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Herzog Wine Cellars, California

Herzog Wine Cellars, where cigar smoking is strictly kosher.
Alejandro Benes
Posted: August 30, 2010

(continued from page 1)

Dessert is all about chocolate. A molten, flourless chocolate cake is always on the menu and that is paired with a special Mexican chocolate cake this evening. We finish, and finally I am able to plan my cigar finish. I have my own with me, a Padron 80th Anniversary. I order another glass of zinfandel, a great mouth-watering wine that goes well with cigars.

I walk just outside the dining room and turn right and take a seat in the "gazebo." This was in the midst of remodeling.

Two weeks later, Joseph Herzog is telling a group of cigar and wine lovers, "The same way we approach wine, we approach cigars."

The group is gathered in a private dining room at the winery to enjoy a dinner of maple-cured, hot-smoked salmon, paired with a 2007 Herzog Russian River Special Reserve Chardonnay; Wagyu rib eye with a Herzog Alexander Valley Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; and a decadent dessert of figs poached in zinfandel and chocolate pecan frozen custard with a warm chocolate brandy sauce and cacao beans. All this before the group of 20 step onto the newly-furnished patio to taste Macallan 18 and Highland Park 18 Scotch with cigars from Perdomo.

The dinner was held to introduce the Herzog Cigar & Wine Club. For $400 a year, subscribers will get four cigars and two bottles of wine every three months. This is part of Joseph Herzog's continuing education in the enjoyment of cigars.

"I really began smoking three years ago," Joseph said. "My father and grandfather used to smoke. You know, the language of wine and cigars is very similar."

Herzog, who lives in Los Angeles and commutes to Oxnard every day, got to know Albert Chrikjian, owner of the Old Oaks Cigar & Wine Co. in nearby Thousand Oaks.

"I started talking to Albert about a private line of Herzog cigars," Joseph explained. "But I thought it would be better to start slowly."

That was about three years ago, just after Joseph moved to California from New York to run the newly opened winery.

Among the cigars currently sold at the winery are the Padrón 3000, La Gloria Cubana Wavell, Perdomo Habano Robusto, Casa Magna Robusto, Partagas Spanish Rosado and C.A.O. Italia and Brazilia cigars. There are plans to expand the list.

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