Grape Expectations: The Haute 5 Wine Menus in South Florida


Forging on new territory, the iconic Forge is back with their legendary wine list and decedent menu. Miami’s famed Shareef Malnik has reopened the doors of Forge transforming everything from the décor to the cuisine. A former blacksmith workshop, this fine-dining establishment is now a symbol of fresh and bright style. Boasting a gleaming enomatic wine system, glamorous dining room, and daring menu, few restaurants compare to the wine pairings Forge provides.

432 W 41st St., Miami Beach; (305) 538-8533


Highly-acclaimed AltaMare is hosting the ultimate wine pairing dinner of the summer June 16. Enjoy AltaMare’s fresh, Mediterranean-style cuisine in a private dining setting as owner Claudio Giordano hosts this event. Guests will be treated to a prix fixe menu featuring AltaMare’s fresh seafood, organic meats, and house made pasta. Each dish is specially designed by chef Simon Stojanovic and is expertly paired with a wine that complements its unique flavors.

1233 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; (305) 532-3061

Area 31 at the EPIC

Area 31, the breathtaking restaurant on the 16th floor of the EPIC Hotel, delivers guests a wine list expertly assembled by Master Sommelier Emily Wines along with an innovative cocktail list from Master Mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout. Emily Wines, from the Michelin-starred Fifth Floor restaurant in San Francisco, created the extensive wine list featuring Mediterranean vintages along with wines from the Americas. A large half bottle list of more than 25 selections is available along with an ample list of wines by the glass. For the summer months, Wine Director Michael Haycook recommends rieslings. Mouth-watering acidity combined with a humm of sweetness and ripe, tree fruit, this wine fires on all cylinders. When the temperature goes above 90 degrees, he stays hydrated with a cool Mosel Riesling particularly from JJ or SA Prum. The cloyingly sweet styles are from yester-year and impeccably balanced sure to make a convert for any riesling naysayer. Not a fan of rieslings? He also suggests the Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel. This is an entry-level rose, predominately Grenache based from Provence and definitely not your Grandmother’s rose.

16th floor of Epic Hotel, 270 Biscayne Blvd. Way, Miami;

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

In an unassuming setting, diners at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District enjoy one of the best wine lineups in the Magic City. When asked his recommendations for the summer months, Sommelier Eric Larkee prefers high acid whites and fresh rosés. In the Glass Program, the restaurant added an Italian white made by the Northern Piedmontese producer La Torrazza from the Erbaluce grape.  They also went away from a heavy American Chardonnay to a crisp minerally Chablis produced from the grower Gilbert Picq.

 In the bottle program they added a Golden Muscat from Manincor in Northern Italy. Dry and floral, its a bouquet of flowers in a glass like a Gewürtztraminer but with a leaner body and not a drop of sugar. They also carry the newest 2009 rosé offerings from Lucien Crochet of Sancerre (100 percent Pinot Noir) and Domaine Houchart of Provence (Grenache Blend). For summer 2010, Larkee says his whole rosé section shines.

130 N.W. 40th St.; Miami Design District; 305.573.5550

The Setai

The Setai has hands down one of the best wine menus in Miami. Dwayne Savoie, the sommelier, is the best at educating guests and staff at this South Beach favorite about the wonders of wine and beverage. Overseeing the beverage team and in depth wine cellar, he creates a sense of community around the Setai’s award winning wine lineup. Featuring 65 outstanding wines, 90 points and above, all the wines are hand picked and represent the Setai’s commitment to quality.

2001 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305.520.6402