Just this past weekend I began to plan my next trip into the mountains of North Georgia in search of the elusive… peace & quiet. This trip is a semi-annual event, but my New Year’s resolution was to make it tri-annual, the new addition going in February. Yep, it is mighty cold in them mountains this time of year, which is part of the reason I want to go. I do love the cold, but the hidden benefit to sub-freezing temperatures is that it keeps everyone else home. It also seems to keep the trout home, as they pretty much lie in one spot and wait for the currents to drop bugs into their mouths. They won’t even move much to one side or the other to increase their food-intake because it’s just too cold… so it becomes a game of patience; repetition and patience. It is certainly not for everyone, but like water passing over rock, time wears down the edges and smooths out all the rough spots. Did I mention it was cold? Did I mention I sleep in the back of my pick-up?
One way, friends have suggested, to warm up is with a smoke. I am not much of a cigar guy. I like one occasionally, maybe 3 or 4 times a year, but I don’t really know why. I also don’t drink much Porto, being that Florida is not the best place I know of for a wine like Porto, although I do enjoy them and I also understand why some folks really enjoy them, year round. I am lastly, not much of a booze drinker. In fact I almost never touch the stuff. Never drank vodka before, had rum once on a cruise (once was more than enough, but that story will remain secret) and I do like gin, with tonic, but I have not had one in 20 years! The one liquor I do enjoy, infrequently as it may be, is Cognac. And usually it’s with a cigar. If I don’t have Cognac with that rare cigar, I usually have Porto.
I used to enjoy Porto and cigars much more, when I lived in New York, where the seasonal changes and cooler temps just felt more like cigar weather. So in preparation for the February trek into the cold, peaceful Chattahoochee National Forest, I look past the usual line-up of Bordeaux, big Rhone reds and Cabernet in favor of something to warm my frozen bones (standing waist deep in very cold trout-infested water deserves some kind of reward!) and for that malady, there is just nothing better than a good cigar with a glass of Porto or Cognac!
Shayne Hebert, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Central Florida Wine Supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwineshayne