While this recipe calls for Spanish octopus (where it is caught), its preparation using wine to tenderize the tentacles is an Italian specialty called drunken octopus. This typical Tuscan recipe has few but important ingredients. Choose a young drinkable wine such as an inexpensive chianti for cooking and a mineral-rich Sancerre with a crisp, citrusy complement to drink while eating the succulent octopus.
Our favorite pairing is the 90+ Cellars Sancerre Lot 126, a small-production, balanced and crisp Sancerre from the Loire Valley. Its delicate perfume of white flowers, hints of citrus, and flint give way to a silken texture and grapefruit-laced finish that creates a delightful liquid companion for the octopus. In this recipe, fresh or frozen octopus works. Frozen octopus has the benefit of already being cleaned, is easy to find, and the freezing process actually tenderizes the octopus. Magically-flavored texture bombs, crispy and briny capers, add dimension to this simple dish. A hint of sweet onion and parsley provide roundness and sharpness that culminates in a small plate that, with a stellar wine pairing, makes a meal as worthy of a romantic dinner for two as it is to serve as a course during a celebratory meal.