A couple of friends threw a birthday party for me in the coolest restaurant in Havana, La Guarida. For those who saw the Cuban movie Fresa y Chocolate, this is the restaurant where it was filmed. It is probably the best restaurant in Cuba, and it is also privately owned. In the mid-1990s, many small, private restaurants were opened on the island and this is one of the few that remains open and flourishes. It is on the third floor of a dilapidated town house in the Habana Centro neighborhood. With a dozen or so seats, the dark and cozy restaurant produces cuisine that would compete well with many Nuevo Latino restaurants in Miami or New York. And it’s very famous; the walls are lined with photos of customers, including the Queen of Spain and Jack Nicholson.
Anyway, I was amazed that my friends brought for the dinner bottles of Mouton-Rothschild--1993 and 1996--from their cellars in Mexico. I had the 1996 a couple of weeks ago in Bordeaux in a blind tasting of 1996 versus 1995, which will be reported in the magazine in the next few months. Incidentally, the 1996 Mouton is one of the few wines in my tasting that clearly beat its 1995 counterpart. It is a glorious wine. Here is my tasting note from Bordeaux:
Incredible nose of ultraripe fruit yet subtle and complex. Full-bodied, with very ripe, almost sweet fruit and a long, long caressing finish. Superb. Drink after 2010.
But in a funny sort of way, I was more impressed with the 1993. This was a rather difficult vintage in which to produce an outstanding wine, and the 1993 Mouton is delicious to drink now. It reminds me of the 1962 with its lovely balance and refined tannins. It showed subtle licorice and blackberry aromas with hints of chocolate. It was medium-bodied, with a creamy texture and a light vanilla and berry aftertaste. Delicious.
It felt sort of surreal drinking such great wines in the middle of Havana. But excellent wine is a treat anywhere in the world, at home or in Havana. It was one of my best birthdays in a long time … great wines with great friends.
Colin Haggerty — La Jolla, California — October 2, 2006 2:37pm ET
Alvaro Esquivel — Miami, Fla — October 2, 2006 6:25pm ET
James Suckling — — October 2, 2006 6:29pm ET
Alvaro Esquivel — Miami, Fla — October 2, 2006 8:19pm ET
Alex Cobb — Fort Worth, TX — October 3, 2006 1:45pm ET
Carole Wurster — New York — October 4, 2006 10:27am ET
Marc Robillard — Montreal,Canada — October 4, 2006 1:58pm ET
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