Q & A with Victor F. Pascual Artacho, Chairman of the Rioja Denomination of Origin Regulatory Council

Por: Ricardo F.Potts

The genuine alliance between Habanos and wines starts long before sitting at the table since both products are bound together for the passion and devotion of their makers. That’s Victor F. Pascual Artacho, Chairman of the Rioja Denomination of Origin Regulatory Council, in how own words.

How has the Rio Denomination of Origin Regulatory Council accepted this idea of forging the first alliance with the Habanos Denomination of Origin?

We have received this with great happiness and pride because a product like Habano, with so much international fame and global outreach, is willing to pair with a similar product, like the Rioja wines, that also has what it takes to bask in the world limelight.

Many experts often mention the complex harmonization between Habanos and wines. In your opinion, what features should the two products have to pull off this alliance?

I believe that harmony comes long before we sit at the table. The two products are handmade, so –as ethnologists and habanosommeliers say- you have to put both your heart and passion into them. That’s something people must have in mind when they sit at the table, because when they combine is the time when sensations arise, and you may call that either harmony or pairing or match, but you can rest assured that can only be brought off when you combine two special products, with such special origin, like Habanos and wines.

Based on your personal experience on Rioja wines, what’s your choice to pair with Habanos?

Rioja is called the land of one thousand wines because we do have one thousand different wines. I think to me, 999 of them fit with a good Habano.

However, people say the best wine is the one we like the most…

You bet! The best wine is always the one you like the most, so the world’s best wine will always be the one people prefer the most.

And what Habanos do you like the most?

To tell you the truth, when I’m going to smoke a cigar, I prefer the most relaxing one, the mildest one. However, I think the second Habano that paired, the Montecristo No. 2, which is a classic in Habanos S.A.’s vitola catalog, really put me in the groove.

What perspectives are you putting in this Habano-Rioja alliance?

I won’t like to mix up my desires with reality, but I hope this alliance between Habanos and Rioja will last for many years to come, because both products are undisputedly peerless and impossible to copycat.