Cortez Seafood + Cocktail

With Salentein Wines

Sponsored by Kyle & Kelly Elliott and Wade & Kelly Monroe, WST Asset Management


Salentein Wines

The goal of Salentein is to make high quality Argentine wines, while respecting and supporting the people, nature and community from which the wines are created. The company’s lasting commitment to the people of Argentina combines investments, employment opportunities, and training with lessons of hope. Salentein is a leader in cultivating global awareness of the emerging premium wineries of Argentina. A new vision of quality —with plantings of classical varietals, preservation of old vines, application of European artistry, and advanced technology— is yielding world-class wines. The Salentein estate consists of 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres), 700 hectares (1,124 acres) of which are planted to grapes in three estate “fincas”. The fincas, where grapes are grown at a range of altitudes among the highest in the world, are irrigated with pure mountain run-off, which creates lower pH in the grape, resulting in higher acidity, more color in the wine, and greater ageability. Dennis Koelewijn (cool-wine) passion for wine started while working in a wine shop in Amsterdam, The Netherlands while still in college. During that time he also started traveling extensively to visit as many wine regions as possible, from South Australia, Burgundy, Rhone, South Africa to Napa Valley. After that he spent several years representing South African, Australian and US wines for Great Grapes, a wine importer in The Netherlands. After moving to California, he had several positions with import and distributing companies. Representing Salentein Family of wines for the US market has given him the opportunity to exercise all of his experience in importing and distributing wine, and be a part of a dynamic family owned company with tremendous opportunity in the United States.

Cortez Seafood + Cocktail

“The Cortez isn’t an ordinary seafood restaurant. It surprises and delights at every turn.” Greg Cox, News & Observer

Cortez is a fresh seafood and small plates experience with a freshly kept selection of tropical cocktails that draw on our food memories, travels through the years, and Mexican-American heritage.  Executive Chef Oscar Diaz’s menu is a reflection of his weekly walks through the farmer’s market and the bounties brought in by our local fishermen. The beverage menu is rounded out with rotating craft beers and a curated wine list.

Oscar Diaz was raised in Chicago and initially tried to cook straightforward Mexican food in the South. The 36-year-old classically trained chef re-examined his approach after too many customers said he wasn’t doing their queso dip right, a dish Diaz had never heard of until he moved to Raleigh.

“So instead of me being all bitter about people saying, ‘You can’t do this and that,’ I decided that I was going to put my fingerprint on something,” Diaz says. “So I started to mix grits with masa [the corn dough that serves as the base for tortillas and tamales]. It got us thinking.”

Ibarra and Diaz found so much success with Jose and Sons that they were able to open the Cortez, an ambitious, seafood-focused restaurant, late last year. They now see themselves as ambassadors for their prismatic view of the South. “I’m repping not just the restaurant; I’m repping Raleigh,” Diaz says. “I’m repping Latino culture and American culture. I’m repping the South.”

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