Cigars and wine might not sound like a familiar combination, as pairing them often goes overlooked for the sake of stronger liquors. Legendary pairings like cigars and brandy, whisky, or rum tend to steal the spotlight.
However, as both cigars and wine go can become comparably luxurious collectibles, they both have plenty of potentials to form an exquisite duo. Among the factors that should be taken into consideration when pairing wine with cigars are characteristics like flavor and color of the wine and smoke time and intensity of the cigars. For those who don’t like to experiment on their own, there are plenty of already established duos that go together exceptionally well.
Whether you buy wine online or get it at your local liquor store, follow our recommendations and tips below to learn more about pairing cigars and wine.
Before you decide on a particular wine bottle to go with your cigar, there are a few things to consider first. The general “like-with-like” pairing rule says that young wine should be paired with new cigars, and aged wines should be enjoyed with cigars that had some time to mature. Aged wines are usually stronger taste-wise, so they go better with bolder aromas.
Red wines are often aromatic and have fuller, more distinctive flavors, so it’s a great idea to drink them while smoking full-bodied cigars. However, white wines aren’t strong enough to compliment the taste of cigars well enough, so most people tend to avoid this duo. Still, it’s rather a matter of personal preference than an inviolable principle.
Additionally, pairing wine and cigars often boils down to finding two complementary flavors. For example, a sweet cherry wine should work well with a cigar that has some hints of almonds, just like cherries and almonds taste great together eaten raw or baked into a cake. If you decide on an earthier wine, you should opt for a full-bodied cigar, preferably with hints of leather or pepper, so the wine doesn’t overpower the cigar.
Rose wine offers both red and white wine traits, meaning that while it doesn’t go will all cigars, some enjoyable combinations can be created. While drinking rose, you should go for medium-bodied cigars that will enhance the fruity notes of your beverage.
What is more, both wine and cigars, especially when enjoyed at the same time, can leave your mouth feeling dry, so don’t hesitate to keep a glass of water nearby, as sipping on it in between will ensure that your taste palette stays fresh.
The flavor might seem like the most important factor that comes into play when pairing wine with cigars, but you should take several other things into account before you decide on your perfect duo.
Another factor to consider is the color of the cigar and wine, which determine how they will blend together visually. When thinking about the color of both items, it is best to assume that dark cigars should be paired with red or dark wines, while lighter cigars should be paired with white or light-colored wines.
It is essential to keep in mind that a typical cigar should last between 45 minutes to an hour of smoking, depending on the size of the cigar. The longer the smoke time, the more intense the tobacco flavor will become.
If you want to enjoy a smokey flavor, you should look for cigars infused with similar, bold notes like coffee or pepper and pair them with rich-tasting wines. Smokey flavored wines include South African pinotage or Chilean red grape carménère.
The intensity of the cigar should also come into play when pairing cigars and wine. If you are smoking a mild cigar, you should opt for a lighter wine. However, if you are enjoying a strong cigar, you should opt for a darker wine to help balance out the flavors of both items.
There are three primary sources of tobacco used in hand-rolled cigars: Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. Nicaraguan cigars tend to feature a medium body with molasses and cocoa notes, and Honduran tobacco is characteristically spicy with hints of pepper and earth. Finally, Dominican tobacco leaves produce milder smoke with notes of citrus and coffee.
When pairing wine with cigars made from different tobacco types, it is best to pair Honduran and Dominican smokes with spicy wines like zinfandel or chianti and Nicaraguan smokes with red wines like syrah or cabernet sauvignon.
Whether you are pairing cigars and wine to enjoy a delicious snack or as an accompaniment to your meal, it is vital to consider the flavor, color, intensity of both items, as well as smoke time and alcohol content.
While certain combinations might sound appealing, it is up to you to try them and decide what works best for your personal taste. By combining different factors, you can create a unique match that works well for your taste palate.