Archive for October 2013

Ouzo 101

October 29, 2013

ouzo boutari

Like Feta cheese, Greek salad and stuffed grape leaves, Ouzo is a Greek export that almost anyone associates exclusively and immediately with its home country.

So many good things in the culinary world were created by monks and Ouzo is classic example of this. Its ancestor was a spirit called tsipouro which is said to have been created in the 14th by a group of monks from Mount Athos. It was distilled from grape pomace and later was flavored with anise. It eventually became known as Ouzo.

The highest quality Ouzos are designated as being “100 percent from distillation,” meaning that the flavoring agents (anise seed and sometimes other spices) are present during the distillation, as opposed to being mixed with ready-made brandy. The flavored distillate, or ouzo yeast, as it is called, is then mixed with water to bring it to its final average alcohol content of 40-50 percent. The center of Ouzo production is Lesbos, which is where many of the best ones are made.

Almost anywhere in Greece one can find an ouzerie. Similar to a cafe, an ouzerie serves mezedes (appetizers) that are made to accompany Ouzo. The drink is served deeply chilled over ice and mixed with water, then sipped slowly with food. It is not traditional to drink Ouzo as a shot or on an empty stomach.

In the 19th century, silkworm cocoons from Tyrnavos heading to France were stamped with the Italian phrase uso marsiglia, meaning that they were destined for Marseille. Since Tyrnavos was known for its high-quality silk, the term uso marsiglia came to be used as a designation of higher quality in general. Anise-flavored tsipouro was thought be of higher quality and therefore was deemed uso marsiglia, or ouzo. Some believe, however, that ouzo comes from the Turkish word for grape, üzüm.

Ouzo in the bottle is clear, but when served properly, it turns milky white. This is because anethole, the essential oil of anise, is insoluble in water. The changing nature of ouzo must have seemed like magic to those who enjoyed it in centuries past. Today, with a sunset and a beautiful plate of fresh mezedes, a cold glass of ouzo is its own kind of magic.

@WineAndSpirits 93 points Boutari Naoussa 2008 Reserve

October 23, 2013

wine and spirits magazine

Here’s what the editors of Wine & Spirits have to say about the 2008 Naoussa Reserve, one of their “100 Best Wines of the Year.”

“93 Points. Year in and year out, Boutari’s Grande Reserve sets the mark for Naoussa in a traditional style. The 2008 excels in a vintage memorable for a summer of drought and heat spikes. The wine is moderate in its fruitiness, balance more toward fresh mushroom than cherry. The earthy and herbal notes give it a complexity that’s riveting for minutes after each sip; the tannins are firm but fine, giving the wine a gauzy finesse.”

@TQThomas profiles Boutari in @WineandSpirits Buying Guide

October 8, 2013

“This is the seventh year in a row Boutari has earned Winery of the Year honors, and the 17th time overall,” writes leading wine writer and Greek wine expert Tara Thomas in the 27th annual Wine and Spirits buying guide.

“It’s an impressive showing for any winery, but perhaps particularly impressive in Greece. When we launched these awards in the 1980s, the Greek wine revolution was just beginning; the country was largely producing a sea of plonk. The scenario on Santorini — an island famed for its wine even in antiquity — was dire, with vineyards being dug up daily to make way for hotels…”

Click here to continue reading…

wine spirits buying guide

Moschofilero on the Today Show!

October 2, 2013

today show wine food

Please click here to watch U.S. wine expert Leslie Sbrocco present Boutari Moschofilero on the Today Show (NBC) last week.

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