Cigar Pairings

8 Wine and Cigar Pairings

Holt's Staff Cigar's picture

Holt's Staff

The preparation and ritual employed in anticipating the taste of a fine bottle of wine—removing the cork, the pouring, the swirling, the settling, the clinging of glasses—in many ways overlaps the ceremony of selecting, cutting, and lighting a fine cigar. There is something inherently natural about pairing a fine wine with an equally fine cigar. Both share broad and distinctive global origins. Both deliver an expansive spectrum of tastes, textures, and flavors. And, both enjoy long-standing traditions of pride and excellence from their makers. The key to creating a perfect match is contingent upon finding a suitable balance between competing strengths and flavor profiles. Quality spirits and tobaccos can seamlessly blend together as easily as they can repel each other, thus it is imperative to evaluate their respective qualities and pair them in complementary fashions.

Breaking Them Down

There are a multitude of brands, plant varietals and growing regions for both wine and cigars. Wines can be more easily split into two distinct categories: reds and whites; while cigars can be separated by their individual fullness of body, blend and wrapper varietal. These attributes make matching wines and cigars easier once we understand the ways they can be complementary. A strong, rich red wine will match best with a medium to full-bodied cigar so that the alcohol content and mouth-coating density of the wine does not overpower the tobacco. Similarly, a dryer white wine is often embraced by a mild to medium-bodied cigar, in many instances with a Connecticut, or Ecuador Connecticut, wrapper leaf capable of delivering silky and creamy flavor.

The boundless extent of wine and cigar pairings presents an exciting challenge. A keen sense of smell and taste is required to register the most agreeable combinations. To get you started off in an encouraging direction, we’ve put together eight suggestions for matching the right wine with the right cigar. Take our tips into consideration and put your next wine and cigar marriage together like a matchmaking maverick!

Mild to Medium-Bodied Cigar and Wine Pairings

Perhaps you’re planning an afternoon picnic in the park, or you’re simply having a pre-game drink and cigar before a big dinner extravaganza or a black tie affair. The key is that you want to keep it mellow and flavorful, or you want to stay prepared for a prolonged experience without indulging in an overly potent combination. Arturo Fuente Hemingway cigars have a delightful essence of earth, spice, and brown sugar, culminating in a medium-bodied profile that would pair well with a similarly moderate Pinot Noir or a fruit-forward Grenache. Bright flavors that develop with an even keel without burning out too quickly, or lingering for hours, make an ideal match for iconic cigars like Hemingway Classic and Hemingway Short Story, depending on how much time you have to kill. Lighter whites are a bit softer than their red counterparts, so stick with an oaky Sauvignon Blanc or a rich and buttery Chardonnay. The light and sweet portraits these wines furnish underscore the luscious balance the Cameroon wrapper delivers over an aged recipe of Dominican binder and filler tobaccos in Arturo Fuente Hemingway.

Ashton Cabinet is an equally satisfying cigar when you have a lingering desire for a rich white wine. Luxuriant notes of toasted nuts and buttered toast display a touch of sweetness around the edges thanks to a golden Connecticut Shade wrapper. The blend effortlessly fuses with a smoky Sauvignon Blanc or a deep and creamy Chardonnay. 

Medium to Full-Bodied Pairings

Maybe you’re solving a math problem, or you simply didn’t care for dinner and need to feed your senses something more palatable and memorable before you hit the hay. Medium to full-bodied wine and cigar pairings are a great way to make concentrating easy, or to forget all about the laborious day you had. When you’re in the mood for an enhanced cigar strength, but not too overpowering, there are a number of exemplary medium to full-bodied cigars you can partner with a variety of celebrated wines. La Aroma de Cuba Noblesse is a prized, ultra-rare release, constructed entirely of proprietary tobaccos from the Garcia family estates in Estelí, Nicaragua, beneath a glistening Cuban-seed Rosado wrapper grown in Ecuador. Noblesse deftly melds notes of earth, cocoa, oak and almonds with signature Nicaraguan spices that harbor a versatile appeal. Noblesse is an idyllic match with a well-rounded Merlot, a spicy Malbec, or even a bright and moderately fruity Tempranillo.

The highly regarded Rocky Patel Decade resonates with notes of earth, cedar, and spices, followed by the sweet aftertaste of almonds and black cherries. The delectable transitions Decade presents deserve a worthy counterpart from a malty Merlot or a dense and peppery Malbec.

Perdomo Champagne Noir reveals a robust profile courtesy of a Nicaraguan wrapper leaf patiently aged in a bourbon barrel. Profound spices outline notes of dark chocolate, espresso beans, and cedar with a delicious sweetness that fits in beside any medium to full-bodied, sweeter red wine, including Merlot or Malbec, as well as a silkier, after-dinner Port.  

Full-Bodied Cigar & Wine Pairings

When depth, density and decadence characterize your cravings for a wine and cigar pairing, we have a handful of undeniable selections guaranteed to mesmerize the senses. Because fuller-bodied wines typically possess more tannin and a higher alcohol content, a bit more consideration is required in selecting the best cigars.

When you have to mull over your next chest move, or you’re preparing a hostile takeover in the boardroom, or even if you’re crafting a research paper for a philosophy class, mining into the depths of thought is appropriately aided by a big, full-bodied red wine with a potent cigar in tow, paired to flank your entire palate and leave no olfactory sense unstimulated. Because of the seriousness of the situation, it is all the more called for that your selections exhibit smoothness with aplomb. San Cristobal is an exemplary model of such balance, with its pronounced Nicaraguan profile of black cherries, dark chocolate, earth, spice and leather. Pick up a hefty Bordeaux, or Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly varieties characterized by dark fruit flavors, such as black currant, or a profile of peppery black licorice.

Equally illustrious, a potent combo of Bordeaux, Cabernet or Syrah meets with Ashton VSG, and guarantees victory over the potential of being left with dull and muted senses. A succulent Ecuador Sumatra wrapper is aged for eons and blankets a substantial recipe of vintage Dominican tobaccos in Ashton VSG, handcrafted by the legendary Fuente family. Able to embrace wines that bend in either the sweeter, or spicier, spectrum is an advantage VSG possesses in spades, thanks to distinguished notes of espresso, leather and raisins with a chewy and delightfully peppery aroma.

If spice is a prerequisite for satisfaction, the bestselling Oliva Serie V is drafted from a dominant combination of Ligero tobaccos beneath an oily Cuban-seed wrapper grown in Ecuador. Explosive notes of cracked black pepper and hickory with a touch of honeycomb keep up with ‘depth-defying’ spices that certain aged Cabernet and Bordeaux wines display, especially when they offer a bit of caramel in the profile to temper the kick. The exquisite, full-bodied stature of the My Father brand readily fits into a similar equation with an amplified profile of cayenne and black pepper along with notes of cedar and sweetened nuts. What more could you possibly fathom when in search of a great cigar and wine combination?

End Game

Build an amazing barometer for flavor by indulging in the perfect marriage of grapes and tobacco, as interpreted by highly skilled, artisanal blenders obsessed with taste, tradition, and quality. We hope our recommendations serve you well in your pursuit of patiently aged and tastefully crafted pairings designed to gratify and pass time with an enticing and welcome reflection.

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