Reading Time: 2 minutes If you’re a fan of Foundation Cigar’s Metapa cigar line, news is they’ve been re-branded to AKSUM. The original Matapa blend remains the same but why does the company say AKSUM “represents a significant chapter in the company’s journey.”
2018 CA Report: Top 10 Red Wine and Cigar Pairings
Updated January 2022
The 10 Best Cigars to Pair with Red Wine
Next to a dog, a premium cigar is the perfect companion. To be enjoyed alone or among friends, to celebrate those big moments in life (like the birth of a child, holidays, or anniversary), or after a tasty meal, maybe with a cup of coffee—or something a little stronger like bourbon, rum, brandy, or beer. But what about wine. And I’m not talking Mad Dog 20/20 or Ripple. Real wine. Red wine. Cigars and red wine are an oft overlooked pairing that can lead to a remarkable experience.
But Seriously, Why Do Cigars and Red Wine Go Together?
An interesting fact is that wine and cigars are made in similar ways. It all begins with tobacco or grape varietals, respectively. These seeds are cultivated in different climates and countries, yielding distinctive cigar leaves and fruit. Finally, comes the fermentation, blending, aging, and transformation into the end product.
While red wines vary in style from full bodied and bone dry to light and sweet, you’ll want to drink something on the dry side and with a fuller body. It’s this style of red wine that pairs exceptionally well with premium cigars.
These are 5 red wines that I enjoy and can recommend you try the next time you sit down to smoke a cigar.
These Spanish wines are aged a minimum of 3 years, and often longer. An exceptional wine to accompany a hearty meal and robust cigar. This deep and dry red delivers notes of dark cherries, leather, earth, tobacco, cedar, and dried fruits.
You can easily find an excellent quality and affordable Cabernet Sauvignon from California or Australia. The classic combination of a Cab and steak is equaled—if not surpassed—by enjoying this red with a premium cigar.
The classic French table wine. Lighter in body than both Rioja Reserva and Cabernet Sauvignon, Beaujolais Villages can stand up to beef and game meats as well as chicken and seafood. This red is delicate and subtle and is a great combination with your evening cigar.
This fussy and stubborn grape yields what’s widely considered the best and most expensive wines on the planet (just google DRC wine prices). But you can still find plenty of affordable and excellent quality Pinot’s produced in Oregon, Washington, and California. Like Beaujolais Villages, this red is nuanced and elegant, with notes of fruit and berries, and can be savored with a variety of food and cigars.
Known as Syrah in France and as Shiraz most other places, this full-bodied red is spicy, dry, and complex with notes of pepper and fruit. An Australian or California Shiraz is a perfect wine to have with a full-flavored cigar.
So, Tell Me Already, What Cigars Pair Well with Red Wine?
After much experimentation—and many bottles of vino and cigars—here’s a list of 10 cigars to try with a bottle of wine:
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos
This full-bodied and spicy Fuente is a favorite of many cigar enthusiasts. You’ll pick up notes of espresso, dark chocolate, cedar, black pepper, and baking spices. This elegant cigar pairs exceptionally well with Rioja Reserva or Shiraz.
Aging Room by Rafael Nodal Rare Collection
This collaboration between blend masters Rafael Nodal and AJ Fernandez is medium to medium plus in body and delivers notes of coffee, earth, baking spices, and cedar with subtle, but noticeable pepper. Pair the Aging Room Rare Collection with a Beaujolais Villages or Pinot Noir for an unforgettable treat.
Villiger Exclusivo 2020 USA
E.P. Carrillo has been on a bona fide winning streak with a stream highly rated and awarded cigar releases. Don’t overlook this Famous-exclusive Villager; it’ll entrance you with a nuanced medium bodied profile with flavors of cedar, baking spices, pepper, coffee, and sweetness. Enjoy this cigar with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz to experience a perfect pairing.
Padron 3000 Maduro
I shouldn’t have to sell you on how delicious the Padron Thousand Series are. These medium-plus to full Nicaraguan powerhouses are box pressed and display notes of coffee, hazelnuts, and dark chocolate. Try a Padron with a Beaujolais Villages or Rioja Reserva and delight in how the flavors of both cigar and wine marry perfectly.
HVC Serie A
Cubanesque gets thrown around a lot in the cigar world, but more often than not the cigar fails to live up to the hype. That’s not the case with HVC Serie A. This medium to full bodied blend delights with notes of nuts and caramel with an underlying floral element. HVC Serie A is a great match for Pinot Noir or Shiraz.
Drew Estate MUWAT Nightcrawler
This unheralded gem from Drew Estate is one of the best bangs for your buck cigars on the market. It pairs its affordable price tag with a host of premium flavors like coffee, chocolate, dark cherries, and bread. You can’t miss with enjoying this MUWAT alongside a Rioja Reserva or Beaujolais Villages.
El Gueguense – The Wise Man
Meaning ‘the wise man,’ this cigar from Drew Estate veteran Nick Melillo and AJ Fernandez features a spicy sweet Corojo wrapper and delivers an experience that’s chock full of flavor. You’ll want to have this cigar with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Rioja Reserva
Oliva Serie V Melanio
Unless you just landed on planet Earth, you’re familiar with the Oliva Serie V Melanio. A permanent resident of best of lists and a favorite among cigar enthusiasts, this blend is full flavored yet ultra-smooth. This profile lends itself to an exquisite pairing with a Beaujolais Villages or Pinot Noir.
I can’t see this cigar without singing that Commodores ditty in my head (she’s a…). Set that aside a minute, and you have a cigar that’s flown under the radar for far too long. Affordable and premium in every way, Brick House from JC Newman offers up that classic flavor profile that had many of us falling in love with cigars to begin with. Creamy with a side of spice, Brick House seems made to be enjoyed with Shiraz or Rioja Reserva.
Romeo y Julieta Eternal
The RyJ Eternal was so good it made our very own 10 Best Cigars of 2021 list. A collaboration between Rafael Nodal and the Plascencia family, this blend is a limited edition that features rare and aged tobaccos. The complex and balanced flavor profile—with nuances of baking spice, pepper, honey, and fruit marries perfectly with Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon.
The next time you’re getting ready to enjoy a premium cigar, take a look at having some red wine along with it for a superior pairing. Let me know your favorite wine and cigar combos in the comments below.