When in France...

When was the last time you had a glass of wine with a cigar?

I bet most of you will say never!

To be honest I was the same, until the last cigar club meet. A normal cigar night includes smoking a fine, rare, aged cigar with a small glass of whiskey, bourbon, or hell even a beer! But this night was different. This night we would try something that almost nobody does… drink wine with their cigar!

Cigars are normally seen as a little rough, masculine objects that should be paired with the same! When you change it up, it creates an odd image! Its like saying you should wear your yard work clothes while driving your BMW. Some things you just don’t do!

Until now…

The Circle City Cigar Club is known for having rare, aged and unique cigars. So when I sit down and do tons of research to find something different from normal, I set the bar high. I spend countless hours (ask my fiance…) I want something that has a great story.

Which led me to this amazing cigar we had, called the Cardinal Mazarin.

The cigar is produced by José Arnaldo Blanco III, a fourth generation cigar maker. He’s the CEO of Tabacalera Palma in the Dominican Republic. Cigars run in his blood. His great grandfather emigrated from Spain to the Dominican Republic in the mid 1800’s.

José took a trip some years back to Spain. He loves to visit vineyards and old churches. Spain is notorious for large, beautiful churches that date back 300+ years old! As a man that understands the importance of history, he was mesmerized by paintings created by “Old Masters” of the brush. These paintings depicted some of the extremely important religious figures in that regions history.

More importantly, the Cardinals. The Cardinals were Catholic priests that served directly under the Pope himself, and through much of ancient history, served as personal advisors to political figures. To get advice from a Cardinal was a direct answer as to what God Himself would want the political leader to do. So their opinions were held with high regard.

Cardinal Mazarin served as an Italian Cardinal, Chief Minister to the King of France from 1642 until his death in 1661. He was so important to France, that he essentially was the co-ruler of France along side the Queen. He organized laws and directions that defused insurrections that would have destroyed France. He also laid down the foundation that would later establish the European states’ foreign policy.

José knew that he wanted to dedicate a line of cigars to some of these Cardinals that he saw paintings of. He traveled home and used fine tobacco to create the French Collection. There was a downside though…

No one understood the background, history, story, and reason for a “French Collection” of cigars produced in the Dominican Republic. So rather than to sell them for dirt cheap, or destroy them all-together, he stashed them away into his private collection to smoke.

5 years later and we have our hands on a very rare and limited batch of cigars you can’t find anywhere else.

Now before you say, “I don’t like wine…” that is perfectly ok. Just as not everyone likes scotch or bourbon, I felt this is another, “When in France…” kind of mindset.

So I whipped out a Pinot Noir Bourgogne bottle of wine from Beaune, France. Bottled in 2017, it has had some time to rest, and was nothing too sweet or too dry for a new wine drinker.

The cigar being French inspired is best to be paired with a French wine.

How did the cigar hold up?

Wonderfully!! Hints of dried leather, sun dried peaches, and a sharp cedar. The final third had brought forth slight nutmeg and white pepper nuances. With a near perfect burn there were no touch-ups needed! The wine only accentuated the flavor profile.

A French red wine, with a French inspired cigar?

Oui, s'il te plaît! (Yes, please!)

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