A night of good Port and fine cigars
This past Wednesday night I attended a Port wine and cigar tasting party sponsored by Gary's Wine & Marketplace in Wayne, N.J. (No relation to moi.) Held at Jamie's Restaurant in Clifton, NJ, Gary's supplied the Ports, and the cigars were provided by Tony Santana of The Cigar Vault in Nutley, NJ. Tony, who is of Cuban descent, also markets his own Santana line of premium cigars which are produced in the Dominican Republic. He's also a roller, and I when I stepped through the door, he was working his chaveta on a Santana Cabinet Robusto.
A little later, Tony and I got a chance to talk. I told him I was in the business, yadda, yadda, yadda, and he handed me an EXM Santana Cabinet Toro Maduro, which I paired with a sample of Graham's Six Grapes Port NV, which had a nice, fruity bouquet. The cigar was well-packed and offered a rich and well-balanced woody flavor with a note of sweetness in the mix. It picked up in spiciness in the third act, but overall, the cigar was medium-bodied with a pleasantly round finish. (FYI - this cigar received a 9.1 rating in SMOKE magazine.)
Also interesting was how the cigar paired with different Ports. Once I had finished the Six Grapes, I moved on to a sample of Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny NV, which had a little more bite to it. It reminded me of the Offley Tawny Reserve I've had on past occasions. Nice and smooth. Unfortunately, I didn't get to sample all five of the Ports, but I kept the list. So, if you're also partial to Port, here are the remaining three featured choices to assuage your curiosity:
- Smith Woodhouse Late Bottle Vintage 1995
- Blandy's Alvada NV
- Blandy's 5 Year Old Sercial NV
Before I left, Tony handed me a sampler with some of his other blends, so I'd like to take this opportunity to thank him publicly and wish him continued success. Thanks also to Gary's Wine & Marketplace for inviting me. I look forward to doing it again soon. Perhaps next time with cigars from Famous Smoke Shop.
~ Gary Korb