Nobody was let down. Quite on the contrary. The much-anticipated alliance between Habanos and Italy’s Chianti wines, carried out during the third day of the 17th Habano Festival, was a special moment. Another example of the pleasure achieved by combining, with elegant harmony, two internationally acclaimed kings.
“The alliance represents a link, a way to assess and present the highest representatives of the drink realm”, Fernando Fernandez, coordinator of Cuba’s program to train sommeliers and Habanos-sommeliers, said during the tasting sessions.
Two flagships of Habanos S.A.’s vitola portfolio were handpicked: Le Hoyo San Juan-Hoyo de Monterrey (ring gauge 54X150 mm long) and Montecristo Open Eagle (ring gauge 54X150 mm long), which were paired with some of the most prestigious Tuscany-born varieties of DOCG Chianti.
The tasting experience teed off with Le Hoyo, an aromatic Habano of mild strength that amicably faced ChiantiColliFlorentini DOCG “Castelvecchio” 2011, and Chianti DOCG Riserva “Vigna 54” 2012.
For Montecristo’s intense aroma and mild taste, ChiantiSuperiore DOCG “Cerretello” 2011 and Chianti Rufina DOCG Riserva “Lastricato” 2010 were the perfect choices.
In order to make the most of the tasting session, Fernandez told smokers to let Habanos “walk”, to move into the puff, so they can express the whole dimension of their identity. The point is that —just as he has said more than once— Habanos have a distinctive, unique personality.
Habanos S.A.’s marketing vice president, Jose Luis Fernandez Maique, pointed out that it was a historic moments as, despite these Italian wines have been marketed in Cuba for years, they had never been paired with Premium cigars. An opportunity to bring Wine Denominations of Origin closer to Cigar Denominations of Origin, he said.
Luca A. Alves Franco, representative of the Chianti Wines consortium, highlighted that “Chianti” stands among the ten most famous words on the planet, and it’s one of oldest Denominations of Origin of Italy and the world. It’s made up of 60 percent of Sangiovese grapes and other complementary grapes, and it counts on the support of over 4,000 producing partners in Tuscany, he underscored.
“Chianti is likely to be Italy’s most famous wine on the face of Earth. For this tasting session, we chose the wines according to their individual quality and pairing harmony. We blind-tasted over a hundred labels and the Habanos to establish a connection”, he detailed.
All in all, there were no winning or losing alliances. Each people voted for the best pairing depending on the taste, aroma and, of course, personal preferences. We are not to forget that the art of fine eating and drinking has just a few fixed rules and any possible combination features individual and subjective character.
The Habanos-Chianti alliance was attended by Habanos S.A.’s development vice president, Javier Terres de Ercilla; strategic marketing director, Jose Maria Lopez Inchaurbe; Stefano Minoia, marketing specialist with Diadema, Habanos’ distributor in Italy; GiannandreaTalato, from Eurocuba Association, promoter of Chianti wines in Cuba and other European companies; as well as Juan Jose Lopez Freire, Habanos S.A.’s consultant.