Fonseca Returns

Fonseca 1I can recall during the cigar boom back in the 1990s a lot of brands that jumped on the bandwagon and entered the market only to disappear several months later. I was a store manager in one of our early humidor stores at ABC and it seemed like there was just a revolving door of brands that came in and just as quickly exited. The major brands survived such as Macanudo, Partagas, Punch, etc. along with a handful of smaller brands like Torano and Sancho Panza and Fonseca. All have had varying success over the past 20+ years but unfortunately Fonseca disappeared from our store shelves many years ago due to poor sales. Personally I enjoyed the cigar but it got lost in a sea of Dominican cigars and with its plain brown wooden box and non-descript band it just fell from sight. But it still exists and does have a loyal following to survive this many years and 2016 saw Fonseca arise from years of living in the shadows to come back with a definite degree of excitement!

The Fonseca brand has long been known for producing mild to medium blends in their factory in the Dominican Republic. The brand is part of the Quesada family of cigars known for their Casa Magna line and Oktoberfest line of great cigars among others. In an attempt to revitalize the Fonseca name, Manuel Quesada looked to kick the flavor up a bit and create a cigar around $5 that would taste like it should cost $15. So he turned to one of the biggest names in tobacco, the Plasencia family in Nicaragua, to create that perfect blend. Plasencia used filler tobacco from Ometepe and Esteli and a wrapper from Jalapa to create a Nicaraguan puro that would be known as Fonseca Nicaragua. A lively new band for this new cigar and a bold black cabinet style box for packaging and an exciting new cigar hits the market! Continue reading

Florida Beer Friday: Legendary Milk Stout

In the spirit of St. Patricks Day, here’s a stout to keep the celebration going, Florida style. Due South Brewing’s Legendary Milk Stout provides a sweet, creamy taste from the use of cocoa nibs – as opposed to processed chocolate. With a sessionable  ABV of 5.6% and an you can enjoy this beer all night long!

Beer: Due South Brewing Legendary Milk Stout

Style: Stout

Look: Dark brown, almost black

Aroma: Coffee, chocolate, earthy

Flavor: Light malt, chocolate, coffee, cream

Tripp Dickinson, Contributing Beer Writer & Enthusiast

Speak St. Paddy’s

The Irish not only have a way with their whiskey and their beer, but with their words. All year long, their most adored phrases like “Top o’ the Mornin’!” have been itching to come out. Today is that day.

Whatever you’re drinking, wherever you’re drinking and with whomever you’re drinking, we want you to watch your mouth. Keep it full of Irish imbibes and Irish idiosyncracies all day long. Here are our five favorite Irish words and phrases; the sip we paired is optional, but at least get a few of these sayings in today!

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Wines Off the Beaten Path: Sardina, Italy

I’ve had the good fortune of visiting almost all of Italy, both as a wine professional and as an avid tourist, and I’m still surprised at how many people still think all Italian wine is just Chianti and Pinot Grigio. Some people know to branch out into the Piedmont and the Veneto, in the north of Italy, but what about Campania, Molise, Calabria, Apulia, Basilicata and the islands? Italy produces wine in every part of Italy, often with local varietals that you see nowhere else in the world. Today, with the Island of Sardinia, I begin an Italian wine journey that is “off the beaten path” in that these wines are not from Rome, Florence or Venice, but they are well worth the detour to discover another part of Italy’s ancient history.

IMG18.JPGFlying from Palermo, Sicily, we crossed over Mediterranean blue waters to arrive in Cagliari, Sardinia’s largest city, which reminds me of Nice, France. This ancient island of jutting volcanic rock, craggy coastlines, ancient forests and endless plains happens to produce two of my favorite Italian wines: Vermentino and Cannonau. Santa Maria La Palma makes two versions of Vermentino and one Cannonau that are carried by ABC. Begun as a cooperative agricultural venture in 1959 in the Nurra area, Santa Maria La Palma embraces their unique terroir to create wines that truly express the natural beauty of this ancient island. There are no counts or barons, just local growers working together in the true meaning of cooperation. Continue reading