The week felt a little like going back to school for Ken Gargett – champagne school! Everywhere he went, up popped some of the great champagnes that he has tasted and written about in recent times, plus a few more. Including an ethereal, refined surprise magnum of Henriot Cuve 38.
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.
Malt lovers immediately fall into one of two camps: one does not enjoy the peaty, smoky, seaweed notes that whisky from this island usually offers. The second group loves those characteristics. No prize for guessing where Ken Gargett falls. But what about Ron Swanson and Lagavulin from the Scottish island of Islay?
Wine can be so much more than just an enjoyable drink. It can link us to times, people, and places. A traditional concept for so-called anniversary wines is to celebrate a milestone, perhaps a birthday or wedding or even anniversary, with a fine bottle from the vintage of the birthyear or anniversary year in question. With that in mind, Ken Gargett shares a few suggestions.
Fans of Japanese whisky will be all too aware that the better offerings are extremely hard to find. Once a curiosity, then mainstream, and more recently highly awarded and much sought after (okay, now subject to a feeding frenzy), the stuff is as rare as an honest politician. So grab whatever you can whenever you can!
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field on Monday morning (in Australia), February 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl, Ken Gargett pulled out a Romeo y Julieta Churchill. The poor thing was a solo stick in a lonely humidor and the foot was very ratty, torn and tattered, but otherwise it appeared in good condition. And as it was a gift, who was he to complain. But it turned out to be a stellar cigar and the perfect accompaniment to a cracking game.
Japanese whisky distillery Mars Shinshu is still working to establish its house style. “Searching for its soul,” distillery manager Koki Takehira calls it, and he is off to a wonderful start. At this stage, the whiskies appear to be from the elegant and complex end of the spectrum, and there is a gentle sweetness, more so than found in most Japanese whiskies. Ken Gargett takes us through the history of Mars Shinshu and shares tasting notes of a few of the whiskies.
Michter’s aim is to make small-batch or single-barrel products so the distillery has restricted itself to a maximum of 20 barrels for any of its small-batch products. And, as Ken Gargett reports, the Kentucky-based company is making superb bourbon.
Anyone seriously interested will have some fun poking around all the results of the Best Wine of the World competition. Here Ken Gargett explains a bit about different methods of judging wine (surprise, he thinks the Aussie way is best), talks some anecdotal background, and reveals a gaggle of winners.
It seems only appropriate that such a fascinating champagne Grower as Ulysse Collin has an even more fascinating backstory. David heading toward toppling a sparkling Goliath. For well over 200 years, since 1812, the Collin family had worked vineyards in the region and for a century of that time also worked as coopers. The family vineyards were first lost, then recovered, and now the firm goes from strength to strength, slowly but surely building the crown as king of the Grower movement.
The idea of Last Drop is to source rare and first-class spirits, usually with considerable age. Some of these products – and in the company’s decade of operations, there have only been 13 releases – are extremely limited and seriously expensive. But is it worth it? Ken Gargett reverently sips a dram and shares the results with us here.