vino rosso

The pairing between cigar and wine

“Drink the wine with respect,” he “will become your friend and you will only have joy and health.”
Luigi Veronelli

Wine is a product that derives from grapes, the latter given by the cultivation of the vine, a climbing plant.
Since ancient times it has always been considered a divine, pleasure drink, which had as its objective to create a convivial and friendly environment. Nowadays, where considerable attention is paid to the world of enogastronomy, this concept is even more marked and, among the various types of pairings that have been created over time between food and wine, one cannot fail to consider that between wine and cigar.
The cigar-wine pairing is one of the most difficult to achieve, however the dogma of the impossibility of this type of pairing must be totally eliminated since, if chosen with criteria, both products can give life to a priceless and rewarding experience.
In this article we will focus mainly on two types of wine: the white and the red ones, exclusively still.

The Italian definition and legislative classification of wine
According to Italian law, the word wine means the “product obtained exclusively from the total or partial alcoholic fermentation of fresh grapes, whether or not pressed, or of grape must.”
The legislative classification of wine includes innumerable factors, consequently in this article only the most basic one will be illustrated, based on the quality pyramid and the additional mentions that can be found on the label.

Pyramid of quality

Pyramid of quality wine

Starting from the lowest to the highest step:

Generic wines: without indication of the grape variety on the label (for example, red wine or white wine).

Varietal wines: with only the indication of the variety on the label, they can be of different types, in Italy there are seven:

  • Cabernet
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot
  • Sauvignon
  • Syrah

IGP (on the label): the wine comes from grapes grown at least 85% in the aforementioned province. Each wine of this denomination has its own production specification.

DOP (DOC, DOCG, on the label): the geographical name of a particularly suitable wine-growing area, used to designate a product whose characteristics are essentially or exclusively connected to the natural environment and human factors. Each denomination wine has its own production specification.

Additional mentions on the label

Classico: Wines produced in the oldest region.
Riserva: Aging not less than: 2 years for reds and 1 year for whites.

Superiore: The natural potential alcoholic strength of the grapes is at least 0.5% vol. higher.

The pairing between cigar and wine in detail
The set of gustatory elements of a wine, its structure and its aromatic complexity can be easily dominated by a cigar, for this reason it is good to take into consideration the structure of the wine and cigar in order to match them correctly.

Pairing cigar with red wine
Red wines are more suitable to be paired with medium-bodied cigars, however it is good to specify that it’s advisable to opt for young, fresh and ready-to-drink wines with a limited content of tannins: The tannin of the wine contrasts with that present in the tobacco totally canceling the pleasure of experience. Particular attention should be given to red wines aged in wood, in this case wines with good aging capacity round the astringency of their tannins, creating a bitter sensation in the last phase of the tasting that is difficult to combine with both Caribbean and Italian cigars.

Pairing cigar with white wine
White wines can be paired with light and medium-bodied cigars, also opting here for young, fresh and ready-to-drink wines.


In this article we have introduced the pairing between cigar and wine.
The pairings with wine are not limited only to gastronomy, but also extend into the world of slow smoking, especially with cigars. After giving a legal definition of wine and illustrating the pyramid of quality that classifies the various types of wine on the market and the additional mentions on the label, we have introduced some possible combinations between cigar and wine, focusing mainly on still red and white wines. In the next episodes we will deepen the topic by reviewing some wines and proposing proposing pairing with some cigars.



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Sommelier professionista (ASPI Associazione Sommellerie Professionale Italiana) in sedia a rotelle pubblicato a livello internazionale con svariate esperienze nella ristorazione e nella organizzazione di eventi. Scrive di abbinamenti sigari - bevande su Gusto Tabacco.