South African Cabernet Sauvignon and Cuban Fare

David and Zack hit up this new little Cuban joint in Alphabet City a couple of days ago and brought a cab from the shop that Paired really nice with their meal. The place is called Café Cortadito and it’s on East 3rd street between Aves B & C on the south side of the street. The wine in hand was the 2005 South African Upland Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Café Cortadito has a very welcoming atmosphere with amazing music in the sound system and a colorful décor of soft yellows and bright, rusted orange. It’s a quaint place with the main dinning room having probably a little over a dozen seats but there is also a room in the back that seems like a small private event space. The menu is on these interesting bamboo plaques and the staff is ever so friendly.

These two dudes sat down and went right for the same thing. They both got the Ropa Vieja; an entrée of succulent shredded beef with a savory, slightly spiced creole sauce and black beans and white rice on the side. Talk about authentic. They popped the bottle and proceeded to devour their meals. I can just imagine what the cab must have done to this rich, hearty meal. The beef is cooked in a good amount of fat and the beef itself has a bunch of protein, which softens tannins. If the dish is not too hot this Upland 2005 is just about damn near perfect. It is a big, balanced, earthy cab that starts out as all soil and dried, sweet fruit and opens into coffee and bittersweet chocolate that just washes meals like this down while keeping all flavors in check. Nothing is lost here. The wine and food compliment each other very well allowing the palate to enjoy it all from the subtleties of the rice and beans to the rich, melt-in-your-mouth shredded beef and the prominent yet balanced aromas and components of the wine. Damn I am hungry.

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