You might find it odd that I’m writing about cigars instead of my co-worker Dave, but I thought it would be appropriate given the time of year. This is the time of year that people look to get the best gift possible for that special someone. Even if it’s not for a special someone, a nice gift still wouldn’t hurt. Why not a buy a cigar with your next bottle of port, sherry, Madeira or red wine? Getting a friend, co-worker or boss a nice bottle of wine is great, but if you happen to know they also smoke a cigar every once in a while, why not make the gift better? It doesn’t cost much, and it makes the gift that much nicer.
Pairing a cigar with the right wine is like pairing food with wine, you have to know the characteristics of the cigar (as you must with a dish of food), so that you can complement those characteristics with the appropriate wine. There are bold, rich cigars that necessitate a rich wine, while on the contrary there are mild, soft cigars that require a delicate wine. There are even aged cigars that should be paired with older wines. Ever had a nice Cuban cigar while sipping on a glass of 30yr old port? If not, you are missing out… at least that is what I hear. It’s true that a good scotch or cognac goes well with cigars, but why do the same old thing when you could try something new. Isn’t that what life is about?
Lets get the basic cigar types down in writing. 1) Double Claro- The mildest of the cigars. 2) Claro- Mild and slightly spicy. 3) Colorado Claro- Medium brown in color, spicier in style. 4) Colorado- Has hues of red in the wrapper. 5) Colorado Maduro- Dark brown in color, popular aging cigar. 6) Maduro- Very dark brown, almost black. Bold and robust. 7) Oscuro/Double Maduro- The darkest of the cigars, and a recent popular style. Now let us pair the cigars with the appropriate wines.
Double Claro- The mildest of the cigars and a rare style, this is a cigar for the greens. Easy smoking with delicate characteristics, this is meant be paired with a mild and delicate wine; an aged white Burgundy, fino Sherry should do just fine or a chilled and mildly sweet Moscato d’Asti would be good also.
Claro- White pepper notes is prominent in these cigars so it is best paired with all of the mentioned above wines along with a young, vibrant Tokaji or good white Chateaunuef-du-pape.
Colorado- With hints of roasted nuts and spices, both pepper and baking spices, pairing this cigar with old port, 20yr and above, old red Chateaunuef-du-pape, old red Bordeaux and old red Burgundies would make this a match made in heaven.
Colorado Maduro- Some fruit notes, alongside wild flowers make this cigar a perfect pairing for most types of Pinot Noir and traditional Chianti.
Maduro- Leather, chocolate, and raisin are unmistakable in this cigar style so a modern Chianti, 10yr Tawny port, right-bank Bordeaux, Priorat, GOOD Syrah, Cotes-du-rhone, and many more reds would do well paired with this cigar style.
Oscuro- Like so many other things, the bigger the better. The Oscuro cigar is the boldest cigar style with the capacity to age unlike the rest. Young, this cigar should be paired with left-bank Bordeaux, California Cab Sauv, Shiraz from Australia, Super Tuscans, Malbecs from Argentina, and a few other wines since the resemblance between the cigar and the wine is uncanny. Let both the cigar and mentioned wines age and the pairing is almost magical.
Hopefully this is not only educational but also helpful. Enjoy!