Vino E Sigaro
Written by: Mike Duch and Stephanie Inzalaco
As far back as I could remember, my summers consisted of trips up and down the good old Garden State Parkway to beautiful Mantoloking. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there was nothing to enjoy but private beaches, cigars, champagne, and the finest of cocktails. But, to my dismay, in 2012 a rather mammoth female named Sandy annihilated my heart, leaving behind nothing but rubble. Our family lost over 30 years of memories in just one day of monumental waves.
Two-and-a-half years and a few band-aids later, my 86-year-old grandfather can finally go home to his new house in the Mantoloking sand. So, for the past few weeks, Steph and I had been planning a Memorial Day Bash of sorts.
For most Americans, a barbeque means coolers of beer- but we don’t believe in carbs like that. Our bar spread consisted of the usual: Corralejo tequila, Dom Perignon and a few bottles of chilled Sancerre. We made grilled clams, steak and shrimp kabobs, stone crab claws, octopus and lobsters flamed right on the grill and drizzled with garlic and olive oil. It wasn’t your typical hot dog and hamburger affair, but what the heck, we had to christen the house!
Steph chose a wonderful Sancerre: a 2012 Domaine Vacheron. Sancerres are crisp, intensely aromatic high-acid white wines. They work very well with grilled flavours. The Domaine Vacheron was refreshing on the palate; its clean lemon flavors, encouraged the copious amount of seafood we served. This is a classic style Sancerre with a long, intense mineral finish. It tastes like the shell of a fresh oyster or as if you’ve walked up to the foot of Abe Lincoln’s memorial and took a bite out of his toe. The Domaine Vacheron comes from the Central Vineyards in France’s Loire Valley, which is specifically known for being rich with silex. Evidently, this is the reason for the bottle’s intense mineral flavour. Besides the obvious taste and body of a Sancerre, I respectfully chose this wine because it is made from hand-harvested, biodynamically tended grapes. In layman’s terms, it’s certified organic, and we’re all about ingesting the good stuff.
Just like us, our guests are what I like to call “alcohol enthusiasts”, so I made one of my favorite summer sangrias for them. I’m not sure if it was the abundance of tequila, or just our undying love for this bottle full of questionable decision making, but my summer sangria spiked with some Corralejo is naughty (See full recipe to the right). So, after eating like cafones and drinking alcohol like bears waking up from hibernation, it was time to bust out the cigars. Smoke if ya got ‘em.
We brought a few boxes of La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Chiselito Maduros from the Brick House Cigar Shop for our guests to enjoy. The La Flor Dominicana brand, known for its powerhouse Double Ligero blends and unique chisel shaped smokes, has been a favorite amongst cigar enthusiasts since its establishment over a decade ago. Through the combination of hard work, uncompromising quality, and arguably the most innovative mind in the cigar business, producer Litto Gomez Diez’s sticks appeal to even the most demanding smokers – those who look for more in a cigar than a pleasant 45 minute diversion. La Flor Dominicana tobacco is not for the faint of heart, or should I say, lungs. The Ligero tobaccos create a full flavor experience that not every smoker can appreciate.
While we were smoking I turned to the crowd and said, “Imagine it’s April Fool’s Day and your kid brother replaces themouthwash with battery acid and tart cherries”. With a chuckle and an eye roll, Steph shook her head and filled my glass with tequila.
I can always instantly pick out the scent of a Chiselito if someone is smoking one near me. This is a result of the intense flavour profile created by the Double Ligero tobacco. The Ligero leaves are the highest leaves on the tobacco plant, allowing them to get the most sun and the majority of the nutrients- just like me when I’m sitting outside the Brick House Cigar Shop on a wonderful Tuesday afternoon. The Double Ligero Maduro really increases the palate’s ability to pick up notes.
La Flor Dominicana did a great job blending this stick because the strength of the Double Ligero doesn’t outweigh the flavours of the Maduro leaf. The natural wrapper may seem a bit one-dimensional for most smokers, but we both highly suggest eating a massive steak (seafood combo) before smoking any of these Double Ligero masterpieces (#Winning). Other tasting notes include: wet walnuts drizzled with melted Warhead candies (the black packaging) and a boiling Coastal Cooler Capri Sun. Throw in a cup of earl grey tea mixed with a few lit cedar sticks and some nutmeg and you have the La Flor Dominicana Chiselito.
As the sun set over the beautiful Mantoloking beach, I puffed my chest, then my cigar, and extended my glass to Steph and my guests for a toast. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the summer and christen my grandfather’s beach house. This might have been the best day of my life.
Originally Posted in the Summer 2015 issue of Talk of the Town. Pgs 56-57
Talk of the Town is a gentleman’s lifestyle magazine that exists in the northern Bergen County, NJ region. The magazine contains editorial that focuses on such areas as home theater systems, media, electronics, cars, cigars, technology, premium men’s fashion, men’s health, and unique spirits.