The Wine Show: Episode 1 Series 2
In the first show in the new series of The Wine Show, Matthew Goode welcomes new face James Purefoy to their beautiful new villa in France. Together they are tasked with putting together a case of wine to match a six-course lunch made by Michelin starred French chef Stéphane Reynaud. Judging which wine goes in the case, is the world’s most influential wine critic Jancis Robinson. This week it’s pre-lunch snacks they have to match and they head to Provence for rosé wine in the charming town of Cotignac.
Joe Fattorini is off on his travels too. He’s with comedian Gina Yashere in Santa Barbara learning how a cup of coffee can predict what kind of wine you might like. As Joe tries to convince Gina he will find a wine for her sensitive palate, she reveals a surprise of her own for Joe.
Back in the UK, Matthew Rhys is in glamorous and historic London St James’s on his quest to find gadgets old and new.
California Coffee Test
How do you take your coffee? Seriously, did you wake up to a powerful espresso, or kick off the day with a milky latte? Tell me what coffee you like and I’ll tell you what wine you’ll love.
Or at least I hope so. Comedian Gina Yashere’s wine preferences run to “do you have anything that tastes like Sprite?” When I discover I must find a wine she’d love, I know this will be a challenge. Even for the coffee test.
But we’re in a convertible Mustang. Driving along the California Coast along the Pacific Coast highway visiting places we’d seen here. We’re heading to wineries around Santa Barbara along the California coast. Not much to complain about there. Until Gina drops in her little surprise. She’s arranged for me to do a job swap and perform stand-up, in two days, at North Hollywood’s legendary Ha Ha Comedy Cafe. Can I find a wine Gina will love, and some jokes that will make her laugh?
It’s a road trip that takes us through the Santa Rita Hills and into the wine-making country made famous by the film Sideways. After a glass of fizz at the famous “Hitching Post” we head into the vines. Thanks to the cooling winds off the Pacific, this is perfect territory for supple Pinot Noir and bright Chardonnay. But Gina’s palate isn’t the easiest to please. And my jokes don’t help much either.
Then it’s into Santa Barbara itself. The Funk Zone is a vibrant neighbourhood of coffee shops, wine tasting rooms and small businesses. For me it’s a great opportunity to understand Gina’s palate, picking our way through different grapes and wine styles. For Gina it’s a great opportunity to road-test my stand-up on strangers.
I have twenty-four hours to find a wine that Gina says is delicious. And jokes that Los Angelinos say are funny. It’s not looking good…
Discover more about visiting California and its wineries at visitcalifornia.co.uk
The Halcyon Riesling
Some of us like something sweeter. Softer. Richer. But it’s so hard to find. So, when you come across wines like this with its lightly-sweet style and sweet peach and lightly-honeyed style, hold them dear. Sweeter wines make wonderful companions to spicier dishes. But also this is gorgeous to sip through the evening. It’s aromatic, fragrant with a beautiful balance of lifted citrus freshness.
THE WINE SHOW CASE – Challenge One
When coming up with a suitable Road Trip wheeze for season 2 of The Wine Show, we wondered how we could top some of those moments from Goodey and Rhys’s journey around Italy. We knew there were only going to be six original programmes in this run, so we thought to ourselves, what could be better than creating a six course French lunch and matching wines to each dish.
Jancis Robinson had confided to us that she’d enjoyed watching the first season, so we plucked up the courage and asked if she’d do us the honour of adjudicating the wine matching. We are all in awe of Jancis. Not only has she been at the top of her profession for 40 years, she’s also one of the most knowledgeable voices in the world of wine.
Next we had to find a chef to cook the lunch. And we were delighted when Stephane Reynaud agreed to devise and cook a menu to which the boys would match their wines. We asked Stephane to come up with dishes which represented mostly southern France, but with a little detour north to Burgundy, and France’s southern gateway city, Lyon.
The first course Stefan presented was just a little snack to get things going; an amuse bouche, as the French say. A few little pork meatballs flavoured with olives, herbs and sundried tomatoes, and sardines on toast. Salty, sunny flavours that really sum up Provence.
So without hesitation Matt and James head out into this most beautiful region, and more specifically the town of Cotignac. It’s home to Mirabeau wine, owned and run by the Cronk family. The Cronks left London in 2008 to ‘live the dream’ in beautiful southern France. The original plan was to buy a vineyard, replant it and make their own wine.
However, that proved not to be the most practical approach, and so they now work with local grape producers to create their own-label wines. Their project, Mirabeau, currently has three different rosés of which Matthew chose the Pure, and James the Classic.
Mirabeau Classic – Winner
Jancis Robinson’s Verdict
“I love the idea of lying by the pool with Matthew and his Pure wine. It’s actually a better wine. It’s probably a bit more sophisticated, probably dryer, a very nice refreshing wine, it says ‘Provence’. The Classic is punchier, bigger and possibly stands up to the flavours of the food better. So which one to choose?
I think I’m going to give it to the new boy, it’s the Classic. So the winner is James’ choice of the Mirabeau Classic.”