If you have checked out Buzzfeed in the past few years, you can see there has been a noticeable increase in wine drinking, particularly with young professionals. Now being Italian, I have been involved in the wine culture since I learned how to walk, which is around the same time I learned how long to let the crushed grapes sit and ferment. The popularity of wine is increasing so much, I feel that a lot of new wine drinkers don’t appreciate a good bottle anymore. They prefer cheap, young red wines, but they are missing out on some amazing experiences. So I decided to make a pairing with some of my favorite wines, with each of these aged at least three years for maximum flavor.
Now some of you may notice a lack of any white wines on this list. This is not a jab at white wine drinkers, I however feel that a hearty red can pair up much better with a cigar. An aged Cabernet Sauvignon can literally change your life. It is a full-bodied red, with a small amount of spice and some great dark, rich flavors. Notes of sweet pepper, dark cherries, and leather swirl around your mouth with every sip. This is a great companion for the Camacho Triple Maduro. With its maduro filler, binder, and wrapper, you won’t find a more flavorful, rich smoke then this, which makes this pairing a no-brainer.
The two best words I have to describe a Merlot would be smooth and sweet. Compared to a Cabernet, it is slightly milder and has much less tannin then its fuller-bodied brother. There are sweet notes of plums, raisins, and a clean, smooth finish. Merlot is one of the most underrated wines, but you can find a great one for relatively cheap. A nice Jericho Hill from The Crowned Heads proved to be a great partner-in-crime. Its dark maduro wrapper paired up in terms of sweet, smooth flavor. Both were more medium in body, so not one flavor was overpowering the other.
This bold pairing seems almost too good to be true. Petite Sirah is a popular choice, yet is very limited. This grape is grown on less then 10,000 acres grown worldwide. However, due to its bold, rich flavor, including notes of dark chocolate and blueberry, it's become a fan favorite. It has a higher tannin count, so expect a little bit of bite, but after a little age this baby is just about perfect. When I drank my first sip during the pairing, I tasted a rich, chocolaty note and knew the Undercrown would be the perfect choice. Bold, smooth, and rich is the best way to describe this pairing. For the true, bold aficionado, this is an easy recommendation.
Hailing from the sunny peninsula, I had to throw in one of my favorite Italian reds. Aglianico is perfect for the fan of rustic, full-bodied wine. It is grown exclusively in the southern regions of Italy, particularly with my paisans in Campania. Notes of leather and black fruit can be expected with a new vintage, but a few years of age adds in lovely flavors of figs and leather. This is a real connoisseur's choice because of its strength and its complexity. I chose another complex smoke, going with my morning favorite, the Ashton Maduro. Now, while the cigar is more of a mellow-to-medium, the abundance of flavor from its Broadleaf wrapper ensures that the wine does not overpower it. I can image sitting in a villa, wine and cigar in hand, slicing up some figs and buffalo mozzarella.
For some reason, Malbec is never my first choice, yet I am never disappointed after trying it. It is a solid medium body that is grown all over the world from France to Argentina. It is primary known for its fruit-filled flavor profile, offering notes of plums, cherry, and blackberries. While other notes sneak their way through, it is the distinct fruity flavors that made my cigar an obvious choice. The Alec Bradley Tempus Maduro has a great blast of dark rich flavor, including heavy notes of black cherry. With both items settling in the medium body area, this is a boutique choice.