How well do you think you know champagne? Renowned wine judge Ken Gargett is confident he could teach you a thing or two.
Mr Gargett grew up in a family that didn’t drink and initially ventured into a career in banking law, before finding a passion for wine and champagne.
He writes on the topic for national and international publications and will be hosting masterclasses at the inaugural Sunshine Coast French Festival.
Having conducted masterclasses around the country, including assisting Bernadette O’Shea with numerous classes at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival over the years, Mr Gargett says he meets people who are new to champagne and those who are set on their favourites and often he can convert the latter to try something completely different.
“It is quite staggering the difference in the wines and champagnes that come through, what each house can do, what different vintages can do, different styles from bone dry to rich and rosé,” he says.
“Champagne has been present at so many of the world’s great occasions, and I think personally tipping it over racing drivers gives the wrong image in a sense people think it’s not a serious wine, but when you could choose to pay a couple of hundred bucks for a good champagne, you want it to be serious.”
Mr Gargett says while he recommends those new to champagne stick to the bigger names like Moët and Verve Cliquot, tasting creations from a variety of different houses will help you to hone your palate and determine which style you prefer.
The masterclass will be a great opportunity for those who wish to learn more about how champagne is made, how it should be served and stored and also for those who’d like to try a few different tipples.
Festival director Lynette Croft says participants in each class will be able to sample some of France’s finest champagnes without having to commit to spending money on a whole bottle, as you would if you were at home.
Each class is 90 minutes long with a minimum of five champagnes to try accompanied by fromage and saucisson. With only one class at 11am each day of the festival and 30 places in each, you will need to be quick to secure your seat.