Effervescent red wine in Australia was originally known as “sparkling Burgundy” and is often still affectionately referred to as “Spurgles” in accordance with the country’s national need to shorten every name. Ken Gargett confesses that he is a fan and shares a few of his favorites here alongside the history of this fascinating sub-genre.
About Ken Gargett
Born and bred in Brisbane, Australia, I enjoyed a non-trendy, perfectly happy childhood in a family convinced alcohol meant instant condemnation to Hades before studying law at Queensland University. On a fishing trip, someone opened a good bottle of port and so commenced a serious obsession.
Unfortunately, the devastation wrought by the pandemic has impacted sales of champagne more viciously than almost any other style of drink, but the quality of Ayala has never been better. Ken Gargett thinks that if you have neglected Ayala in the past, it is definitely time for a rethink. Or re-drink.
It was a love of Montecristo No. 2 cigars that seems to have led Ken Gargett to one of Cuba’s dirty secrets, “At the end of the road, two men stepped out. They were friends of our crew. One called Ivan (I swear I am not making this up) took our birds. We were directed off the road into a makeshift parking area, half of which is filled with Ladas and the rest the wonderful old 1950s cars so prevalent in Havana. More than a few have government number plates.”
What do truffles, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, trout, elephant dung, and green ants have in common? These items and countless more have all been used to make specialist craft gins. Sure, gin needs juniper. But after that it is open slather. Indeed, it is hard to think of a plant, herb, root, flower, leaf, and much more than has not been used to make gin. And some of them are just batsh*t crazy!
In eighteenth-century England, a typical sign outside a gin shop read, “Drunk for a penny. Dead drunk for twopence. Clean straw for nothing.” But by the twentieth century Sir Winston Churchill reported that, “The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.” Ken Gargett fills his glass and takes a look at the evolution of gin. Cheers!
Bond Roberts is a joint venture between Rob Fox of James J. Fox and Rob Ayala of Friends of Habanos. They refer to the operation as, “a transparent cigar exchange where technology, oversight, and member participation come together to offer the largest continuous selection of aged, vintage, and rare Cuban cigars to the global market in a secure trading environment.” Ken Gargett weighs in on the trustworthiness of the new operation.
Ken Gargett thinks that the Penfolds Grange 2016 has a good 50 years ahead of it, for anyone planning their grandkids’ cellar. Giving this wine 100 points is one of the easiest things he has done in ages. And yet, the day after the wine seemed even better. Outstanding. And he rates the G4 as good as it gets. Cheers.
Somewhere in the disorganized depths of Ken Gargett’s cellar lies his favorite bottle of wine. It is almost certainly not his best bottle, nor even possibly his most valuable. It is a bottle that screams place and history. It tells a story and it links him to an extraordinary moment in time when three of the planet’s most famous leaders met to determine the fate of the world. That wine is the Massandra Collection White Muscat 1945 and here is its story.
The rise of Brunello has been recent. And, arguably, the single most convincingly 100 percent Brunello example of fine wine is Soldera at Case Basse according to Ken Gargett and other wine experts. But Soldera and the region have a dramatic background, one that might not be common knowledge outside Tuscany. Read on for a Hollywood script-worthy story and mouthwatering descriptions of Super Tuscan wines you may not (yet) be acquainted with.
For the third time in five years, an Australian Cabernet was crowned the World’s Best Cabernet Sauvignon at the International Competition of Cabernets, held bang smack in the middle of France. And, worse, the French have no one to blame but themselves as the award is decided by a panel of top sommeliers from – you guessed it – France. Ken Gargett lets us in on why this happened.