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About this Episode

Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier joins host Robert Tas to explore the wine list at Son Cubano, a Cuban restaurant and New Jersey hotspot. Grace offers advice on wines to pair with Cuban food, a hybrid of Spanish and African Caribbean cuisine, which includes English sparklies, classic Portuguese whites, naturally fermented bubbles, and super affordable crowd-pleasers.

Wines reviewed include:

  • Soalheiro Vinho Verde
  • Pieropan Soave Classico
  • 2011 Federico Paternina Rioja
Transcript: Son Cubano

RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a Wine List from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grace Hood, wine educator and Certified Sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you!

GH: Hola Roberto como estate?!

RT Bien bien Señorita! Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list. Alright Grace today we will be reviewing world-renowned Chef David Burke’s New Jersey hotspot, Son Cubano!

GH: Yes, I was very excited when you sent this over! I love the Cubano culture - the food, the history, the people, and architecture etc. hoping to plan a trip there soon!

RT: Absolutely - such a unique and beautiful country. So, what are your initial thoughts on the wine list Grace?

GH: Yeah so, they have a pretty approachable wine list - in both size and price point. Nice mix of new world and old world. Definitely some crowd favorites on the list. And since we’re dealing with Cuban food which is a hybrid of Spanish and African Caribbean cuisines, we’re going to have some interesting selections to play with.

RT: Yeah, when you think Cuban food, you don’t immediately think wine. More rum, correct?

GH: Totally - the Caribbean is known for their sugar cane production obviously. But just like many regions where Europeans settled, they brought their love of wine to those new countries.

RT: Have wine will travel!

GH: Haha totally - right off the top of my head, when I think Cuban food, I think pork which is one of the stars of Cuban cuisine. Pork is a one of those special proteins that can be paired with both red and white depending on the sauce and the spices. Also seafood is a big staple of Cuban cuisine so again depending on the sauce you could do a red or white or even rose!

RT: Totally - so where do we start?

GH: Well, if we wanted to kick it off with a sparkling, there’s a really interesting brut rose from England on the list! And you know my rule is that if I see a wine on a list I have yet to try, I order it! Try the Chapel Down Rose sparkling on the Son Cubano list. England has been turning out some really lovely sparkling wines in the past few years and definitely can go up against your classic cremants, proseccos and caves.

RT: English sparkling with Cuban cuisine! I love the unexpected international mix.

MV: Totally - and then on the white side, they have one of my all-time favorite whites, Vinho Verde, which is a classic white wine from Portugal. What I love about vinho Verde is how light and approachable it is, and what makes it special is that it is slightly effervescent, not necessarily sparkling b/c it doesn’t go through that type of fermentation, but it just has like a low-key zing to it. It's also lower in alcohol so you can drink more of it! And the best part is that it is always super affordable. My friends call it my house wine b/c I always have a bottle or two in my fridge - such a crowd-pleaser. Give the Soalheiro Vinho Verde a go at Son Cubano.

RT: Awesome - vinho verde is so underrated. Glad you’re bringing it to light!

MV: Absolutely. And if you wanted to go with another dry white wine that is a classic pairing for seafood, I would go with the Pieropan Soave Classico, made from the garganega grape in northern Italy. It has enough acidity to stand up to the rich flavors of seafood but has this really unique kind of almost nutty finish to it so even though it's a lighter style wine, it doesn’t get lost on your palate.

RT: Oh yeah - I love a good Soave. Great food pairing wine.

GH: And ya know let’s not forget about a rose for Cuban cuisine. The Erath rose from the Willamette Valley would be an excellent pairing for many dishes on the menu. Rose from Oregon is absolutely fabulous b/c it’s made from very high-end pinot noir that the region is famous for.

RT: I know how you love your Oregon wines Grace!

GH: Guilty as charged hahaha.

RT: What about for red wines? What are you thinking to stand up to all those spicy savor Cubano dishes?

GH: So since pork is a significant ingredient in Cuban cuisines, we will definitely need a pinot noir - I’m going with the Jayson from Sonoma Coast, which is one of my favorite regions in California for pinot. When it comes to the heavier richer dishes like ropa vieja, that has a lot of Spanish influence and so I would go with the classic pairing of tempraNULLlo - they have a 2011 Federico Paternina Rioja on the menu which I would love to try!

RT: Amazing! Thank you so much Grace for helping us navigate the Son Cubano wine list. To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.  If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@corkrules.com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. Follow us on social media @corkrules and @wineswithgrace

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.





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