Top 5 Red Wine and Cigar Pairings
I am delighted to share this blog written by Daniel Stauffer, a devout cigar enthusiast. Please see his bio at the end of this article. The ritual of selecting, cutting, and lighting a fine cigar beautifully parallels the ceremonious way that wine is poured, swirled, and tasted. This reverence that enthusiasts have for both makes each a natural fit when it comes to flavor pairing. Both offer a vast spectrum of complex flavor profiles and distinctive regional varieties. To help you find the right flavor combination between your wine and cigars, here are our top five red wine and cigar pairings.
Cabernet Sauvignon + Fuente Fuente OpusX
Cabernet Sauvignon is widely considered to be one of the most balanced and lush full-bodied wine varieties in the world. It offers flavors of stone fruit, cedar, and currants, and depending on the age and wine region, it can also present smoky and savory flavors, which makes it an excellent wine for pairing with an extensive range of foods. This versatility also makes it the ideal variety to pair with cigars.
This king of wines deserves to be paired with the king of cigars. The natural choice for a robust, flavor powerhouse such as a Cabernet Sauvignon is the favorite full-bodied cigar of aficionados everywhere, the Fuente Fuente OpusX.
Blended by legendary Dominican cigar-maker Carlito Fuente and rolled from tobacco leaves cultivated on the famous Chateau de la Fuentes estate, this cigar represents the pinnacle of fine smokes from across the globe. It features flavors of rich dried fruit, figs, and roasted coffee and finishes with an effervescent lightness that lingers long after you have finished smoking.
Syrah + Cohiba Esplendidos
Syrah grapes are responsible for producing some of the darkest, richest, full-bodied red wines on the planet. With intense flavors of sweet tobacco, allspice, and black fruit jam, Syrah wines need an equally aromatic and rich cigar to stand up to these robust flavors without being overwhelmed.
The Cohiba Esplendidos is widely considered one of the best Cuban cigars ever produced. The Esplendidos has rich, full flavors of baked apples, sticky cherries, and salted caramel, with an intense but smooth draw and luxurious mouthfeel.
Pinot Noir + Oliva Connecticut Reserve
Pinot noir is the perfect introduction to red wine for anyone who has yet to develop an appreciation for more full-bodied wine varieties. Its light color and floral and fruit notes are complemented by moderate acidity and a long, smooth finish. This makes Pinot Noir an easy and pleasant drinking experience for casual drinkers and connoisseurs.
Cigar enthusiasts often face a similar issue when first developing a taste for cigar smoke. Full-bodied, intense cigars can often overwhelm a beginner’s palate, leaving them unable to enjoy the complex aromas and flavors of the tobacco. When it comes to pairing light, refreshing Pinot Noir with a cigar, a mellow- to medium-bodied cigar is the ideal place to start.
The Oliva Connecticut Reserve features a natural Connecticut Shade wrapper and tobacco filler that is fermented for additional time to give the cigar a creamy smoothness. This smoothness develops into rich aromas of almonds and finishes with notes of sweet wood, coffee, and a pinch of pepper.
Grenache + E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic
Grenache grapes hail from Old World wine regions and are used to create some of the most celebrated and expensive wines in the world. However, regardless of high praise from winemakers and connoisseurs, Grenache wines are often overlooked in favor of the more crowd-pleasing Cabernet Sauvignon. The appeal of Grenache lies in its candied fruit notes and aromatic spices that temper the acidity and tannins to produce a smooth, medium-bodied wine.
A wine variety that is beloved by the wine industry deserves an equally beloved cigar pairing. Winning the coveted of Cigar of the Year award from Cigar Aficionado, the E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic represents everything that a cigar should be complex, refined, and impeccably crafted.
Made solely from three different varieties of Nicaraguan tobacco, the Encore Majestic offers flavors of tea and oak as well as unexpected notes of candied citrus peel to pair perfectly with the complex fruit flavors of a Grenache.
Tempranillo + Padron 1926 Serie
Tempranillo wines have a fine balance between the earthy aromas such as cedar and leather and rich fruits, which pairs wonderfully with medium-bodied cigars, including the Padron 1926 Serie.
Padron 1926 Serie was created in honor of Jose O. Padron’s 75th birthday and sources its tobacco entirely from Nicaraguan plantations to give it its unique flavor profile. It is available in both sun-grown and Maduro wrappers, but it is the subtleness of the sun-grown wrapper that makes the Padron 1926 Serie pair so well with tempranillo.
Every leaf of tobacco used in the Padron 1926 Serie is aged for at least eight years to ferment, giving the cigar a smoothness that is unparalleled in a medium-bodied cigar. However, beneath the mild smoke is a flavor combination that packs a powerful punch. Spices like cinnamon and cayenne mingle with cedar and dark chocolate, which perfectly complements the vanilla, clove, and fig notes found in fine tempranillo wines.
When it comes to pairing wine with cigars, it all comes down to the palate of the individual. While a good rule of thumb is to match the strength and flavor profile of the wine to your cigar, often cigars and wines can taste differently to different people. The key to finding the best wine pairings is to trust your instincts and hone your palate by learning about tasting wine. Once you have developed your palate, you will find that you can become more adventurous in your wine pairings.
Daniel Stauffer is a blogger and devout cigar enthusiast who first developed a love for fine tobacco after receiving a box of cigars from a grateful client. He has continued to refine his palate and explore the art of cigar smoking gaining valuable experience which he enjoys sharing with other cigar lovers across the globe.
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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