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Oz & James Big French Wine Adventure
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(Sep 06, 2011)
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Seen on BBC America as James May's Road Trip
Top Gear's overgrown boy racer, scruff bag and beer drinker James May knows nothing about wine and loathes what he calls "wine ponces." Award winning wine writer and critic Oz Clarke, on the other hand, is one of the world's leading authorities on French wine. For 6 weeks, TV's oddest couple drive through some of France's most beautiful wine regions in James's Jaguar XJS - with much amusing verbal sparring along the way. Oz's mission is to educate and excite James about French wine. James's mission is not to get too drunk and by the end of the trip, be able to walk into a wine shop and buy something good for under $20.
Top Customer Reviews
In 2006 wine critic, author and actor Oz Clarke decided to take British TV star, car racer, beer lover, and wine ignorant James May (who looks a lot like a young Gerard Depardieu - the French actor) on a month long journey through France to see if he could educate May on wine. They traveled in May's Jaguar XJ6, camped out in tents and got to drink some of the rarest and best French wines.
In the first episode Oz asks James what taste he gets from his first taste of a vintage wine. "Fruit juice!" is James's reply. But by the end of the month (the end of Episode 6) he is a wine convert - not that he is giving up beer - and you will have laughed and learned something along the way.
Each episode takes them to a different region ( Provence, Rhone Valley, Alsace, Burgundy, etc) and also focuses on such things as "wine with food" (my favorite episode, where James is required to prepare a "gourmet dinner" for Oz on a camping stove. Another discuses blending of grapes, while the final episode covers Champagne. Oz even quotes prices (in Euros) for many of the wines they taste. And classic car fans will find a surprise for them (as well as James) in the Champagne episode as well..
I laughed (and learned) while watching this series. I think you will too.
To that end, James makes a good analogy early on, reacting to an overload of information and almost no wine drinking (and after a wine spa, where grapes were rubbed on their faces), by bringing Oz into his car oriented world, saying something to the effect of... It's like I'm teaching you about sports cars and we get a lamborghini, an American sports car which is a lot heavier, and an Italian sports car that is very light, and gives you a sensation of speed, and to give you the idea of driving them, we sit you in a tub of unleaded... Right on.
Eventually the two men figure out how to work their partnership in this endeavor and settle in to more of a routine. James learns quickly, and still manages to break through Oz's tendency to run to rituals and gobbletygook.
I would imagine that the best use for this show would be among those who want to like wine but who are surrounded by more wine snobs (or ponces as the show calls them) than drinkers and don't have the space to think for themselves. In the end, it really does come down to what YOU like, although there are fairly commonsense rules, as James comes to realize.Read more ›
if nothing else this is a very entertaining tour through wine country and shows us all how wine drinking should be done. be forewarned, you too may become a wine ponce...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is OK Nothing special. A couple funny lines but overall not very entertaining. Basic wine information which would be OK for someone that knows nothing about wine but not... Read morePublished 2 months ago by DragonG
Oh, gosh this is fun. I love James May. I love wine. You learn a little and smile a lot while watching. This is not Top Gear.Published 6 months ago by Lori Grace
Great show, you learn, you laugh, you see two reasonably funny guys get drunk. Just a solid show all around. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Chris W.
Love Oz and James together. If you like Top Gear or you like to drink or you want to learn about wine, this is a GREAT way to learn. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Michael Routen
A highly entertaining adventure where Oz Clarke attempts to "teach" James May about wine - how it's made, its flavors, its culture. Read morePublished 14 months ago by ttechnology
I enjoyed this madcap romp through wines and vineyards. Nothing profound but a nice change from the usually over-serious wine info. Read morePublished on January 10, 2014 by mrthinkndrink