All in By Ken Gargett - 2017

Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2/Wynn’s Single Vineyard ‘Johnson’s Block’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014/Rubbel Sexy Lager

A lovely day, looking out over a glorious cobalt ocean and writing about a 60-vintage tasting of the great Wynn’s Black Label Coonawarra Cabernet, has just been spoilt by that blow-up doll who runs North Korea. News is through that apparently, he wants to drop a nuke on Guam. Haven’t we been through this before? Way to be a downer! I really liked Guam for the short time I was there. Felt like I was on the set of Magnum PI. And one imagines that if he does, the ageing Mr Burns on the other side of the planet is going to ensure that NK becomes one large smouldering crater and turn what little tourism they have into a few scientists in white onesies with madly-crackling Geiger counters.

Partagas Serie D No. 4/Four Pillars Negroni Gin

Did I mention I like travelling? Talk about that I should know better than to open my mouth too soon. Though in fairness, I don’t really consider the annual weekend away for Mum and the family, “travelling”. We normally find a farmhouse or something of that ilk (and apologies to those curious members of the forum for whom the word ‘ilk’ apparently has evil connations, though I have no idea why it should) and spend three or four days there. Always nice to get away with the family.

Dasher & Fisher ‘Meadow’ Gin/H Upmann Magnum 46

This week’s fun topic – funerals.

Yes, it is all Bordeaux and skittles here at Kenfessions. I will say that I was very fortunate when it came to my father’s, many years ago. I honestly could not see how I could get through it, but it turned out to be almost inspiring and uplifting. Well, as much as possible in the circumstances. Had eulogies from two of his oldest and closest friends. One did the professional and family stuff. The other took the piss. Dad would have loved it. I still have mates who say it was the best funeral they have ever attended, if there can be such a thing.

A royal pairing/Montecristo No. 2 2006/2016 Four Pillars Christmas Gin

So, a B grade Hollywood actress, pretending to be a legal secretary in a dodgy drama, is to marry His Royal Highness, Prince Henry of Wales, 5th in line to the British throne, assuming Europe doesn’t get that in the Brexit divorce. The greatest act of social climbing this century and perhaps second only to that short fat bloke nabbing Grace Kelly. Good on you, Harry, blokes everywhere salute you. You are definitely coming up in the world.

November 11th - A momentous day in history - Partagas D4 Vintage Collection - Tia Maria

November 11th. A momentous day in history.

In Australia, it has relevance for two reasons. More recently, in 1975, it was the day when the Gov-Gen, Sir John Kerr, sobered up long enough to sack the elected Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam. I know people think we have divisive politics today (and I am not crossing the pond with this), but for those who do not remember (and I was only a kid back then, but it is eternally imprinted on my mind), today is kindergarten stuff compared to back then. Looking back, I deplore the manner of the dismissal, but like the vast majority of Australians, thought it was necessary for Gough to go before he damaged the country any further (not that I had a vote).

Hamlet ‘25th Anniversary’ Robusto/Piper Heidsieck/Monteith’s Black/Bundaberg Ginger Beer/Por Larranaga

The clock has just ticked over to 8am. I sit here typing, currently a glass of Piper Heidsieck matched with Hamlet’s latest, his ‘25th Anniversary’ Robusto. There is a fresh breeze off the Pacific Ocean. I’m on the balcony at Waddy Lodge on Fraser Island on the annual mates’ fishing trip. Always one of the great weeks of the year, though in recent times, more and more of the guys have decided, that the actual fishing component is a bridge too far and little fishing is getting done. Still great fun.

Ardbeg An Oa/Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios

A fair chance that very few of us could honestly say we have never done anything stupid. And there is also a good chance of alcohol being involved. But it is a little tough to blame the alcohol itself. Stupid is… (and to my horror, I think I might have just paraphrased a gun-nut argument, but it is different and we are not going down that track). But, after all, what sort of a boring world would this be without alcohol?

Saint Luis Rey Double Corona/Cullen’s Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon 2015/Holgate’s ‘Double Trouble’

Last time, red wine and cigars.

In the interim, a lot of support for various rums and cognacs, but red wine still has its apostles. Last time, to be fair, it was a good red with an average cigar. This time, why not ratchet things up a notch. A great cigar and a brilliant wine. And as first reserve on the bench, a very fine beer (or rather a stout) I love.

San Cristobel ‘La Fuerza’/Best’s No 1 Shiraz 2015

Red wine and fish? Red wine and cigars?

If one works as a wine critic, a common question (or indeed, a common request from editors) is what works with this wine or that one? My feeling has always been that if you enjoy both, chances are you’ll be happy. Sometimes a match will be a clanger, diminishing both; far more often, you’ll be happy with both, even if they do not really work as a brilliant match; occasionally, either the food or wine will lift the other; and just now and then, the two will take each other to heights unimaginable by themselves. I suspect that cigars and drinks are not much different.

Por Larranaga Belicosos Extra RR Asia Pacific (19/7400) (EMA Jul 08)/Emerson’s Hefe-Weizenbier Dunkelweiss (6.3% alc)

Interesting day.

I’ve been doing the Aussie/Kiwi end of the Best Wine in the World competition for what seems ages now (you can vote on your faves – and decided to disappear down to a little place the family has on the northern NSW coast to catch up on other work done, sans distractions. Took me half a day to finish up with stuff in Brizzy, pack the car, water the plants and so forth. A bit under two hours’ drive.