Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Wine Show: Oenological Entertainment

Ever wanted to know more about wine but had no idea where to begin? Or ever thought that wine is a topic far beyond your reach and your wallet? Well ITV presents The Wine Show, a comforting twelve-part series hosted by the charming duo of Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys. They enjoy a good bottle of wine, but are far from experts, so they serve as the audience surrogates as they talk to experts who present them with reds, whites, and everything in between.

The two Matthews are based in a villa in Tuscany, and every week, they meet up with Joe Fattorini, a British wine expert who introduces them to wines from different parts of the world. Each episode follows a very structured format. First, Joe meets the boys with a couple of bottles of wine, says they came from some exotic locale, and then we watch a 10-minute video about his journey or the journey of fellow wine expert, Amelia Singer. Next up, is the gadget portion, when Joe talks about various gizmos that ordinary people and serious oenophiles can use to enhance their wine experience - this ranges from corkscrews to extravagant machines that pump oxygen into your wine for a hefty price tag. Then we visit a chef who has been tasked with selecting their favorite wine and creating a dish to go with it. This is the part of the show when you tend to stop wishing you had a glass of wine and wish you had eaten something instead. Then, Joe presents the Matthews with a task, and we get a delightful video where the two saunter off to some region of Italy to find a bottle of wine that meets Joe's exacting description. And finally, we wrap up with another video about some other type of wine, featuring either Joe or Amelia, drinking yet more delicious wine and reveling in the non-stop novelty of it all.

The Wine Show is a soothing and predictable program that is guaranteed to teach you something about how to appreciate a good bottle of wine. It offers a perfect balance between the enthusiastic novice Matthews, and the enthusiastic professionals, Joe and Amelia. Both camps are simply bubbling over with anticipatory delight when a bottle is uncorked, and the short videos are quite eye-opening about the global reach of a drink that is often considered to be the province of the stuffy elite. There are some remarkable stories about viniculture in the Middle East, and tales of the booming wine market in Shanghai and the difference between Western and Eastern palates that plays a huge role in wine preferences and descriptions.

You'll also learn that Matthew Rhys cannot stand sweet wine, while Matthew Goode is never more charming than when he is talking about a "glass of giggles." You will fall in love with Italy, wine, and everything else under the Tuscan sun because this is a show about people who are passionate about what they do and eager to showcase the hard work they have put into creating a perfect, delicious drink. Like a glass of champagne, The Wine Show is an effervescent delight that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

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