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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Carlos’ Food & Wine showcases the best of Daou Vineyards at Fiola Restaurant (Coral Gables, FL)

Updated: May 4

By Carlos Sarmiento

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

The pursuit of inventive Italian culinary excellence meets California’s most seductive winery in Miami.

Not too long ago, I was invited to an exclusive industry-only wine pairing lunch by my friends at Daou Vineyards.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

The afternoon consisted not only of terrific company of fellow oenophiles and foodies but quite the memorable journey of discovery and appreciation, where food and wine pairing were taken to new heights.

Fiola Restaurant

Fiola are a trio of Italian bistro type restaurants (with two others in Washington DC and Venice, Italy) created by celebrated Michelin-starred Chef and Restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi.

Celebrating 10 years, Fiola brings a sophisticated presentation of handmade pastas, fresh seafood and other delicacies with true Italian flair.

Fiola - Coral Gables, FL - Main Dinning Room

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

The Set Up

The event took place in one Fiola’s private room called the San Ignacio Room (named after the street the restaurant is located in).

This spectacular room is home to an exceptional library of literally hundreds of fine wines from all over the world. The room can also be extended for even larger private parties (known as the Sunset Room).

Fiola’s San Ignacio Room

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

All attendees where provided with their own specially personalized seat featuring Daou branded keepsakes.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Each guest was greeted with a refreshing glass of Daou’s fantastic 2021 Chemin de Fleurs.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

2021 Daou Chemin de Fleurs

Inspired by the iconic white wines of France’s Rhône Valley, Chemin de Fleurs is a classic blend of three varieties—Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier.

The 2021 vintage offers tantalizing and vibrant aromas of pineapple, banana, vanilla bean and freshly sliced pear.

Spicy notes of nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon complement floral notes of honeysuckle and star jasmine along with nuances of green apple, casaba melon and fig.

The palate is silky, voluminous and mouthwatering, delivering generous flavors of mango, papaya, pineapple and white peach accented with buttered toast, wet stone, kiwi and ginger.

A lovely, lingering finish of vanilla, baking spice, lemon chiffon and honey clover rounds out this exceptional vintage.

For more information on this wine:

The Menu

The event featured a sensational pre-fixe lunch menu that showcased quite the assortment of appetizers, entrees and desserts, setting up the playing field for exceptional wines to be sampled.

Fiola Pre-Fixe Lunch Menu

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

The Appetizer

The Chemin de Fleurs was so amazing that I opted to start with the Colors of the Garden appetizer which paired beautifully with the wine. The dish consisted of farmer’s field lettuces, Florida peaches, goat cheese and edible flowers.

Colors of the Garden Salad

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Colors of the Garden Salad

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Other Daou wines that worked well with this dish, as well as other appetizers, where also paired, each with their own delightful personalities.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

2020 Daou Discovery Collection Rosé

Inspired by the renowned rosé wines of Provence, France, our 2020 DAOU Discovery Collection Rosé remains faithful to its origins.

This wine is remarkably fragrant, offering generous aromas of fresh peach, Bartlett pear and nectarine, with subtle notes of hyacinth, apricot and crushed rose petals.

The palate is delightfully silky, underlying a clean, fresh crispness delivering enticing flavors of mango, Crenshaw melon, lemon chiffon and tangerine. Secondary layers reveal hints of sweet cherry and vanilla with orange peel accents.

A luxurious and lasting finish leaves traces of apple pie, strawberry and kiwi.

For more information on this wine:

2021 Daou Reserve Rosé

The 2021 DAOU Reserve Rosé comes from special Grenache fruit selected by Winemaker Daniel Daou.

True to form, this wine displays a lovely pale apricot color in the traditional style of Provençale rosés. An exuberant nose offers tantalizing aromas of peach, watermelon, strawberry, kiwi and toasty oak.

Subtle hints of cranberry and rhubarb are accented with rose petal to round out the aroma profile. The palate is rich with flavors of pink grapefruit, Rainier cherry, persimmon and papaya, while underlying notes of tangerine and mango contribute freshness and zest.

A remarkably clean finish lingers with lasting notes of peach sorbet, apricot, vanilla bean and strawberry.

For more information on this wine:

2020 Daou - The Bodyguard Chardonnay

This wine embodies the quintessential style of a California chardonnay - ripe fruit, vanilla-laced oak notes and an all around rich and buttery mouthfeel.

The warmer climate of California provides a deeper golden color, aromas of vanilla, cinnamon and coconut, and the flavors can range from mango and banana to butter and cream.

The Chardonnay grape truly reflects where it is grown and as such the terroir expresses itself very accurately in the glass. The Bodyguard Chardonnay uses grapes from the famous Santa Barbara appellation that benefits from the proximity of Pacific Ocean.

Cold fermentations are performed to maintain the aromatic precursors with a combination of French and American oak to deliver a creamy and buttery mouthfeel.

For more information on this wine:

The Entree

For my entree, I chose the Rye Fettuccine with delicately prepared lamb ragu and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Superbly executed.

Rye Fettuccine

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Rye Fettuccine

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

This dish demanded a formidable red wine pairing. Daou presented a plethora of amazing reds that where marvelous in their own unique way.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

2019 Daou - Sequentis Merlot

This groundbreaking Merlot from Winemaker Daniel Daou is one for the ages. The 2019 DAOU Sequentis presents a fragrant nose redolent of black cherry, plum, boysenberry and dark chocolate with hints of cassis and black olive.

Suggestions of spicy currant, dried herb, crushed gravel and vanilla reveal layers of complexity that are further elevated by trailing impressions of incense, cedar and cranberry.

A bold and assertive palate delivers prodigious flavors of plum and cherry with traces of black raspberry and blueberry.

Notes of toasty oak, dark roast espresso and lavender potpourri complement the bright fruit character.

Balanced, structured and brimming with focused intensity, this wine concludes with firm tannins that drive a clean finish and exceptional length—all promising outstanding age-worthiness.

For more information on this wine:

2019 Daou - Reserve Seventeen Forty

Inspired by the wines of Saint-Émilion, the 2019 DAOU Reserve Seventeen Forty presents a harmonious marriage of Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

The nose is rich and refined, revealing scents of ripe boysenberry, fragrant plum, sweet cherry, cocoa and pomegranate. Subtle notes of crème de cassis, black olive, pencil lead and sandalwood underpin the lush fruit aromas.

Flavors of blackberry, cherry, dark chocolate and espresso dominate the palate, accented by hints of truffle, tobacco leaf and dried flowers.

This wine is beautifully structured, with supple tannins that provide the backbone for a long, vibrant finish of black plum, currant, loganberry and mocha.

While eminently approachable now, this 2019 vintage will reward careful cellaring for years to come.

For more information on this wine:

2019 Daou - The Bodyguard

Bold and brooding, it displays a vivid, deep purple hue accompanied by an intense nose of chocolate-covered blueberry, black raspberry, Zante currant, pencil lead and damp forest floor.

Secondary layers reveal notes of kirsch, fennel, black olive and a hint of cool wintergreen. A lush palate of black plum, dried cherry and blackberry is supported by a firm structure with polished fine-grained tannins.

Highlights of dusty leather, dried sage and truffle add layers of complexity that complement the rich, dark fruit.

The finish strikes an impressive balance of power and grace, with lingering notes of currant, dark chocolate and crushed stone minerality that enhance the fullness of the experience.

For more information on this wine:

2020 Daou - Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Hailing from the exemplary 2020 vintage, this DAOU Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon showcases Paso Robles as a world-class region for Bordeaux-style wines.

Classic aromas of Oregon blackberry, Zante currant and cherry pipe tobacco anticipate subtle notes of cranberry, baking spice, licorice, slate and dark chocolate.

The palate is voluptuous and velvety with a firm underlying structure. Lavish flavors of blueberry, black raspberry, wild cherry and cassis are beautifully integrated with hints of truffle, dried herbs and forest floor.

A smooth, persistent finish lingers with impressions of of sweet cherry, black plum and mushroom. While polished and approachable now, this is a Cabernet Sauvignon that will continue to evolve with grace and nuance.

For more information on this wine:

The Dessert

For dessert, I decided to partake of the Strawberry Shortcake, that was presented with mascarpone cream, strawberry compote, vanilla gelato and topped with edible gold. Simply sublime.

Strawberry Shortcake

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Strawberry Shortcake

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

The Grand Finale

Daou’s wine of wines…Soul of a Lion

Concluding the event, the best was saved for last. Daou’s flagship wine, Soul of a Lion, a wine of pure perfection, comprised of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot that has been aged for 22 months in new French oak barrels.

Elegant, fresh and mesmerizingly complex. It simply just doesn’t get better than this.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

2019 Daou - Estate Soul of a Lion

The 2019 Soul of a Lion is a blockbuster vintage that showcases how Bordeaux varieties are remarkably suited to the terroir of DAOU Mountain.

This wine explodes from the glass with a kaleidoscope of aromas and flavors, including blackberry, blueberry, black currant, dark cherry, sweet tobacco and licorice.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

An added floral dimension imparts an integrated sense of elegance and freshness. While full-bodied with ultra-high phenolic levels, this wine maintains its evenness and poise through an extraordinarily long finish.

Structured, balanced and powerful, the 2019 Soul of a Lion will reveal its full magnitude after several years of careful cellaring.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Final Thoughts…

Rare opportunities to sample prize winning estate wines, paired with the finest cuisine in town just makes this experience unforgettable.

Daou wines has a more than an impressive portafolio of varietals that promises to please every palate from the novice wine lover to the most discerning wine collector.

Whoever the audience might be, they, like me, will most likely find it difficult to decide which wine is the best.

Fiola takes you on an inventive culinary journey to Italy through tantalizingly and freshly made dishes. A true gem for foodies and lovers of Italian fare.

For more information on Daou Vineyards, visit:

For more information on Fiola Restaurants, visit:

Coral Gables location:

1500 San Ignacio Ave

Coral Gables, FL 33146


Special thanks…

On behalf of Carlos’ Food and Wine and myself, I would like to thank Tony Suarez and Tanna Massar, my South Florida-based Daou partners for inviting me to this special event.

Carlos Food & Wine and the Daou team.

(Left to right: Carlos Sarmiento from Carlos’ Food & Wine, Tanna Massar, Neb Lukic, Alexander Ramos and Tony Suarez from Daou Vineyards)

About Carlos and 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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