When your friend calls you up and says “Hey! They just opened a cigar bar near me. Let’s go!” you grab your cigar accessories, head out to what hopes to be a pleasure-filled evening of over-stuffed chairs, billowing clouds of tobacco smoke and libations, wine is probably the last thing you are considering to pair with your cigar.
In fact most serious wine connoisseurs thumbs-down any notion of wine sharing a palate and taste-buds with a cigar, noting that cigar smoke impedes the ability to detect all of the deeper nuances of a fine wine.
This may indeed be true, yet as many cigar aficionados will attest, the pairing of wine and cigars can certainly be a hugely satisfying endeavor. And that is what it is all about, doing what brings you pleasure despite any political correctness, snobbery or just plain fear of that which is misunderstood.
So let’s throw caution to the wind and dive into the world of wine and cigars.
With so many different wines, from different countries and with incredibly varied availability based upon climate conditions and quality of harvests, it is difficult to zero in on particular brands or vintages with any consistency, so we will focus mainly on the varietals or the types of wine and leave it to you, the cigar enthusiast, to decide which particular cigar blends and cigar sizes to pair with which labels or vintages that form the ideal pairing to suit your tastes.
Nevertheless, it is no secret that red wines are considered the most cigar-friendly choices, offering varying degrees of body and taste.
The first and foremost amongst cigar pairing favorites are wines made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape.
From youthful and sweet to well-aged and oaky, Cabernet Sauvignons generally offer deeply textured flavors and a sturdy enough character that will stand up against many of the great premium cigars, the best Cuban cigars in particular.
Any number of Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Chile’s Maipo Valley will prove magnificent complements to Cuban Montecristo cigars, such as the Montecristo Edmundo.
Blends built around Cabernet Sauvignon are also great cigar partners and cover
an enormous range of possibilities.
Other reds such as Argentinian Malbecs have recently come on strong to be favorite cigar-wines, as has several savory Italian varietals, the vibrant Barbera chief among them.
Spanish wines, especially Tempranillo and Garnacha based wines from Rioja, have found quite a following amongst those who enjoy wine and cigars during dinner and conversation.
A Cuban Cohiba Siglo IV is perfect for such times.
Pinot Noir is, of course, another fan favorite, yet a little trickier to pair with cigars in that many fine Pinot Noirs are of a more delicate nature and sometimes can be overwhelmed by the tobacco.
Syrah, Petit Sirah and livelier Zinfandels are wonderful wines to keep handy, as some of the bolder varieties offer voluptuous flavors and textures that will satisfy both those who enjoy fortified wines, such as Port, as well as those who find fortified wines to be a bit too much.
The list goes on and on.
From Australia to France, South Africa to Austria every corner of the United States and beyond, there are red wines that will join with cigars to ignite the taste-buds like never before.
Yet red wines are not the only cigar-worthy options. The realm of white wine also offers up some fantastic partnerships. There are indeed many white wines that just don’t match up well with cigars, but the ones that do will grant the adventurous incredibly gratifying experiences.
Chardonnay is naturally the main event for all white wine and cigar pairings. Well-oaked or buttery Chardonnays form great duets with lighter smokes, especially many cigars that feature a Connecticut Shade wrapper.
A Gurkha Status is a stunning complement to a variety of Chardonnay wines.
An uber popular wine that often gets dismissed as a cigar sipper is that most German of wines, Riesling. Available in a plethora of styles, Rieslings can range from super sweet to super dry with all points in between, offering all kinds of cigar pairing delights.
A balanced Riesling Spatlese from Germany’s Mosel River Valley will add just the right amount of sweetness and minerality to a pairing with the best Cubans, such as a supple Cuban H. Upmann Coronas Major.
Sparkling wines are of course a luxurious option that makes cigar smoking escapes as lavishly delicious as any other.
From the most famous of sparklers French Champagne to California’s finest, Italy’s Proseco and Spain’s Cava, sparkling wines will add opulence to any cigar experience.
Cuban Cohibas have never tasted so good!
From hearty reds to succulent whites, from bone dry vinos to wildly sweet dessert wines, these are but a few of the endless opportunities to create an entertaining and sumptuously satisfying wine and cigar adventure.
Of all of the cigar pairing libations, pairing with wine is indeed the one that requires the most experimentation due to so many variables, but one that will no doubt bring many hours of pure sensory joy to all those who take the time to learn the intricacies of each varietal, vintage and locale, all the while remembering to keep mental notes (if not written) of flavors, textures, styles, etc. that seem to have the most positive impact on the cigar smoking experience.
So pop the cork, spark up the cigar and enjoy one of life’s most titillating treasures.
Thanks for reading!
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