Father’s Day: Four gifts for dad which need a glass before they’re useful

Father's day drink gifts 2018

I always like to give you lots of notice for special days of the year. The ones which would cause you no end of trouble should you forget. Father’s Day is almost upon us,  Sunday June 17, so make a mental note of that right now. Sorted? In that case here’s gift ideas for dad.

Father’s Day ideas if dad likes whisky:

Father’s Day drink ideasHere’s one with a twist. The Glenfiddich IPA Experiment (RRP £44.93 at major retailers, including Master of Malt) is a collaboration between malt master  Brian Kinsman and craft brewer Seb Jones.

Three craft beers were created which rested in whisky casks; then the casks were later filled up with whisky to develop combined flavour notes. The whisky has a delightful fruity nose of apples and citrus and to taste the citrus notes freshen a malty, spicy edge.

Find out more about the  experiment here.

Father’s Day ideas if dad likes rum:

Father’s Day drink ideasElements Eight Republica (£30.45, thewhiskyexchange.com) won a  Rum Master – the top award possible – at the  Rum & Cachaça Masters organised by The Spirits Business magazine.

Elements Eight make artisan rums and Republica is a 5-year-old  blend of two single rums from Cuba and Panama aged in Bourbon casks. It has a smoky, peppery nose of orange peel and wood, there’s a citrus and spice bite with vanilla peeking through.

There are sister rums including Elements Eight Exotic Spices

Father’s Day ideas if dad likes wine:

Father’s Day drink ideasTreat him to a bottle of carmenere. if dad has a tendency to lose things, don’t worry, the wine world once lost this grape variety. The carmenere grape was thought to be extinct until DNA checks discovered it was growing happily in Chile (where it was thought to be merlot).

Veramonte Carmenere 2015 (RRP £12, Ocado, 14.5% abv) is full-bodied with plum and bramble fruits, with a dash of white pepper and a lick of vanilla.

A note of five spice creeps in, giving the sense of a sweetly concentrated wine with an alcohol kick just like Port.

Father’s Day ideas if dad likes gin:

Father's Day drink ideasHow about a glass of Peaky Blinder Spiced Dry Gin (from £22.95, Sadler’s Ales, Amazon) If dad is a fan of the TV show, this gin and its Peaky-hatted character on the label, might be right up his street.

It is created from nine botanicals and won a bronze at both the International Spirits Challenge 2018 and  the  San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018.  It has a fresh aromatic nose with punches of spice.

There’s also a Peaky Blinders whisky and a Peaky Blinders Spiced Rum.

First published in over 30 Trinity Mirror regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales –  Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle  – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

Jean-Claude Mas: The story of a winemaker and my washing machine

Domaines Paul Mas vineyards Jean-Claude Mas

Oh no! That feeling when the jeans are in the wash and halfway through the cycle you think – the pockets!! It wasn’t money I was worried about, or a cherished photograph, but a clutch of herbs from the Languedoc in the south of France. They’d been tugged off a cluster of bushes on the edges of a vineyard by one of today’s most successful winemakers, Jean-Claude Mas. 

The herbs represented so much. The enthusiasm of Jean-Claude Mas for his surroundings; his love for the land and the impact of the land on his wines. Jean-Claude was taking a group of us on a tour of his vineyards in a rip-roaring buggy ride, pointing out viognier, chardonnay, grenache gris and many many more grape varieties.

We stopped on a hill and he handed me the herbs; I scrunched them and could smell the amazing “garrigue” of the landscape – wild plants from the hills in this part of the Mediterranean.

Jean-Claude Mas: A drive through the vineyards – VIDEO


Red wines can be described as having a “garrigue” influence – and right there in that place I understood. It’s like a pot-pourri of aromas, of earth, of greenery, of vegetation. I tucked the herbs in my pocket to await their fate with a washing powder tablet.

Jean-Claude Mas more than understands the wine alchemy he can create from his land. He has the Midas touch for producing great-value wines under his brand Domaines Paul Mas.

He began with 35 hectares of inherited land from his father (Paul Mas) in 2000 and only 18 years later he has 13 estates – the 13th acquisition confirmed as I sat in his tasting room sipping wines available in the UK (Aldi, Waitrose, Morrisons, Co-op and Majestic are just several stockists).

Jean-Claude knows what his customers want. He told us: “The past has no interest to me; I’m always looking to the future. Yes of course, we can learn from the past to be sure, but to be static is crazy. We are always forward-thinking.”

He is definitely a driven man, spotting the opportunities in the market and yet at the same time developing an ethos of sustainability, with the health of the vines, within an organic viticulture culture, paramount.  He believes that “with a living soil, the vine grows better, and the wines are better still”.

His enthusiasm is magnetic, his philosophy is admirable. His wines are bloody good too … more of them in another blog post.

PS  The herbs emerged from the washing. They’re my scrunched-up (and now very clean) memory of the Languedoc.

Discover more about Domaines Paul Mas here and follow them on Twitter here

I asked Jean-Claude Mas to select two of his wines he’d personally want to sip at home; here’s a picture teaser.
Jean Claude Mas Cote Mas red wine