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Jul 14, 2012 06:04 PM

wine pairings for cigars

My friend owns a cigar shop and is trying to organize a wine tasting, and participants are asked to bring a wine that pairs well with cigars. Are there certain wines or characteristics of wines which would pair well with cigars? One thing I don't want to happen is to have the wine overpowered by the cigar taste and smoke.

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  1. I'd choose things with similar and powerful aromatics to get at a "surround-sound" flavor experience:

    Madeira, especially malmsey.
    Older ports (20 years plus) that have developed roasted nut, dried fruit and spice aromas. Tawnies, late-disgorged, etc.
    Pedro Ximenez, but those with some power, like the Venerable from Domecq
    Oloroso Sherry, like the Sibarita -- the aromatics are the link here
    Amarone, but not a watered down version. The 2006 is good; avoid the 2008 because it's thin. See the list here:

    Enough for now.

    5 Replies
    1. re: maria lorraine

      The Blandy 5 year Malmsley Madeira has become my poor man's port, with both cheese and cigars. Your fortified wine & cigar pairings are surprisingly spot on, for a girl.....:)

      1. re: maria lorraine

        TO THE OP:

        OK, I'll confess I never had a cigar with an Amarone, but I know from first-hand experience that the others recommended by ML *can* work . . .

        My problem is that there is -- IMHO -- ***no way*** that the aromatics and flavors of a cigar will not affect the aromatics and flavors of the wine. I don't know about you, but the flavors of the cigar last on the palate far longer (and more intensely) than any Porto, Sherry, or Madeira.

        Also, there is a point at which older Porto becomes more delicate and can be overwhelmed by the cigar. When we had an active "Vintage Port & Cigar Club" back in the 1980s, we would always drink three bottles of Vintage Porto. A typical meeting would include 1) something from a vintage prior to World War II; 2) something from the 1940s or 1950s; and 3) something from the 1960s or early 1970s. It was only with the youngest Porto that we would light up.

        Since then, however, I've come to prefer spirits with my cigars -- Armagnac or Rhum Agricole are my favorites -- or espresso. If I am going to have wine with a cigar, I'll opt for a Madeira -- a Malmsey, as ML suggests.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            ""surround-sound" flavor experience"

            Could you state another way what you mean by this? Quadrophonic?

            1. re: FrankJBN

              Quadraphonic???? In 1970, sure. Lots better sound technology now than 40+ years ago.

              The surround-sound metaphor means amplification and multiplication of flavors through flavor mirroring.

          2. ML has hit many of the "high notes," and with Ports, I lean very heavily to Tawnies vs VP's. I will also add many bigger Zins to the mix. I love the Turley's, the Biale's and similar, with my cigars.

            Being a cigar fan, I admit to sampling many with many - wines that is. Lighter wines pale (and my cigars are usually medium body), and loose ALL character. It takes a much sturdier wine to keep showing with the cigars.

            ML's Amarone suggestion is also a real fav. of mine, but then her other suggestions work for me too. Other than the Zins, I have noting to add to her post.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              I've sometimes paired a cigar with a 4 puttonyos Tokay...worked pretty well...

              1. re: penthouse pup

                I have never done that, but as it sounds like fun, perhaps I will do so soon. I think that I might be using a 5 puttonyos, as I do not recall having a 4 around, but that is moot.



            2. Then why is everybody complaining when I want to light up a smoke at a wine tasting?

              I often see this question at cigar forums where, just as here I am sure, people would be aghast at the idea of trying to pair wines and cigarettes

              Fortified wines and cigars can work - try a Fonseca and a Fonseca.

              I do not pair smokes with table wine. I don't think it works well.

              5 Replies
              1. re: FrankJBN

                >>> Then why is everybody complaining when I want to light up a smoke at a wine tasting? <<<

                Not really a *serious* question, was it?

                1. re: zin1953

                  No, not really.

                  However at wine samplings, which are tastings of a sort, I have seen more than several cigars being smoked, in line, at service table etc.

                  I'm a smoker of cigars and cigarettes. As noted above, I don't think they go with wine and indeed interfere with even the casual critical tasting/enjoyment of wine.

                  1. re: FrankJBN

                    Unless I was doing a personal event, and pairing my cigars with my wines, well after the meal, and other wines, I would never mix. Cigars are rather personal, and many would be very unhappy to have me sharing mine with them, unless they joined in a "separate" event. Just my approach.


                    1. re: FrankJBN

                      Depends on which you are enjoying more. Often it's the cigar I'm interested in over the beverage

                  2. re: FrankJBN

                    As to 'Port and cigars in the war room, gentlemen.', we should remember that probably those retiring for port and cigars had probably polished off a couple whiskey and sodas and a few bottles of claret before hand. Toasting more than tasting was the order of the night, and I don't mean the Queen.

                  3. I gave up on any wine with a cigar many years ago as trying to find the lesser of evils. I enjoy my wine too much to hobble it with a cigar. Go with a 15 year El Dorado Demarra Rum, a good beer - or - water!

                    1. I've been mulling over this for a few days now. I too basically don't think cigars and wine "pair" well. But then again, I don't care for the Real Housewives franchise either. And I suspect our OP won't be telling his buddy, "Hey, all the genieses over on Chowhound said your idea sucked so you should cancel."

                      It occured to me that I've smoked a cigar and drank wine at the same time and had fun, and maybe that is the point. Maybe I need to expand my notion of pairing beyond the idea of two things that flawlessly mesh with each other. Instead, what wines would be fun to bring to event like this?

                      Well, an obvious one might be Cosentino's Cigar Zin. If no one else stumbles upon it, you'd be a hero.

                      Bonny Doon's Le Cigare Volant. I little spendy and cigare means something totally different here but hey, it is a cigar event.

                      Smoking Loon Syrah. Hey, it's afforable and has smoking in the name.

                      SeaSmoke. It isn't affordable and it won't pair well at all but the one wine geek in the group will be your best friend.

                      Any big-*ss Aussie shriaz that should come co-packed with a toothbrush. If it is dark enough to use as tattoo ink, it should hold up okay against a cigar.

                      Oh, and what they said before about Port and Sherry and Madiera and Tokay, I think that stuff works too