Sunday, November 24, 2013

Italian Classics

It seems winter is trying to muscle in on fall. The weather here today was chilly but sunny and I wanted a pairing that would help warm me up. As I normally do for pairings I went to my humidor first. I really couldn't decide on what cigar to smoke, so I changed tactics and went to my wine cellar and there I saw a bottle that reminded me of the perfect cigar I had aging in my humidor.

Cigar: CAO La Traviata

Wine: Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chanti Classico DOCG 2010

The Cigar:
In 2010, Cigar Aficionado magazine rated the CAO La Traviata as number 15 in their top 25 cigars of the year.

The cigar has a beautiful Ecuadorian Havana wrapper, a Cameroon binder and it's fillers are Nicaraguan and Dominican, giving this cigar wonderful complexity.
I smoked the "Radiante" size which is a nice 6x52. When I first lit it, the draw was perfect. The smoke was full but not overbearing. La Traviata started on a spicy note but then rounded out with flavors of dark chocolate and an almost nutty tone.
Even though this cigar had very good construction, I had a bit of canoeing due to a strong vain, but once I touched it up with my single flame torch lighter it burned fine. The burn did not take away from the flavor and enjoyment one bit.

The Wine: Being of Italian decent I love most things Italian, including my wine. When I first came upon the Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chanti Classico DOCG I actually bought it because of the name seeing that my last name is on the label. I am really glad I did.
I read that it received a 90 rating in Wine Spectator and thought that was a good start. Being a DOCG wine means that this wine also has good pedigree. But none of that means I will like the wine, but this one did not disappoint me.
From the minute I corked the bottle through my last sip I enjoyed this Chianti thoroughly.

It has a very deep ruby color and the nose was rich and deep. It was well balance and had wonderful hints of blackberry and some spice.

The blend is 80 % Sangiovese , 15% Merlot and 5%, Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a classic Chianti blend and this vintage was dry but not overly acidic. It is fermented in stainless steel barrels then aged another 9 months in smaller oak barrels rounding out it's smooth and deep flavor.

The Pairing: I have to admit that when I thought up this pairing I was playing on the classic Italian Chianti and the operatic themed La Traviata. I knew the basic flavors of both and thought it would pair well but this went beyond my expectations.

The nutty and chocolaty  notes of the CAO La Traviata blended extremely well with the dark and spicy notes of the Brolio Chianti Classico.

As for price, you really can't get hurt either. The CAO La Traviata unfortunately is a bit tough to find these days but if you do the toro size is only about $7.00. The Brolio is now on it's 2011 vintage which has also received high praise and it will only set you back about $12. Making this pairing not only perfect but extremely affordable. 

All I can say now is is Bravo and Encore! 

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Thank you for your interest. Enjoy!