The Wine Show: Episode 4 Series 2
In the fourth show in the new series of The Wine Show, James Purefoy and Matthew Goode find themselves in stunning Burgundy on the hunt to each find a wine to match the main course in their epic six-course lunch. With Coq aux Vin on the menu, it’s the only place to be. They visit the historic Chateau du Clos du Vougeot and the Confrerie du Chevaliers du Tastevin – the knights of the Order of Winetasters. They learn about the history of the chateau and Burgundy but before they can choose a wine, have to sit an exam. Can they learn their wines as well as their lines? With their wines chosen they head back to their villa for the judgement of Jancis Robinson, the world’s most influential wine critic. Meanwhile Joe Fattorini is competing in the Medoc Marathon with Jamie Ramsay, adventure runner. This is a full marathon where every mile there is a chateau offering a sample of their latest vintage to all the competitors. With the mercury hitting 30 degrees C and Joe in fancy dress, things don’t work out quite as Joe hoped. Amelia Singer joins Joe in Canada, to find out if their wines can really hold their own against more established wine regions. And back in London, Matthew Rhys is at Berry Brothers & Rudd in London’s St James’s looking at historic and modern gadgets.
Canada, friendly wine giant of the north
Have we even discovered all the great wine regions of the world? It’s quite possible we haven’t. There are places with the right climate, the perfect soils, the ideal aspect. But it takes someone brave, to risk everything to turn those ingredients into wines on your wine shop shelf.
It takes confidence from wine lovers like you to take the plunge and spend your money on them, too. Twenty years ago, it was a bold person who announced they were serving ‘the wines of Canada’ at a dinner party. But today Canadian winemakers are winning awards and are celebrated around the world. In British Columbia, that’s down to pioneers like Anthony von Mandl at Mission Hill.
Canadian-born, European-raised, Anthony wanted to make great wines in the Okanagan Valley. And on a hilltop overlooking Lake Okanagan he built a great wine estate. One to rival the estates of Napa and Tuscany.
It’s luxurious and impressive. But first Amelia and I must get there. And our journey is at times less luxurious, and our performance much less impressive.
Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay
This is the sort of wine that makes people realise Canada is playing with the big boys now. Rich, complex, multi-dimensional wine that lingers on the palate. It’s a new world-style Chardonnay with baked pastry and spice over fleshy fruit. But seamless in the glass. Turbot, Halibut or Monkfish are the perfect matches while in time it will become more complex and is clearly meant to become a benchmark for the region’s top wines.
British Columbia – The ‘New’ New World
In not many places could we film – mountain top tastings, canoe chaos, cathedral-esque wineries and winemaking using GIANT concrete eggs. But this is what the Okanagan Valley in BC is about. Experimental and pioneering wine making.
I had only tasted ice wine before. I had no idea that all styles of wine are produced from this part of Canada. Mine AND Joe’s ignorance was revealed in the ultimate taste off – up a mountain. Scantily clad, we did a blind tasting where we had to work out which wine was from Canada. I will not reveal who won but let’s just say altitude and snow does not help the palate.
If we didn’t get hyperthermia up the mountain, we almost did canoeing in torrential rain to Okanagan’s iconic winery – Mission Hill. Its majestic church-like structure and tolling bells epitomise the fact that this winery is a beacon of wine enlightenment. It was thanks to owner, Anthony Von Mandl’s vision for the region and his tireless efforts at his winery, which put the Okanagan Valley on the world wine map.
Imagine a wine tasting for 10,000 people. All tasting – and drinking – some of the greatest wines in the world. Everyone having a brilliant time wearing fancy dress. Accompanied by bands playing music and chefs offering snacks like oysters and grilled beef. While running 42.195 kilometres. Welcome to the crazy world of the Bordeaux marathon.
My friend Jamie Ramsay hasn’t had a drink in 18 months. Mostly because he’s been running from Vancouver to Buenos Aires. So if I show him round the historic region of Bordeaux, he will encourage me around 26 miles and 385 yards of running. Things start so well. I’ve run marathons before. And Jamie seems to be enjoying his return to the world of wine too. Even if our costumes start to feel a little heavy, and sweaty. As we enjoy more and more wine, and run more and more slowly, will we get to the end?
THE WINE SHOW CASE – Challenge Four
When Chef Stephane Reynaud decided to serve Coq au Vin there really was only one region for Matthew and James to look for a wine: Burgundy, and more specifically, the Cote d’Or. This small escarpment south of Dijon is home to villages, the names of which – Mersault, Montrachet, Volnay and many more – adorn the labels of some of the world’s most coveted wines.
Arguably the most influential and important of these villages is Vougeot. Sitting outside the village is the imposing Clos de Vougeot, founded in the 12th Century as a Cistercian Abbey. After the French revolution it was bought by a local vineyard owner. Over the years it has been subdivided and split between a number of heirs. The vines are now owned by 80 different people, who all make their own wine under the Clos Vougeot appellation. It is now home to the Confrerie de Chevaliers du Tastevin. It’s here that Matthew and James receive their primer in Burgundian wine from Chevalier, Vincent Barbier.
Matthew and James certainly have to pay attention and after a tasting of three of the Clos de Vougeot’s wines – one from each of the demarcations unique to Burgundy: Village (the lowest), Premier Cru (first growth) and Grand Cru (‘Greatest’ growth) – two wines are chosen to take back to Jancis.
Chorey-Les-Beaune – Winner
Jancis Robinson’s Verdict
“I’ve had a few Chorey de Beaune wines over the years that are too rustic. I think the Clos Vougeot Tastevirnage committee have chosen a jolly good example.
The Grand Cru is going to be a great wine and the 2010 Village is already very charming. So my vote goes to James’ Chorey”