Amanda Fraga grew up in Miami and caught the travel bug at age 18, when she embarked on a round-the-world trip that brought her from China to Britain. When she enrolled in a wine technology course at Florida International University, she realized a career in the wine industry would fuse her passions for travel, language, food, and, of course, wine. Now, four years later, Amanda is the sommelier at Miami's Michael's Genuine Food and Drink. We asked Amanda to choose a Bordeaux wine to bring to her favorite BYOB restaurant.
Whether you're living in Miami or visiting, there is only one spot for the best Cuban food (other than my Abuela Mima's house), and that's Versailles.
Situated in the center of Little Havana and open for almost 45 years, Versailles Cuban Restaurant is a staple in Miami culture. As a Cuban descendant, I love the Cuban food here. But as wine lover, I love that Versailles is a place I can bring a bottle of wine and pay one of the most reasonable corkage fees in the city ($8). Corkage is so low because many people don't think of enjoying wine with their Cuban food. Wine has never been a staple in Cuban culture, which is unfortunate because many characteristics of Cuban dishes pair phenomenally with wine.
The dish I order habitually is bistec empanizado con moros y tostones, meaning fried, breaded steak with black beans, rice, and fried plantains. The lime wedge Versailles gives you with every plate cuts through the fat of the dish with its acidity while the fried portions balance it out.
I like to replace the lime with a crisp, light-bodied, dry white Bordeaux. I can cut through the tasty, fried food with the wine, which adds an additional layer of depth to the overall course.
My favorite in particular is Chateau Respide Medeville Domaine des Justices 2014. The wine introduces lime and citrus elements, adding layers of minerality and liveliness that pair with the black beans' and white rice's savory, earthy, and starchy flavors. The beans and rice are cooked together with pieces of pork, which give this side dish incredible flavors that are complimented by the citrus qualities in the wine. The bistec empanizado and tostones are both fried, and the fats from the oil are toned down to perfect levels by the bright acidity of the wine, delivering a much more pleasurable dining experience.
In typical Cuban fashion, the portion sizes at Versailles are Flintstone-like and can often be overwhelming, but with the help of Domaine des Justices I can make quick work of the dish, leaving with a feeling of satisfaction and only slight guilt.
Domaine des Justices Bordeaux Blanc 2014
Blend: 60 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 40 percent Sémillon
Tasting Notes: Light and refreshing in body. Citrus fruit aromas with lively acidity, high minerality and a grapefruit finish.