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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't go wrong with wine and Cleese
This is a great primer for all you beginning wine buffs out there. I think John Cleese does a great jod of keeping an intimidating subject lower key and very modest. Look for the great reaction when he doesn't realize the power of fermentation and he puts his head into the vat!!! The bottom line: he is trying to prove that wine doesnt have to be intimidating and scary...
Published on June 29, 2005 by J. Dorman

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars sort of fun and good education.
unfortunate that they didn't spend just a bit more on the production of this video...
good education... John Cleese is so fun and relaxed.... just a kinda cheap production.
Published 10 months ago by Dean W. Walker


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't go wrong with wine and Cleese, June 29, 2005
By 
J. Dorman (Walla Walla, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
This is a great primer for all you beginning wine buffs out there. I think John Cleese does a great jod of keeping an intimidating subject lower key and very modest. Look for the great reaction when he doesn't realize the power of fermentation and he puts his head into the vat!!! The bottom line: he is trying to prove that wine doesnt have to be intimidating and scary!!! Good show and I reccomend it to all.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drink What You Like!, October 3, 2005
By 
rodboomboom (St. Louis, Missouri United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
Snobbery abounds in the wine world. Proof of this is hereby demonstrated on this video with Cleese's winetasting party where he has maybe twenty guests vote on which is the cheap bottle vs. the expensive bottle of same grapetype. There wasn't a clear majority who could identify not knowing the label, price.

So, whole point of this well done work on wine is find what you like to drink and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. This is important, since there is so much namedropping in wine drinking world. Buy and drink what you like, and try new things, as Cleese demonstrates with his own wine drinking ventures into new realms never explored by his palate before.

It is well done, with basics covered with hands on shots and interviews. Not an overdo of his humor [which is monumentally good] but very warm and inviting format and hosting on his part.

I tremendously enjoyed this, especially the discussion about the terrario (spelling?), the whole envioronmental scene where grapes on grown, which solidified much of wine discussion for me in a great way.

I believe this will be enjoyable and valuable resource for all levels.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good basic intro to wine, but also proves that wine is still intimidating, February 1, 2006
By 
Scott Schiefelbein (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
John Cleese's "Wine for the Confused" is an excellent DVD for the novice wine person like me. Wine-wise, I have the mixed blessing of living in Portland, Oregon, which is a short drive from dozens of excellent assorted Willamette Valley vineyards. Which means that I am able to try a lot of good wine, but also that I have to deal with a lot of wine snobs.

John Cleese's DVD will surely help me with the more enjoyable task of figuring out just what wine I like and how to explain it. Essentially, Cleese brings his considerable wit and star power to bear in de-mystifying the process. When John Cleese says, "Just use your own words to describe the wine, and tell me what you like and don't like," everyone has to listen. (It's a shame that Cleese doesn't have a companion DVD entitled, "John Cleese -- Taking Wine Snobs Down a Peg or Two.")

Cleese puts his advice into action by hosting a wine tasting at his house and also visiting a few wineries. At the wine party, he proves how challenging (and silly) (and fun) wine can be, he asks his guests to price several bottles (ranging from $5 to $200) based on taste alone. It's comforting to know that his guests (including a near-drunken Brendan Fraser) are as likely to properly identify the $200 bottle as they are to guess that it's worth $5.

But it's also interesting that while Cleese's guests are having a good time at his party, several of them get hesitant when he asks them to give their opinions about the wine they are drinking. This serves as confirmation that we need more wine education like this -- even in the comforting environment of a casual wine tasting, you can tell that Cleese's friends, like most of us, are afraid they might come across as "unsophisticated" or even worse, a "beer drinker."

Cleese's quick walk-through six different types of wine is also helpful, and one wishes that he could have explored a few more. He focuses on three whites (Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc) and three reds (Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon). Again, while I wish he had chosen an even wider range, this section is an excellent primer.

One thing Cleese is not able to do is to take the pretension out of the wine people that he's talking to. They don't come across as obnoxious French types, but it's still pretty clear that if these folks weren't talking to a star like John Cleese, they might not be so tolerant of his rudimentary questions. While pleasant folks, they are also the types of people who wax poetic because a certain vineyard's "terroir" (a word Cleese helpfully defines) includes nearby eucalyptus trees. One thing I've learned living in wine country, wine fans who profess to taste the influence of nearby foliage are generally the folks with whom you don't want to discuss wine.

Tips on buying wine are also helpful because Cleese points out some of the gimmicks in the trade, from the snobby waiter to the layout at your wine store, and how you can use them to spot some real values.

This DVD only gets four stars because it stops so soon. Chock full of helpful hints and basic elementary knowledge, this DVD leaves you wishing that this was the first in a long series. And that's not a bad thing. I'm just not sure this isn't a more suitable candidate for a rental than for a permanent slot in the film library.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treat your friends and learn something too!, December 7, 2005
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
We saw this delightful documentary once and then came up with an inspired idea. The show goes over many things wine, but is primarily structured by exploring the 6 "great grapes" that are made into the wines we all know and love, one at a time. We went down to Cost Plus and Bev Mo and bought a bottle of each type of wine, invited the a few couples over for a surprise and as John presents each type of wine, we opened the bottle and poured them a glass. It went over tremendously well (but remember to provide a receptacle for pouring unwanted wines out!).

The show is witty without being over the top in any way, very informative while being laid back and charming. If you have any interest in wine, this is a GREAT place to start.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction!, January 6, 2006
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
The world of wine is a very broad subject that can often be intimidating, but on this show John Cleese does a fabulous job of putting you perfectly at ease, by being a warm and gracious host. He breaks down the subject of wine perfectly by posing just the right questions to the wine experts he interviews throughout the show and does so with a confident and witty attitude. This is the perfect way to introduce yourself or someone you know to the world of wine.

The DVD includes:

* `Wine for the Confused' (45 minutes): This is the original television documentary that aired on the `Food Network.'

Red Grapes Covered: Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

White Grapes Covered: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

* `Extended Conversations with Wine Experts' (45 minutes): John Cleese offers additional tips and advice on wine in a short segment. The rest of this section contains portions of interviews John Cleese did with several wine experts that were cut out of the original television documentary because of time constraints.

NOTE: The information given on this DVD is very basic, which is why it is called `Wine for the Confused' (it was meant for people who don't know anything about wine). The information given was not meant to turn you into a Master Sommelier! It was meant to teach you the basics and do it an enjoyable and un-intimidating way, which John Cleese does perfectly!

GOOD SHOW! BRAVO!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to Wine, August 26, 2005
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
This is a nice quick introduction to wines. It also shows once again, that the best tasting wines are many times the least expensive in the bunch, and the most expensive many times the most horrible tasting. Be sure to imediately watch the extras footage, as it is more of the discussion of wines that for some reason was cut out of the program due to time restraints for the food network. For the DVD they should have just edited them back in before making the DVD master, but unfortunately they did not, so you have to navigate through menus to watch the full program.

John Cleese does not at all ever try to be funny or portray this program in a comical way. He is not a comedian or funny man in this, nor should he be. He was a very good host of the program and did well in asking the right questions of the wine experts for all watching the DVD to learn.

After watching this DVD, if you knew nothing about wines, you will have a better idea of what wines you might want to buy and try that would be best to your liking.

And yes, for those that watched the movie "Sideways" with Paul Giamatti, this DVD does talk about Pinots and Merlots. I found it interesting that the Pinot was discussed and described in a manner very similar to the way Paul Giamatti's character describes it in "Sideways", but Merlots are not put down the way his character did.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars informative, but not too much, January 29, 2007
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
Wine for the Confused with John Cleese is a very informative video. The information is very basic and useful. It doesn't go too far into detail to the point where the audience is lost and confused, helping them loosen up about the topic of wine and accepting the art of winemaking and drinking. Cleese gives tips about how wine is made, how to describe wine and decide which wine is good, how wine is priced and the proper way to drink wine. For example, he goes to several different vineyards and discusses the variations between Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are the six main types of grapes that wine is made from, three red and three white, which happen to be the most important factor in the taste and presentation of wine. He also enlightens the audience about how different lengths and forms of fermentation produce unique tastes. Cleese then goes on to give details on how the taste of wine can then be described using words such as light, heavy, sweet, dry, fruity, spicy, crisp, and fresh. Everything is concise and descriptive, helping you to follow the video easily and effectively. It is a very appealing video because the study of wine and winemaking is an actual interest of John Cleese, therefore making the documentation more intriguing and attention-grabbing. Cleese also provides humor throughout the video with his foolish jokes that are so silly they are funny. A few times the video cuts off randomly and picks up at different settings, but it's all because of editing and such and, in my opinion, absolutely does not take away from the abundance of information. Overall, the video is a very cheesy, but good, one which I strongly recommend to anyone who wants to know the basic information behind winemaking, tastes associated with wine, and the pricing of wine. It is full of a good amount of useful information that is easy to absorb and remember without overdoing it to the point of confusion and boredom. It's short and simple to the point with a host who has a great personality and funny sense of humor. Watch this movie and you will learn oodles of information about wine that you never even knew existed and remember: "Don't let anyone tell you which wine you should like," one of Cleese's favorite mottos. Relax about drinking wine and enjoy it for what it's really worth!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable!, August 2, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
I really enjoyed this...John Cleese is warm and funny, but actually interested in this subject and conveys it well. This is NOT some sort of "sommelier course" in wine, it is directed toward those with basic knowledge who want to learn a little more. People expecting some sort of advanced info be warned. Cleese picks a few common types of wine and visits local (to him) California vineyards to learn about the production process, and a little more about each type of wine. Some basic info about serving wine, ordering wine in restaurants, etc., is included...along with John's mantra, "Drink what you like!"

It's altogether un-snobby and enjoyable. My only complaint is that it's too brief. I would like to see Cleese host some sort of ongoing wine series on the Food channel. I really love his style.

Regarding the preview of the movie at the beginning...I don't know what the other reviewer was referring to when mentioning a preview with "lots of nudity"...that certainly wasn't on the dvd I watched. What was there was a preview for a foreign film which had some sexual innuendo. Nothing too offensive, and certainly not worth giving this dvd a bad review!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improve your knowledge and appreciation of wine, January 11, 2007
By 
Hans U. Weber (Palo Alto, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
John Cleese's low-budget film on wines and wine-making is both amusing and educational. "Don't let anyone tell you which wine you should like" is one of Cleese's key messages. Wine-makers in the Santa Barbara region talk to Cleese about the characteristics of their wines including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Cleese also talks to others in the wine business about prices ("would you like an expensive wine better than an inexpensive one?"). In blind wine-tasting tests with friends he shows that liking a wine has nothing to do with the price and that people cannot necessarily differentiate a white from a red wine by taste alone. I've watched this film several times among family and friends all of whom loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cleese rules, July 13, 2008
This review is from: John Cleese - Wine for the Confused (DVD)
John Cleese gives a no-nonsense look at enjoying all kinds of wine. You don't have to get involved in all the potential descriptors and aspects of wine. Experimentation is the key, like most everything. Moderation is the mode of the day. You enjoy what you enjoy ... plain and simple. John shows you don't have to buy the expensive wines to find something that agrees with your palate.
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John Cleese - Wine for the Confused
John Cleese - Wine for the Confused by David Kennard (DVD - 2005)
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