14th Annual Habanos Festival held at the end of February 2012, Dow’s 20 Year Tawny was rated the “Best Aged Tawny Port” to pair with cigars.  This was the inspiration for this pair.  Pairing port and cigars is a well known combo that doesn’t always work out perfectly.  However, I was able to find a 27 year old 1985 Tawny by Dow’s. At the festival this port was paired with the Montecristo Edmundo and I decided this would be the right stick here as well.

About the Montecristo Edmundo

This Cuban puro is a 52 gauge x 135mm, tripa larga, totalmente a mano (long filler and totally hand made) using medium to full-bodied blend of Vuelta Abajo tobaccos. The smoke had the classic salty, bitter-sweet, tangy flavour that Montecristo is known for. This cigar is well made and has a classic Cuban taste to it. The flavor was consistent and didn’t evolve much over the thirds but the burn was even and the draw had just enough resistance to it.The Edmundo is named after Edmundo Dantes, hero of Alexandro Dumas’ famous novel “The Count of Montecristo” and when introduced in 2004 was the first size to be added to Montecristo’s standard range since 1971.

About Dow’s 1985 Vintage Port

Dow’s has a fascinating history. When it began in 1798, while many ports were sold out of Portugal to British merchants, the founder, Bruno da Silva, set up shop in London and imported his products himself. When the Napoleonic Wars broke out he applied for ‘letters of markque’ which was Royal Assent to equip his merchant ships with guns to protect his precious cargo.

Oxford professor George Saintsbury wrote in his famous ‘Notes on a Cellarbook’, published in 1920, “There is no shipper’s wine that I have found better than the best of Dow’s 1878 and 1890 especially.” Over a century later James Suckling of The Wine Spectator was equally impressed by the port when tasted over a hundred years after it was made – “The ancient {1896} Port still had an amazing ruby colour with a garnet edge, and it smelled of raisins, black pepper and berries. It was full-bodied, with masses of fruit intertwined with layers of velvety tannins. It was superb.”

It has a floral bouquet with boysenberry and black fruit. It’s fresh with plum and ripe, off-dry blackcurrant flavors. The flavor still had quite a bit of spirit in it and it is recommended to either decant it for a long time (12 – 24 hours) or to simply wait another 20 years. We didn’t have 20 years to wait however. It has a rich and slightly dry mouth-feel with lots of plum and mature berries with a long finish.

Pairing Dow’s 1985 Vintage Port and the Montecristo Edmundo

Tasting this pair brought memories back of an earlier pairing between the Cohiba Robusto and Warre’s 1983 Vintage Port. Though this port seems to need a bit more time to mature, the flavours on the Montecristo balanced out the taste of the spirit still in the bottle, making it a smooth and delicious experience we could easily do again. I find over and over again that the classic Cuban flavors blend so well with vintage ports of the 70s and 80s.

We also have lots of experience pairing port with cigars  which you can read about.

Pairing port and cigars - Dows 1985 Tawny and Montecristo Edmundo