Champagne Jacquesson transformed itself from an also-ran to pioneering single-vineyard and terroir-based champagne house. Out went the traditional non-vintage, vintage, and prestige champagnes and in came one blend – “the best we can make each year” – and four single-vineyard wines. And Ken Gargett is now a big fan.
Champagne is not a wine that most people enjoy at home or by themselves as they might a good red or a top spirit. Champagne is for occasions and for sharing and enjoying with friends. If times have been tough for the large Champagne-based houses, they have been even worse for many of the small growers and their champagnes. Here Ken Gargett take a look at two up-and-coming growers for your consideration.
The most obvious thing to note with these three Taylor’s Vintage Ports is that they will be linked together forever. For decades to come, there will be comparative tastings and their progress will be carefully monitored. There are critics who claim that Taylor’s is the “Latour of Vintage Port,” but Ken Gargett believes they have that backwards: Latour is the “Taylor’s of Bordeaux.”
In the Waipara region, North Canterbury, in the southern part of New Zealand’s South Island there is a cult winery called Pyramid Valley that Ken Gargett has visited a few times. Today he tastes several 2018 wines from the place with the picturesque vineyard names and shares his opinion with us.
There is one wine producer that has taken on almost mythical status in recent years: Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. And one of its wines, Romanée-Conti, stands out above all others. Many wine lovers, perhaps most, consider it to be the very best wine in the world. Ken Gargett is one of them.
Another champagne from 2008, you ask? Yes, Ken Gargett resoundedly replies: he says 2008 will go down as the greatest year of the champagne century despite a plethora of fine years since the turn of the millennium, and he is here to tell us all about it.
One of the most famous bourbon distilleries of all is Buffalo Trace, whose story started centuries ago with a famous name: Daniel Boone, who rode through Leestown in 1771 “on the buffalo trace” more than 20 years before Kentucky even became a state. Ken Gargett shares here why he thinks the bourbon from this American distillery is so special.
If Cohiba is the king of cigars then the Espléndido is the ultimate Cohiba. Ken Gargett does find a little inconsistency with them – a never-ending issue for Cuban cigars – but if given some age, this tends to resolve itself. What else is remarkable about them?
Basically, sake comprises rice, water, and the fermenting agent called koji, resulting in an alcoholic level that usually sits between 13 and 16 percent. And you might be interested to know that the rice used is different from the standard table rice so popular with Japanese food. Ken Gargett takes a deep dive into what sake is, what types of sake are available, and whether you should drink it warm (like James Bond) or cold. Kampai!
Yamazaki 12-Year-Old from Japan is a whisky that Ken Gargett has loved every time he has had the chance to try it. The bottle he sampled for this piece was actually one from the back of his cupboard, which he has been sitting on for far too long. When a mate saw it, he implored him not to open it. But Ken of course did and shares the experience with us here.