I was drinking a 2005 Concha y Toro Syrah Rapel Valley Casillero del Diablo a few nights ago in Havana in a small family-run restaurant called La Casa in Vedado, a nice and clean neighborhood in the city. Private restaurants are few and far between these days in Cuba, where they are called paladares. But the few that are left are usually very good.
Anyway, I was drinking this Syrah, which apparently costs around $12 retail in the States, and I thought how much I enjoy Syrah, with a low or high price tag. There’s something real, hearty, almost whole meal about the grape. It’s sort of like eating granola or whole-wheat bread. It seems good for you.
Before coming to Cuba on assignment for Spec’s sister publication Cigar Aficionado, I drank a number of excellent Syrahs in Los Angeles with some film friends, including a big and blousy 2004 Saxum James Berry Vineyard and a 2004 Kamen Syrah, which was firmer and classier than the Saxum. I gave them 89 and 91 points respectively, non-blind of course.
I have been a Syrah lover for ages. I still remember spending weeks and weeks there visiting cellars in the Rhône Valley in the mid-1980s with my buddies Tim Johnston and Marc Williamson from Willi’s Wine Bar in Paris. We drank some amazing wines back then. I was living in the City of Lights. I feel sort of nostalgic about it as I write these words.
Cuba is a long way from Paris and the Rhône. But that bottle of Chilean Syrah, with its bright berry fruit and light gamy character brought back fine memories. Or maybe it was the rabbit in creamed mustard sauce that I ate at La Casa for dinner?
April Breazeale — February 1, 2007 1:02pm ET
James B Seder — newton, ma — February 1, 2007 4:02pm ET
James Suckling — — February 2, 2007 11:41am ET
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