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Pairings from Tastings

Pairings from South Florida
by Amanda McDougall
January 2008

After tasting our way around South Floridaís top restaurants, four wine pairings stood out from the rest. Whether it was for their off-the-beaten path direction, wine-making heritage, or down-right harmony with the food, each of these Top Pairs deserves a spotlight.

501 East Camino Real
Boca Raton, FL 33432
(561) 447-3222

Sommelier Roberto Colombi is a bit of a wine boy-wonder. He grew up in Italy where wine was a constant topic of conversation in the family, and his uncle, also a sommelier, started taking him to wine fairs at the age of 13. Just over a decade later, he’s focusing on educating Cielo customers about "how to drink and enjoy wine in a better way."


Albertus, H. Lun, Gewurztraminer, Alto Adige, 2006

Price per Bottle

 Foie Gras Torchon with Quince Puree and Pumpernickel Wafer

Pairing Notes

What a joy! What was most delightful about this pairing is that it wasn’t the usual heavy, honey-sweet Sauterne typically paired with foie gras. This wine has a nice acidity that cuts through the foie’s richness. It was light and refreshing.

Mandarin Oriental
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 913-8288

Sommelier Cynthia Betancourt started her career in the restaurant business on the culinary side, but soon found her calling in wine. Since joining Azul in 2007, she has been adding to the restaurant’s collection of over 700 wines and is working toward becoming a Master Sommelier.


Adrianna Vineyard, Catena Zapata, Malbec, Mendoza, 2004

Price per Bottle

Estimated $297 (this wine is not yet distributed in the US)

Yogurt Marinated Swordfish and Brown Butter Lobster Sauce with Toasted Pita and Tomato Salad
Pairing Notes

Soft in tannins and overall flavor, this malbec doesn’t overwhelm the marinated swordfish. The wine is made by a woman and Betancourt believes that a woman’s touch is reflected in the wine. We agreed. The creaminess of the yogurt and buttery lobster sauce are well-matched with the supple body of the wine, while the fruit characteristics compliment the tomatoes.

The Oceanaire Seafood Room
900 South Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33130
(305) 372-8862

Originally from Puerto Rico, Sommelier Jorge Morgado has traveled the world and developed an excellent palate. His pairings with the often complicated and spicy flavor profiles from Chef Bernal’s kitchen are a testament to his talent.


Aquilon, Alto Moncayo, Garnacha, Camp de Borja, 2005

Price per Bottle



Monkfish Osso Buco-Style with Chanterelles and Lemon Thyme

Pairing Notes

This wine’s big, bold, and chewy profile stands up to Chef Sean Bernal’s rich and flavorful monkfish osso buco. The wine’s heat and dark berry flavor compliment the red wine demi glace and mushrooms in the dish.

Emeril's Miami Beach
Loews Miami Beach Hotel
1601 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 695-4550

Self-taught and eager to learn everything there is about wine, Sommelier David Mokha made the jump from a small independent restaurant to a multi-unit operation to do just that. His strengths lie in his unusual but wonderful pairings and his easy-going explanations for those matches.


Grosjean, Gamay, Valle d’Aosta, 2005

Price per Bottle

$19.99 retail

New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp with a Petite Rosemary Biscuit
Pairing Notes

Pairing a northern Italian wine with Lagasse’s rich and aggressively-seasoned barbeque shrimp is thinking outside of the box. And that’s the challenge here—kicking it up a notch (ouch!). The cola and plum flavors played off the spicy and salty components of the dish, while the subtle earthiness complements the dark roux sauce.




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