Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Treat

It's the holiday season and this is always the time people break out the "good stuff".
Personally I think any day you are off work or get together with friends you should always break out the good stuff but, it does seem that we save things for special occasions.

The good things in life should always be shared and a fine wine an great cigar are no exception.

So in the spirit of the holidays I broke out my good stuff and decided to share my thoughts with you.

CIGAR: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Belicoso

WINE: Michele Chiarlo 2006 Barolo Tortoniano

The Cigar: I have been a cigar smoker for over 30 years, one of my first cigars ever was an Arturo Fuente 8-5-8. My first real premium box of cigars, I was in heaven. So since those innocent days I have had a fondness for almost any Arturo Fuente cigar. One of my top 10 cigars is the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos.
Today I smoked the Belicoso, a perfecto shape that is 6'" x 52 ring.
I think it is the perfect size to taste all the nuances in the tobaccos.  This cigar has a smooth African Cameroon wrapper that encases an all Dominican binder and fillers. It is considered a medium to full bodied cigar, but I really feel it is a straight medium bodied cigar, full of wonderfully rich earthy notes and some hints of dark cocoa and espresso.
This was and still is one of my all-time favorite cigars.

The Wine: When choosing a wine I went back, again to one of my favorite wine regions on the planet, the Piemonte region of Italy. One of the reasons that this is my favorite region besides they create incredible wines, is that part of my family is from and still lives in this region.
So, I definitely have a connection to this wine making region of the world  besides the abundance of wonderful grapes, such as the Nebbiolo grape used to make the Michele Chiarlo 2006 Barolo Tortoniano.
The wine is 100% Nebbiolo grape and it takes it's name, Tortoniano, from the region in Piemonte that these grapes were grown. The soil here is rich with clay which helps give this Barolo a very complex flavor. The wine is aged in french oak barrels for two years before it is aged another year in the bottle.
It has a garnet color and a very deep aroma. The Michele Chiarlo 2006 Barolo Tortoniano has received 93 points from Wine Spectator, 92 points from Wine Enthusiast, 91 points from Wine Advocate and from me, I'd give it an 89.
These publications talk about its deep aroma and round, robust taste and its smoothness. I agree with all of that, but it looses points for me because I feel it wasn't as complex as a wine of this price point should be. What you taste on the first sip continued throughout the tasting experience without much change or growth. I like a bit more complexity in my wine. This one was sort of a one note wine, good, but one note.

The Pairing:
A nice Barolo from Piemonte Italy and an Arturo Fuente Don Carlos is by far a wonderful way to spend an hour during the holidays.
The Barolo wine pairs very nicely with the Cameroon wrapper and Dominican blend fillers of this cigar. The reason I think this is a special occasion pairing is the price.

A single of the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos will run you about $10.00 and a bottle of the Michele Chiarlo 2006 Barolo Tortoniano will set you back around $50.
As I said previously, this cigar is on my top 10 list and so is a good Barolo, but I feel for the money, this vintage didn't cut it.
I would definitly try another vintage or vineyard, but if you are buying a Barolo make sure it's from the Piemonte region of Italy, you can't go wrong.

Happy Holidays to all and I wish you a very prosperous and wonderful 2014!

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Thank you for your interest. Enjoy!