Pairing Port and Cigars

Graham’s 1994 Vintage Port has recently won an unusual accolade:  that of the best Vintage Port to pair with the Habano cigar Romeo y Julieta Belicoso.

Like Port, fine cigars are unique products of their region, agriculture, and processes of selection, curing, fermentation, ageing and blending.  The work is intensely manual and requires extraordinary attention to quality every step of the way.

Habanos SA, the world leader in the premium cigar market, sponsors the annual Festival del Habano, the world’s most prestigious Cigar event.  Held annually in Cuba, its wide ranging program includes events focussing on premium products to match with their cigars.  This year, the focus was on Port.  A preliminary event last November narrowed the field to just five port wines in each the Tawny and Vintage categories for pairing with two specific cigars.  On 1 March at the 14th Festival del Habano in Cuba, judges were asked to pick the best pairing of the Montecristo Edmundo with a Tawny Port and the Romeo e Julieta Belicoso with a Vintage Port, based on the tastes and sensations experienced.  The Ports were tasted blind.

Complex and full-bodied, Graham’s 1994 Vintage Port shows intense fruit aromas and a long finish of dark chocolate and ripe black fruit.  This extraordinary port pairs magnificently with the balanced and aromatic Romeo e Julieta Belicoso, a cigar produced from leaves entirely from the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba, widely regarded as producing the finest quality tobacco.

Not only did Graham’s win the Vintage pairing, but sister brand Dow’s 20 Year Old Tawny, known for its remarkable raisiny, dried fruit flavours, exquisite creamy texture and exceptionally long, lingering finish, was the winning Tawny for pairing with the Montecristo Edmundo.

5 thoughts on “Pairing Port and Cigars”

  1. Despite the reputation of the pairing, port is too sticky for a cigar. The stickiness on the lips pulls apart the end of the smoke. It doesn’t work. So, despite my ample fondness for port, of which G94 is an excellent example, with a cigar I prefer a dry English ale (e.g., Harvey Sussex, Timothy Taylor Landlord, London Pride), or a whisky. Port and cigar flatters neither.

    I realise that, on this blog, such dissent might be unwelcome.

    1. Hi Julian, no worries, dissent is not a problem when politely expressed, and we all have our preferences for Port pairings. It keeps life interesting!

  2. Nice to see our family tradition during the last twenty years officially approved.
    We have the habbit of finishing our birthday dinner with Cigars and Port. Both Vintage and LBV paired with the smoked, spicy and vanilla aromas of a good cigar are tasteful matches, which even can be enriched by a bite of dark chocolate of good origin. Last time we had the pleasure of Dow’s splendide LBV 2005, joined with Pocas wonderful VT 2007 with the best Danish Cigar handmade in Tivoli garden (Domingo tobaccos) – no stickiness here – only pure smoky Port pleasure.

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