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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Carlos’ Food & Wine’s night out at Happy Wine in the Grove featuring DAOU Vineyards

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

DAOU Vineyards

Since the inception of Carlos’ Food & Wine, DAOU Vineyards has been at the forefront of not only my top recipes and wine pairings, but especially in top-crafted wine dinner events.

Now, the no longer best kept secret out of Paso Robles continues to wow wine lovers in south Florida, particularly Miami, from the novice enthusiast to the most discerning oenophile.

(Photo courtesy of Daou Vineyards)

With DAOU, there is always a wine for everyone, red, white or rose, or perhaps a dessert wine, the options and selections are truly unique.

Happy Wine in the Grove

In mid-2019, Mimi and Abdo, a mother and son duo, purchased a small wine shop and tapas-style restaurant in Coconut Grove, one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods in Miami. 

(Image courtesy of Happy Wine in the Grove)

At the time, the wine store had roughly 200 wine labels and a relatively small but very good tapas menu.

The new owners changed the name to Happy Wine in the Grove and started their journey of turning the 2,000 sq foot space into a true wine shop marketplace with wine labels from all over the world, simple yet good food, and in general, a great place to buy wine at affordable prices.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Presently, Happy Wine in the Grove is a 4,200-square-foot wine shop, restaurant, and private event venue.  It is home to over 3,500 wine labels in over 20,000 bottles ranging from minis to 5L bottles and everything in between.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

With the walls covered in wine racks and 2 wine cellars, the selection includes everything from everyday wine to hard-to-find, older vintage, and rare wines catering to every budget and palate. A VIP cellar is available for ultra private wine dinners and wine tastings.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

In the last year, the wine collection has grown extensively, and the online shop has been launched, making it easier for clients from all over the world to purchase.

The restaurant has a delicious Mediterranean tapas-style menu, and the wine list consists of all the bottles that line up endlessly on the walls. Live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights makes Happy Wine in the Grove a fun and vibrant spot to share with family and friends.

For more info, visit:

The Event

The evening’s wine pairing dinner was truly an experience second to none, featuring a specially-curated seven-course dinner with some of DAOU Vineyards’ finest varietals.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

I am usually the first one at the event and the last one to leave, it allows me to be fully immersed in the experience and sometimes get to spend extra time with those that make these events memorable.

I had the chance to meet and connect with Happy Wine’s co-owners Mimi and Abdo, who both greeted me warmly and quickly made me feel as part of the family. Abdo and I shared some great banter exchanging stories and how we both got interested in wine, and the culinary/hospitality business.

(Carlos & Abdo enjoying DAOU’s Patrimony, photo by Lazaro Abreu, eRNDC)

Before the event started, Abdo shared with me a sensational wine (off-the event program), the illustrious DAOU Patrimony wine.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

The 2019 Patrimony Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine notes: Deep ruby in color, this wine boasts aromas of cassis, blueberry, pomegranate, and currants.

Notes of tobacco, chocolate, and toasted spices follow, bringing an immense depth to this wine.

The palate is full-bodied and rich with ideal balance between concentrated fruit and freshness.

From its mouthwatering acidity and flawlessly integrated oak, it finishes with notes of blackberry jam, cacao, and mocha complemented with herbaceous tones of fennel and thyme.

For Cab lovers, this legacy label wine is as good as it gets.

For more info on this wine visit:

The Menu

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

For this seven course dinner event, Mimi, Abdo and their chef, creatively prepared a delightful menu that truly complemented all the wines that DAOU presented.

The portions (and the pours) where presented in perfect symmetry, delivering a wonderfully balanced meal and pace for such a complete experience.

The Wines

DAOU Vineyards really brought “the big guns” to this event. Their lineup truly represented the very best of their extensive and unique wine portfolio.

The lineup:

2022 DAOU Rose

2021 DAOU Reserve Chardonnay

2021 DAOU Sequentis Reserve Merlot

2021 DAOU Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

2019 DAOU Soul of a Lion

2019 DAOU Patrimony Estate Caves des Lions

*2020 DAOU Estate Dessert Wine

*(only available at winery)

All of these amazing wines are available at:

The Pairings

First course - 2022 DAOU Rose & Charcuterie.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Second course - 2021 DAOU Reserve Chardonnay & Hummus with pomegranate seeds, chopped pistachios and extra virgin olive oil.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Third course - 2021 DAOU Sequentis Reserve Merlot & grilled white asparagus and heart of palm with shaved Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Fourth course - 2021 DAOU Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon & Croquette trio of Jamón Iberico, Manchego and Cod.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Fifth course - 2019 DAOU Soul of a Lion & three cheese ravioli with house tomato sauce & Parmesan.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Sixth course - 2019 DAOU Patrimony Estate Caves des Lions & Filet Mignon with cracked black peppers, butter sauce and watercress salad.

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Seventh course - *2020 DAOU Estate Dessert Wine & Brillar Savarin and manchego cheese.

 *only available at the winery

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Overview & Thank-Yous!

I am pretty sure that a picture, or in this case, pictures tells quite a story. This wine dinner was exceptional to say the least.

Thank you again to Mimi, Abdo and the entire Happy Wine in the Grove team for hosting this event.

Last, but certainly not least, this whole soirée couldn’t have happened without the generosity and inclusivity of Mr. Tony Suarez, from DAOU Vineyards.

Thank you Tony for always including me and for being one of my longest and biggest supporters! Gracias!

Save best for last…

As mentioned earlier, sometime being the last to leave has its perks. DAOU and Happy Wine shared with a handful of special guests a sneak peak of DAOU’s 2020 Estate Soul of a Lion

(Photo by Carlos Sarmiento)

Wine notes:

The 2020 vintage presents an alluring profusion of black cherry, mulberry and Oregon blackberry aromas with notes of leather, cigar box and dark chocolate.

Hints of desert sage and crème de menthe accent the rich fruit. The palate is silky and voluptuous, delivering loads of currant, cassis, black raspberry and ripe cherry.

Notes of fig and baking spice are underscored by earthy tones of dates and truffle. Mature, ripe tannins yield a weighty, velvety texture integrated with a limestone minerality and subtle oak. A lengthy finish leaves lingering impressions of blackberry, plum and espresso with a touch of white pepper.

A wine of immense staying power that will evolve favorably for many years to come.

95 Points by Robert Parker

97 Points by Wine Enthusiast

94-96 Points by Jeb Dunnuck

Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon 81%, Cabernet Franc 13%, Petit Verdot 6%

Barrel Aging: 22 months in 100% new French oak

The perfect way to end the evening.

About Carlos Sarmiento

& Carlos' Food & Wine...

(Photo: Carlos Food & Wine)

Carlos Sarmiento is an award-winning filmmaker & public relations professional as well as a food & wine aficionado.

He first discovered his passion for cooking when he was in his early teens, to the point where he was aspiring to go to culinary arts school and become a chef. Life, however had other plans for him.

Carlos ended up studying film-making and pursuing a career in film/TV. After a few years, he made a career change and has since established himself as a seasoned public relations & communications professional.

The one constant factor throughout his life’s travels and professional experiences has always been and continues to be his love and appreciation for cultures, cooking, and wine.

In 2020, Carlos’ Food & Wine (website) was launched. This is your one stop place for gourmet but simple to make recipes as well as fine wine pairings.

Visit and subscribe today at:

Instagram: Carloslsarmiento

For event coverage/planning, collaborations and partnerships email Carlos at:

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