovery from Sardegna, which remains a place with a lot of disparity between the industrial/conventional winemaking and the very very few small scale artisans.  Finding the in-between is really tough but we think we have a real winner here.  Beautiful golden/amber color from a touch a skin contact, this vermentino has a salty edge but a soft core that's easy and interesting all at the same time.

Lamoresca Bianco, San Michele di Garanzia, Sicily $40

The 2013 vintage of Filippo's wines are across the board his most successful.  A combination of ideal growing conditions, well managed and well times harvesting and of course his ever rigorous natural approach to the wine making.  While the Lamo-Bianco, as it has become called, is generally the smallest production wine in the cellar and thus has a cult following this vintage perhaps outshines all the rest.  Vivid aromas, deep texture and a softer finish make this a special wine indeed.  This is Vermentino don't forget, so it will be fun to taste it along with the Nuo vermentino above. Don't miss this one though...it's reason enough to come to the tasting by itself.

Vini Rabasco, Contrada Cancelli, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo $25

You know who else had a breakthrough vintage in 2013?  Iole Rabasco.  She knocked it out of the park.  Across the range of her wines they each show the importance of place, the power of a humble grape like montepulciano and the clarity that natural, zero-sulfur winemaking can bring to the table. This wine is what I would call 'succo puro'...pure juice. You're gonna need a few bottles.

Lamoresca, Mascalisi (Etna), Sicily $45

As I said above, Filippo's 2013's are off the charts.  This is version 2.0 of the now beloved Mascalisi cuvee from Lamoresca.  If you came by and tasted the 2013's with Frank Cornelissen you know by now that Etna had a great year and this Nerello Mascalese (with a dash of frappato) is amongst the best of them.  Deep and muscular like a fresh nebbiolo yet the ever present spice tones of volcanic wine shine through.  Can you tell we love this wine?  I mean we LOVE it.

Hauner, Malvasia delle Lipari, Isole Eolie $25

Carlo Hauner was a legendary and prolific wine maker on some of the most remote tiny islands of the Mediterranean.  Lipari is part of the chain of volcanic islands that form the archipelago of the Aeolian just off the north coast of Sicily.  This is a place where Odysseus surely would have eaten some amazing fish, all while battling a Cyclops. You can taste the ancient, exotic history in this wine.  The grapes are late harvested, drying in the late summer sun before being pressed and aged.  Sweet like nectar yet refreshing like mineral water.  The perfect way to end any feast!

Comments on this post (1 comment)

  • Vishwaka says...

    Nice post and great pic! The only thing is …. That’s not a well of Parmesan but a wheel of pecorino, much smalelr and light to carry up and down

    On December 28, 2015

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