Jancis Robinson - Wine! [DVD]
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Jancis Robinson returns, her finely-tuned palate at the ready, and prepares to set out once again for another adventure in the world of wine. What tastes will she discover? What bouquets? No one can say, for with wine the possibilities are endless.
For amateur wine enthusiasts, Jancis Robinsons 1995 BBC series Wine, covering the length and breadth of the viticulture industry, was a landmark event. Robinsons mission was to strip away the mystique and pretentiousness surrounding wine production and consumption. This created a marvellously accessible piece of reportage which placed all the good things about wine drinking in the context of a radically changing world where small producers are an endangered species.
"Wine is the liquid expression of a person and a place", she says, leaving you in no doubt about her own passion for her subject. But Robinson, an excellent television presenter in this age of mediocre all-purpose talking heads, balances her own expert knowledge with dry humour (Sauvignon Blanc is gently derided for its "reek of cats pee on a gooseberry bush"), cynicism and strong opinions. She tells of the political intrigues, superstitions and climactic conditions which shape the nature of the worlds most popular alcoholic beverage in all its forms. Character by character, region by region, grape by grape, she unravels a tale which has more than its share of dark and sinister moments. Endlessly fascinating.
On the DVD: this is what genuinely interactive DVD viewing is all about. The picture quality is so-so and the sound quality erratic. But the extras add up to a veritable mini-encyclopaedia, cross-referencing regions, maps, hints and tips on the right wine for the right food, tasting and culture. Some take you to the appropriate section of the documentary, others provide static on-screen reference material. During the course of the programmes themselves, icons allow you to dip in and out of extra information about regions and labels. A comprehensive package, not unlike the redoubtable Jancis Robinson herself.--Piers Ford