Friday, May 27, 2005

Cigars , Wine and American Foreign Policy

I am told by well known cognoscenti of all of the above that the majority of people in Washington involved in the formulation and execution of Foreign Policy have certain disturbing common traits.

On the whole they tend to favour Californian top Cabernet Sauvignon’s and premium Cigars from the Dominican Republic.

What characterises both their choice of cigars and wine are consistency of quality, but a lack of complexity.

Both premium Dominican Cigars and Californian Cabernet Sauvignons tend not to vary much year on year.

The Dominican Cigars have done well in the US due to the embargo on Cuban goods; this has not prevented the US being the second biggest consumer of Cuban Cigars. This suggests that the characterisation of the foreign policy making elite does not apply to the entire nation. In my view these cigars are with a few exceptions bland, homogenous and a boring smoke rarely capable of taking ones imagination to wonderful places.

I have always wanted to know the provenance of Bill Clinton’s cigars during his tenure at the White House.

The fact we tend to refer to varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and not a Chateau or Domain already reveals a lot.

However it is the generally poor and unsubtle” assemblage” coupled with blending of grapes from vineyards so spread out, that makes any possible association with the “terroir” an impossibility.

Some may feel my comments regarding wine are maybe too Francophile in nature , or Cuban centric in terms of Cigars.

To show that this is not so I would like to recommend to the Washington Foreign Policy Community the cigars of Jose Padrόn in Nicaragua and Ridge Montebello Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountain area in Northern California.

Jose Padrόn (a Cuban) and his family produce outstanding complex handmade cigars. Padrón, never set out to replicate the flavour or character of a great Cuban cigar. Padrón, more than just about anyone else, knows that the character of a Cuban cigar can't be duplicated, because of the unique soil and climate of the best tobacco areas in Pinar del Río, Cuba's premier tobacco region.

Since arriving in Nicaragua in the late 1960s via a stint in Little Havana, Miami, Padrón has continued and perfected what his family taught him in the fields of Pinar del Río as a little boy. Padrón makes cigars that can match those coming from his former homeland

The Montebello blenders determine how much — if any — merlot, petit verdot, or cabernet franc will be included in the finished wine, during assemblage. In some years the wines match or exceed some of Bordeaux’s finest Château like Latour, Lafitte, Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande and Plamer.

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