Cigars and wine are two things that you don’t often hear mentioned together. Sure, we all know about port being a natural companion but when it comes to pairings, whiskey and brandy seem to be the more standard partners. This is why it has been fun the last two years to integrate cigars into the San Destin Wine Festival. The response from those enjoying the cigars, mostly women mind you, was overwhelmingly in favor of the relationship.
For those of you who have attended our in-store events, having a cigar table is fairly common practice. After all, cigars are not only a rich part of our history at ABC but are also an important part of Florida’s culture and heritage as well. Getting to discuss this and expose this culture to folks at events outside of ABC is always a pleasure. As someone who really loves all that encapsulates the cigar world, I enjoy sharing and spreading that knowledge and history with people who haven’t yet had the opportunity to educate themselves. Most attending these large wine events are there to have a good time but also learn something about the products that bring them pleasure and help them relax after a long day or week.. I find that they are equally inquisitive about cigars. I get some of the best questions concerning cigars at wine events.
With so many misconceptions about cigars, the most common being that get lumped in with other tobacco products, it’s always good to get a chance to set the record straight. A cigar’s sole purpose is to provide an extended time of relaxation for people who spend most of their lives running in our fast-paced, cyber-driven society. Picking up a cigar and a lighter forces you to set down your phone, if only for a moment. If you enjoy the experience then the chances of you reaching for that phone, for the next hour, is very small. Of course, it’s impossible to tweet, check email, or Facebook if you are holding a wine glass and a cigar. This is just another reason why these two make a perfect pairing.
We often get caught up in the physical pairings as they relate to flavor profiles but don’t let this over complicate things for you. Yes, some of the more delicate wines will get overpowered by cigars but don’t let this stop you from experimenting. Just keep things simple. Match up milder cigars with white wines and save your more full-bodied smokes for the bigger reds.
So, before you reach for that bottle of scotch or bourbon as you head out on the patio for your evening cigar, see what wines you have lying around. I’ve convinced myself that I haven’t found the perfect cigar/drink pairing yet and it will probably take me the rest of my life to find it. But isn’t the best part always the chase?
Chris Gwaltney, certified tobacconist
Follow me on Twitter @abccigarchris