Following a summer pop-up at Nikki Beach last year, Margot's new permanent space — named for Ernest Hemingway's feminist fashion-model granddaughter — joins the group's Taqueria Hoja inside downtown's historical Ingraham building. The establishment, which specializes in natural and biodynamic wines, opens today, July 7.
Orta and Zvi say they were introduced to natural and biodynamic wines nearly a decade ago while traveling through cities like Copenhagen and Paris during a trip to Europe. Set in an airy, high-ceilinged space, Margot is designed with a color palette inspired by the variety of shades found in natural wines. Danya Hachey of Mad Artistic, who has served as Bar Lab's creative director since the original Broken Shaker pop-up in 2012, spearheaded the design, hoping to reveal as much of the historical building's original details as possible while incorporating them into her 1970s- and '80s-inspired Scandinavian-meets-Italian aesthetic.
"We always loved this style of wine and how fun it is to drink, but natural wines were never readily available in Miami," says Orta, who slowly began adding natural wines to the menu at Bar Lab's 27 Restaurant & Bar over the past several years. "We dreamed about one day making a fun wine bar that's inspired by wine producers thinking outside the box — a place inspired by all the little wine bars in Europe, where the focus is the wine and how it's made."
Zvi promises that at Margot, patrons will find one of the city's most extensive natural wine lists, which will change on a weekly basis and include exclusive, special-edition releases.
Today, Orta says he loves how some of his favorite winemakers are women, many of whom are industry pioneers creating fun wines while adhering to both ethical growing methods and production practices.
One of the duo's favorite European winemakers is Anne Louise Mikkelsen of Tenuta di Aglaea in Etna, Sicily. Her vines, estimated to be nearly 100 years old, are native to the region and thrive with very little human interference. As a result, the winery's Nerello Mascalese offers unique characteristics that are the perfect example of a natural wine grown and produced according to Old World techniques.
Stateside, Orta enjoys Martha Stoumen Wines. The Northern California winemaker uses composting to fertilize her fields, and predatory insects instead of insecticides. In the cellar, she employs a minimalist approach, allowing the natural yeasts and bacteria present on the grape skins to perform fermentation in place of adding tannins, acid, or stabilizing agents.
The menu offers more than 80 options, with an opening offering that ranges from sparkling zinfandels and pet-nat to Slavic, German, and Spanish white wines; reds from Austria, Italy, and France; and a wide range of skin-contact varietals. While a small selection is available by the glass, most are meant to be enjoyed upon opening and are priced between $45 to $120 per bottle. A wine-flight selection changes daily. Priced at $30, it will get you a tasting of three wines from around the globe.
In an effort to clarify the subject, some winemakers, distributors, and sommeliers prefer to refer to these wines as "naked," "raw," or “low-intervention," although "natural wine" remains the most widely used phrase. Today, natural wines are marketed as wines made with minimal intervention from vineyard to vat to bottle. In essence, a natural wine is one that is nothing but unadulterated fermented grape juice with no additives (e.g., sulfites).
Margot's menu will also include low-alcohol cocktails and a seasonal selection of small plates prepared tapas-style by 27 Restaurant chef Jimmy Lebron. Dishes, priced $6 to $16, include the pinto gild (anchovy, olives, piparra peppers), charcuterie, swordfish crudo, and fondue.
Margot Natural Wine & Aperitivo Bar. 25 SE Second Ave., #700, Miami; margotnaturalwinebar.com. Operating with reduced introductory hours Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Check website for additional hours.