Pairing the right wine with the right cigar can elevate the whole experience to another level altogether, especially with the modern tools available nowadays to aid the pairing process. It’s a trick as old as cigars and wines themselves, and this is one trick worth learning for any wine connoisseur out there. Today, you are about to learn a few tips to make it happen with ease every time.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
Although this idiom was not exactly created with wines and cigars in mind, it conveys the necessary message here perfectly. A strong wine needs to be paired with a strong cigar, and a light wine must be complemented by a mild/mellow cigar. That’s the simplest and also one of the more important basic rules of wine and cigar pairing.
The Cigars Must be in Perfect Condition
In order for a pairing to work, it is taken for granted that each cigar in your humidor is in its prime condition. Look for a viable best cigar hygrometer to ensure that is indeed the situation, or the cigars will not be fit for any kind of pairing whatsoever. A humidor that isn’t properly and regularly regulated with a reliable hygrometer will not be able to prevent the cigars in it from drying out or catching mold/mildew.
Red Wine is the Default Choice
Red wines are known for their bitter taste, which makes them ideal for cigar pairings. Now, red wine is a general term which can mean so many things, depending on its origin, winemaking process and the flavors added to it. Therefore, don’t think that you can simply pair any red wine with any cigar.
Nevertheless, the natural bitterness of red wines does complement most mild-strong cigars quite well. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tawny Port, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are the top five red wines you should stick with while pairing red wines and full bodied, smoky cigars.
A Few Examples: Pairing Reds with Smokes
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s now take a look at preset cigar + red wine combos that are well known for complementing each other:
- Cabernet Sauvignon and a strong, full bodied Dominican Puro, such as the Fuente Fuente OpusX
- Pinot Noir and a Nicaraguan, smooth-bodied cigar like the Oliva Connecticut Reserve Robusto
- Zinfandel with a strong, full-bodied Nicaraguan, namely the Tatuaje Reserva Gran Cojonu or the Joya de Nicaragua Antano
- Shiraz and a spicy, bitter-sweet, full-bodied Dominican Puro like the tried and ‘tasted’ Arturo Fuente Don Carlos
- Tawny Port complemented with a Drew Estate Java or a Perdomo Champagne; basically, any proper, medium-bodied Nicaraguan
None of the combinations here will let you down, as long as your cigars and wines are authentic and in perfect condition. But as a cigar and wine afficionado, don’t be afraid to experiment a little from time to time, especially with the flavors. You might find a unique pairing more suited to your own personal tastes and likings.