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Oz & James Big French Wine Adventure

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: James May, Oz Clarke
  • Directors: Mark Powell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BFS Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2011
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005CFBZ1G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,666 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 27, 2011
Some of the most interesting TV shows comes from the BBC and this 2006 six-episode miniseries is just one example. I nearly fell off my chair laughing a few times just watching the first 25-minute episode! And you are sure to get at least a few guffaws - along with a lot of chuckles - whether you are a wine novice or are well educated on wines.

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.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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I like the series. While I think that May's "ignorance" of wine is a bit of an act for the show, it's still highly entertaining and pretty informative. I originally saw the series online and I did notice that the music on the DVD's I received is different. It's as if the online versions are updated with better music such as a rendition of the John Lennon's "Imagine" on accordion on Episode 1. I was a little disappointed when I found this out as I thought it was a clever addition that the DVD version is lacking. Otherwise, a fun and informative series.
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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. So many useful "Wine Facts" throughout, and it's super funny too. Makes you want to hang out with these two in real life. This one focuses on old-world wine so expect a healthy dose of french words here and there.
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I enjoyed this madcap romp through wines and vineyards. Nothing profound but a nice change from the usually over-serious wine info. Oz Clarke certainly has the chops to make this interesting for any wine buff, whatever his or her level of wine knowledge.
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Oz Clark, wine writer; and James May, gearhead, take off in a Jaguar XjS12, across France, in order that Oz may teach James about wine. Jame's goal is pretty simple: To take a learn what a hypothetical "Tenner" can buy at a wine shop, and to drink wine. This show should not be mistaken for a course in oenology or even wine tasting, it's not that serious. It's something of a grown-up's reality show (both men talk to the camera, about their experience and each other) in French wine country. James, at least, seems truly interested in learning, if Oz would at least stop the wine babble long enough to teach him something.

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.
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We finally got series 1 (France) and series 3 (Britain), but no sign of series 2 (California)?? Very fun show, hopefully we eventually get the whole thing...
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this is an extremely funny and partially educational series on wine. i think that it serves its dual purpose for being as irreverent as it is snooty at times. it can be watched by people of all stripes, with or without an interest in wines simply because the characters are so good. the interplay between oz and james shows that the big gap between snob/critic and neophyte can be bridged (with a bit of drinking in between). the mystique of wines is made accessible somehow by the combination of oz showing the brazen and barbarous james the ropes of wine, slowly but surely. and james proves himself to be very astute(with the use of pure instincts) in time and even oz's superior to wine tasting in certain respects. in the end, the inquisitiveness and inventiveness of james seems to coalesce with ozs rigid knowledge for a pleasing meeting of the minds. they are not so different.

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...
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