Does good wine taste great when you drink it somewhere you don’t expect to drink it? Yes. Oh yes. Definitely yes.
I went to a small restaurant in the suburbs of Havana a couple of nights ago, La Paila, and we came across a bottle of 2004 Bodegas Mauro Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León. The wine was so satisfying, delivering lots of blackberry, mineral and juicy fruit on the nose and palate. It was round, rich and velvety. It was just a baby but so fruity and delicious. 91 points, non-blind.
We drank it with grilled wahoo fillets with shrimp and grilled pork with a balsamic meat reduction. The starters of octopus and mango salad and tomato bruschetta were equally tasty. La Paila is a small, private restaurant called a paladar. These types of restaurants were very popular in the mid-1990s but they have dwindled in number due to tighter laws on the business. But occasionally a new one surfaces like the one I found last night.
The 14-seat restaurant was in the garden of a small house. The chef is the owner. I hear the phrase “home cooking” all the time to describe small restaurants around the world, but this really is home cooking!
It was a cool night in Havana as we enjoyed our meal and the hearty red. A cigar after the meal only enhanced the island experience. I am in Cuba for Cigar Aficionado at the moment, researching a number of articles as well as blogging about my comings and goings. Check it out. Adios para ahora.