It Takes Two to Tango the Amara Beverage Book — Part II: Wine

“Because at the end of the night, she says ‘Champagne?'”

It’s happy hour at Michael’s Genuine® a few weeks back, and Amara’s Sommelier Amanda Fraga has placed one of her favorite sparkling wines, Roederer Estate, in front of colleague Maria Pottage.

Flute-free Zone: Fraga holding court if only for a Happy Hour at her old stomping grounds, Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink.

“People say Champagne all day, but let’s be honest, it’s going to get expensive when you’re the one paying for it!,” she jokes.  “It’s tough to have a favorite, because it’s like talking about kids, but this is one of my favorite sparkling wines. Roederer does an amazing job, and I can afford to have multiple bottles.  It may not be French, but it’s Champagne method, not bubble injections.”

We’re continuing our deep dive into the Amara Beverage Book, having transitioned from cocktails to something even more festive with Fraga as our guide.  She sees every glass of wine like traveling and visiting a new place.   When your new place is a new restaurant with a new menu, the journeys are endless in building a wine list.  The process of discovery is winding, sometimes hidden from view.

“Because of Amara’s cuisine, I felt slightly out of my comfort zone,” Fraga explains. “The culinary team was going to Buenos Aires for their research trip, and I’m thinking, this is one if the countries I drank the least of!”

Sommelier Amanda Fraga with her rosé, which happens to be ON-TAP (!)

It was at this point that she remembered who she worked for.  The Genuine Hospitality Group wasn’t an ordinary restaurant group with a literal approach. There was room for interpretation.  Sure there would be Malbec…  There had to be and should be, but not 30, with some Cabs to round it out.

“I feel like everyone thinks Latin American wines are only from Chile and Argentina,” she continues. “The idea was to have the coolest wines from Latin America at large and to not forget our roots of fresh and genuine. There is so much diversity in what’s growing and being produced from South to Central America. You have more familiar grapes like Pinot Noir, Albarino and Tempranillo, juxtaposed with Tennat, Listan Negro (the mission grape) and el Pais. It’s the perfect storm.”

Fraga’s passion for education comes from a visceral place, stemming from a drive to expand her own wine knowledge through experience, travel being one of the most salient — a potent source for inspiration that sticks.  As she sees, relating those experiences to her staff is one of her most important jobs in training — the story behind the bottle that leaves an impression.  Her innovative approach to training is predicated on a consistent curriculum and engaging the staff through “Wine Wednesday” trainings on various topics including the importance of backstory and context in wine not just the taste profiles.  They’re catalogued, little nuggets of wine knowledge framed by a narrative on who made the wine and where it came from, on the restaurant’s Instagram at #amarabeveragebook.  It’s something she developed as sommelier of Michael’s Genuine & Beverage Manager for The Genuine Hospitality Group, a useful tool grounding her training process.

Traditional, funky Prosecco, the first Wine Wednesday post at Amara. She explains, “Delicate. nice acid. good fruit. It’s not the Prosecco you know but if you’re a lover of Italy and have an open mind and heart you’re going to love it.”

Balanced with her knowledge of what our guests enjoy drinking guiding balanced by a compass pointing south, the list netted out 35% Latin America, which although not a majority is a focus on which to build, and more than Fraga has ever worked with before.  In 2015 she participated in a competition among Miami sommeliers to build the best wine bar, counter tops and all, hosted by Wines of Chile.  Although Amara was a faint glimmer in her glass and Director of Licensing Operations Eric Larkee’s team poured victorious, she reflects now on this intensive, apt primer that opened her eyes to what was out there.

“I realized the incredible variation even Chile has in itself,” she continues. “Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Malbec , Pinot Noir… There’s so much and the great thing now even three years later is that there is much more being imported in the US.”

It’s at this point I realize something, too.  I’m actually enjoying the Verdejo she’s chosen for me, and this is exactly the point.  The only way you truly know something and understand it is through exposure.  Repeated exposure to new things, even when you think they’re the old thing.  The old thing can surprise you.

“I never had it before [Michael’s Genuine® sommelier] Dean put it on the list,” she recounts.  “I kind of wanted to give you something fun and different, and I feel like you appreciate these things. It’s fun to smell a wine and not automatically be able to guess it but know that it sure does remind you of something.  You try to point to where you had it before.  So we are playing this game now… I know you wanted something white and now we have something that piqued your interest, and curiosity, too.”

For herself, Amanda is settling into the Jean Claude Boisset
, a sparkling rosé from Burgundy Dean has had by the glass for about a month now that she’s wanted to try.  She wanted something light and refreshing and had given Maria the Roederer already.

“I’m pretty sure it’s Chardonnay-Pinot Noir…” she thinks out loud.  Familiar yet at the same time foreign.  Herein lies the balance that creates the magnetism of intrigue, stirring curiosity just enough.  The game continues.

Preshift on Biscayne Bay, the place where it all comes together.

Pound Your Fall Favorite | Stone Crab Week at Michael’s Genuine®

Boo!

Boo!

Don’t be spooked by these treats!  Genuine’s about to up its black and orange game, and it all begins on Halloween Day.  We are living large to celebrate one of this season’s most anticipated local ingredients. From Monday 10/31 – Sunday 11/6, guests who order one pound of large stone crabs, can choose any bottle of wine on our list for the table at half off, available at lunch, afternoon, dinner and brunch.  All bottles are game, all week long! Pop in and join us on a Design District stroll or reserve in advance here.  From sparkling to red and all the rosé in between, beverage manager Amanda Fraga and I will be tasting through a few gems on Facebook Live beginning at 4:30pm Monday.  Join our crab party and see who shows up in costume.  Tune into the Miami Design District’s page to join us!

Break Cornbread with Chef Bradley Herron’s Menu at Harry’s First Rosé BBQ Night

Rosé BBQ Night_Menu

Tuesday’s menu by chef de cuisine Bradley Herron.

14867168290_f4e933381e_kA week from today it’ll be time to roll out the smoker again for Harry’s first Rosé BBQ Night, and we’re breaking out the rosé for the occasion.  And the menu ready for us to salivate over.

Harry’s Pizzeria is so excited to welcome back The Genuine Hospitality Group Executive Chef Bradley Herron,  this time to pop a rosé barbecue dinner at Michael’s neighborhood American pizzeria. This is the wine we like to drink; it always occupies a special place at the Schwartz table and summertime is no exception. Tickets are $79 and include it all — the stationed menu above, all you care to drink rosé and draught beer, tax and gratuity.  It all gets started Tuesday, August 23 at 6:30 p.m. at our location in the Miami Design District (3918 North Miami Avenue, Miami, 33127) and will be going until close that night.  Purchase tickets to join us HERE!

HP Rose BBQ Blast smoker header

August of Genuine Events: Announcing Harry’s First Rosé BBQ in the Design District & More!

It’s been a very busy summer, and we’re not letting up!  With Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz poised to open in the fall at SLS Brickell, Michael’s newest concept is making the rounds in Genuineland where it’s been welcomed with open arms… and mouths!  Our second taste of Chef’s simple, honest approach to Italian food wrapped with a packed house at Harry’s Pizzeria last night, so we are pleased to share our next events in the hopper for August that spread the love.  It’s going to be a tasty month!

17715500600_c64658a872_kHarry’s BBQ Night: Rosé Edition Tuesday, August 23 from 6:30 p.m. — Harry’s Pizzeria, 3918 North Miami Avenue, Miami (Design District), 33127  TICKETS HERE

It’s time to roll out the smoker again, and we’re breaking out the rosé for the occasion.  Harry’s Pizzeria is so excited to welcome back The Genuine Hospitality Group Executive Chef Bradley Herron to pop a rosé barbecue dinner at Michael’s neighborhood American pizzeria.  This is the wine we like to drink; it always occupies a special place at the Schwartz table and summertime is no exception.  Here we’ll drink pink three ways, including a sparkling.  Harry’s loves beer too, so its four taps will feature refreshing summer beer styles for the week of the event.  Tickets are $79 and include it all — a stationed menu, all you care to drink rosé and draught beer, tax and gratuity.  You’ll grab a pizza tray and make the rounds to build your BBQ meal visiting the Smoker, Wood Oven, and Counter.  There will be plenty of Sides and Veggies too, and of course Dessert!  Stay tuned for Brad’s menu. All sales are final, seating is communal, and we’ll be open all night long.

IMG_6251Fi’lia Spices Up MGFD | Monday, August 29 to Sunday, September 4 from 5:30 p.m.  Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, 130 NE 40th Street, Miami (Design District) 33137, 305.573.5550

We’ve seen tremendous response from everyone this summer to our embrace of Fi’lia at our restaurants, so with Cypress Tavern and Harry’s Pizzeria events under our belts, it’s time to move the party to Michael’s flagship!  With so much excitement around Miami Spice, especially at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, we thought it would be fun for Fi’lia take over our Spice dinner menu for a week!  Beginning Monday, August 29 until Sunday September 4, guests joining us from 5:30 p.m. can choose from a 3-course prix fixe dinner for $39 exclusive of tax and gratuity featuring Fi’lia inspired-dishes.  The special menu will also be available Friday and Saturday nights, even though we don’t typically offer Miami Spice during those dinner services.  MGFD’s regular dinner menu will also be available all evenings.

FBB-logo-v3-stackedREDHarry’s Flight Night Welcomes Funky Buddha Brewery | Tuesday, August 30 from 6 p.m. —Harry’s Pizzeria, 3918 North Miami Avenue, Miami (Design District), 33127, 786.275.4963

Flight Night is getting funktified! After a lot of fun with J. Wakefield, Harry’s is getting its community brew on again with a Flight Combo, special menu items from Harry’s for the night, and taps (and more!) from Oakland Park’s brewer of “big, bold flavors, made exactingly with natural ingredients.”  Harry’s a la carte menu will be available all day and there’s no cover charge to pop in! Look for Flight Night’s special insert on the night of, and stay tuned for beer selections and menu!

summer-series-beer-court-071516-FINAL[1]Summer Series Finale! Genuine Beer Court | Friday, August 12 from 6 p.m.  — Palm Court, 140 NE 39th Street, Second Floor “Netscape” Space, Miami (Design District) 33137  TICKETS HERE

Enjoy all you care to drink of two special beers poured from each of five local breweries; three MGFD and Lynx Grills food stations including sausage & onion hoagie with dijon mustard & sauerkraut, broccoli rabe pizza with chiles & garlic, and mini burgers with secret sauce, shredded lettuce, extra cheese; housemade Chex mix; and music and lawn games. We’ll also be giving away a Lynx Smoker Box in a raffle drawing on site, complete with a signed copy of Michael’s cookbook and a few other surprises!  Tickets are $55 plus tax all inclusive and exclusively sold in advance through our link.  When you arrive on site, you’ll check in at the door, get your wristband and let the fun begin. Cheers!

Think Pink! Everything’s Coming Up Rosés

image1Think pink, as in rosé wine pink that is! Without a doubt, the perfect summer wine is rosé with its sexy, elegant visual appeal, drinkability and relevance for pretty much any occasion.  A nice bottle of this blushing libation complements almost every type of cuisine. With that said, summer is the perfect time of year to enjoy rosé wines, especially with so many food-related gatherings ranging from picnics to barbecues to weddings. Our Beverage Manager, Amanda Fraga has paired various rosés with dishes at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Cypress Tavern, to illustrate the versatility and beauty of this wine.

Michael’s Genuine – Dinner
Mourvèdre blend, Gros ‘Noré, Bandol, Provence, France 2014 BTG $19 BTB $76 with the Pan Roasted ½ “Poulet Rouge” Chicken
Wines from Bandol (located in Provence) generally have a pale coral hue and are rounder and fuller-bodied than most other rosés. The Mourvèdre grape, a dominate grape in Bandol, can fill your glass with aromas of violet and rose petals and your palate with plums, cherries and dried herbs. All together, a Bandol rosé makes a great wine to have with the Pan Roasted Poulet Rouge, a heritage French farm breed from Joyce Farms in North Carolina because the acidity from the wine pairs amazingly with the fatty elements in the chicken like the skin. This red-feathered naked neck chicken has a superior taste and meat texture as well as a thinner skin, that when pan roasted forms a fine crisp. image2 (2)

Cypress Tavern – Brunch

Ricci Curbastro, Franciacorta, Italy NV with the Lobster-Avocado toast BTG $15 BTB $60
Fresh lobster and perfectly spread avocado topped on toasted buttery sourdough baguette bread to bring it all together. The acidity from the sparkling wine cuts through the fat of the butter and avocado and cleanses my palate with every bite. In addition, to a great food pairing, nothing goes better with Brunch than bubbles. The Ricci Curbastro is a traditional method sparkling wine that has a more body and texture than other sparkling’s, allowing it to pair with most of your meal.

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Grenache/Syrah blend, Château La Gordonne, Provence, France 2014 with the Melon and Blueberries BTG $13 BTB $52
La Gordonne is a subtle pink color with strawberry flavors on the palate integrated with lively acidy, making it remarkably drinkable alone. Other than paring this with a nice day and nicer company, I’d enjoy this with our Melon and Blueberries brunch appetizer. The strawberry and raspberry flavors of the wine add complex red fruit flavors to accompany the melon in the dish when paired together.

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When pairing wines and salad one of the first components I look at is the dressing. Dressings have bold characteristics that can alter the flavors of the entire dish and over power a wine. So it’s important to match the weight in the dressing to the weight of the wine. With the Peach salad, the La Gordonne rosé meets and exceeds the acidity in the meyer lemon vinaigrette dressing and cleans your palate after every bite. Additionally, the peach adds a little sweetness to balance the dryness of the rosé.