Palladino Gavi Di Gavi 2006 comes from the high altitude Piedmont region of Italy. While I am familiar with Gavi Di Gavi wine, I’ve never attempted to drink it with a full body cigar. Most Gavi di Gavi wines tend to be milder and perfect for a meal, such as veal. This one attracted me because it was produced with 100% Cortese grapes by Master Barolo producer Maurilo Palladino. This Italian wine maker knows what he’s doing.
As for the cigar, I am pairing the Gavi Di Gavi wine with a Cuban Crafters’ Cubano Claro Julieta. The reviews of the Cubano Claro have all been fabulous, including a 4 cigar rating by the Stogie Guys, a well respected cigar review blog and 93 points by Smoke Magazine, the only magazine that I trust for ratings. One of the panelists who rated the cigar for Smoke Magazine even gave it an unheard of 95 while claiming it’s “A very elegant cigar that can be smoked any time of day. Smooth finish that I did not feel a need to wash away.” The first thing that you will notice with the Cubano cigar is the beautiful Desflorado wrapper. It comes from the Corona of the tobacco plant, the highest leaves in the tree. They tend to get more sun than the others and have more nicotine. Since the tobacco is shade-grown, the leaves will get reddish without the big protruding veins usually found in these types of leaves. Cubano Claro is handmade by Cuban Crafters Cigars and is packed in a vintage humidor style box. The cigar box comes with a humidifier and a humidor. I noticed that the hygrometer is made in Germany. It’s got to be old as I can’t recall seeing hygrometers made in Germany as the cost is presently too high. I would say that this box has at least 20 years on it. Supposedly it came from a large cigar maker that had them put away and never used. He traded the boxes for tobacco that he needed.
Back to the Gavi Di Gavi. It’s made to be served well chilled, so make sure that you drink it at the right temperature. The aromas are enticing and include peach and melon. It also has roasted nuts and raw almonds. At first the wine is fruity with light pineapple notes. The acidity is good, not too powerful. I can tell from the start that it will not affect the taste of the cigar. Citrus tends to impact your taste buds and will generally give any cigar a light bitter taste. In other words, stay away from citrus tasting wines when smoking. This wine is creamy, with berries and plums. Delightful for a Gavi Di Gavi. After a few sips, it’s time to light up the Cubano Claro cigar.
The burn is nice and the taste starts very smooth. From the start you taste the sweet spices. The medium bodied smoke has toasted nuts and cream. A perfect combination for the wine. I’m done with the first glass of wine and immediately pull the bottle out of the refrigerator to pour another. That first glass of wine went by too quickly. That’s usually a very good sign. The cigar is now transforming to deep complex tastes. It’s definitely getting stronger yet it’s still smooth. The transformation brings in coffee with cream, white chocolate and a butter like feeling on the tongue. The sweet spices are still around, with mild notes of nutmeg and a little cedar. All the tastes intermingle, making this a very enjoyable smoke that doesn’t get boring. The fruit and cream of the wine add to the experience.
The Cubano Claro’s taste intensifies past the half-way mark yet stays extremely smooth. It’s now full-bodied with more white chocolate than before. It’s just not as sweet as when I first started smoking it, yet still has sweet notes. The wine’s creamy fruit enhances the taste of the cigar, yet I can now sense a little lemon in the back. That concerns me, yet it hasn’t affected the cigar’s taste that much. I do sense a light dry ceder taste in the background that I had not sensed before. This could be the result of the wine, but the wine’s creamy and fruity taste overshadows it.
I’m down to the last quarter of the cigar. Definitely a full-bodied smoke by now. The coffee with cream, surrounded by layers of white chocolate, makes this a memorable moment. The wine’s creamy fruit tastes coats the tongue and adds to the pleasure. Definitely a good wine and cigar pair that I highly recommend. Both the wine and the cigar individually are a wonderful experience, but together add to each other. Do them together.