So, last night I hosted a dinner for 30 folks that was requested to be an evening of pairings. While it's common to have pairings of food and wines, often times the cigar portion is left out of the mix. BUT, when you have 30 cigar enthusiasts... it becomes a very important part of the overall equation. After a great deal of work (and pre-tasting) with the folks from Rothmann's Steakhouse and Andrew Bell (President of the American Sommelier Assoc) we came up with an evening that will be very hard to beat.
Tesch Konigschild Riesling Spatlese Trocken 2005 Nahe Germany (750ml)
Davidoff Grand Cru No. 4
The entrance was meant to set the stage for the evening. A German Riesling is hardly the first pick for any cigar, however in this particular case the two go together beautifully- each "filling in the blanks" for what the other didn't offer.
Chilled Seafood Platter (Oysters, Mussells, Clams, Scallops, Lobster tail, crab meat)
Moraga White 2007 Bel Air California Sauvignon Blanc (750ml)
The second pairing was a clean one. A cigar was not part of the pairing, allowing the palate rest, and focus on the delicacies of the seafood and the beautiful sauvignon blanc. This combination was really an easy sharing of flavors and offered a nice break after the first.
Bone in Rib Steak with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach
Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir 2004 (Magnum)
Camacho Corojo Diploma
The third pairing was 3 tiered, and really did require all three to make it work. We served the cigar and wine first. We encouraged people to light the cigar first. It was quite full-bodied, and too full for some. However, once the wine was introduced, it rounded out the intensity of the cigar... almost softening some of the edginess, and creating a great finish that was almost reminiscent of a great piece of meat before even eating the Rib Steak. Once the steak hit the palate it was a magical trio of flavor, each embracing the other and really performed like one great dish.
Chocolate Mouse Cake
Benessere Phenomenon " Super Napan" St Helena, California 2004 (750ml)
Quesada 35th Anniversary
The final pairing was also 3 tiered. Served in the same order as pairing three, the cigar and wine were served together. The "Super Napan" helped neutralize some of the cedar notes on the cigar, while showing its rich, dark ripe fruits beautifully. The Chocolate Mouse Cake's cool creaminess offered a texture change that helped make this trifecta exciting. A puff of the cigar would start to get your palate cooking. The wine balanced out some of the cigar's aggressiveness and further built up the intensity of flavors on the palate, and the bite of cake would then gently pull everything together and at the same time tame everything so you could do it all over again. The finish once the three were tasted in order was actually quite reminiscent of a Padron 1926 Maduro.