Where’s the strangest place you have ever found a very good cellar? I knew a guy about 20 years ago who spent a lot of his free time during the war in Vietnam discovering old wine cellars in hotels full of great bottles of Bordeaux from the 1950s and 1960s. And he lived to tell the story!
I have nothing as exotic as that. But one of my favorites spots is the El Aljibe restaurant in Havana. I always go there a few times during a trip to Cuba, when I am on assignment for Cigar Aficionado (Wine Spectator’s sister publication.) Check out the video.
I was there last week a couple of times, and I always enjoy spending some time with sommelier Inti Alvarez. Inti is a super-keen wine guy and it’s hard for him to find bottles to stock his 10,000-bottle strong cellar, but he does a good job with mostly wines from Spain and Chile and some good choices from Italy as well, including Pio Cesare Barolos, Antinori Tignanello and Sassicaia.
It's all kept perfectly temperature controlled. And the 65 degrees inside can feel very cold on a hot, balmy night in Havana. But I love drinking a pretty red at cellar temperature when it’s warm out.
Last week, a bottle of 2004 Bodegas Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero seemed like nectar with plates full of roasted chicken, black beans, rice and baked plantains. The wine was so polished, with blackberries, minerals and just a touch of new oak. It was full but very balanced and fresh. 91 points, non-blind.
Can’t wait to try another bottle of the Moro. It’s a wonderful wine for $35 a bottle at U.S. retail, if you can find it (I haven't had much luck). Guess I will have to try another bottle soon when I go back to Havana!
Jason D'antonio — Toronto — February 14, 2008 10:51am ET
James Suckling — — February 14, 2008 12:27pm ET
Jordan Horoschak — Houston, TX — February 14, 2008 2:21pm ET
Maria E Plaza — February 14, 2008 4:58pm ET
James Suckling — — February 14, 2008 5:26pm ET
James Suckling — — February 14, 2008 5:27pm ET
Elio Junco — February 15, 2008 12:57pm ET
James Suckling — — February 15, 2008 12:59pm ET
Michael Rhodes — San Diego, California — February 16, 2008 10:09am ET
Mr & Mrs Robert Sutton — Arlington, VA — February 18, 2008 7:53am ET
Sam Chanhao — calgary — February 18, 2008 8:06am ET
Marc Robillard — Montreal,Canada — March 14, 2008 8:10am ET
Jo Cooke — Tuscany — March 14, 2008 11:17am ET
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