Oz Clarke as

Episodes 15

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Provence

1x3

Provence provides an opportunity to learn to match wine with various foods. Jean-Claude Mas, a young winemaker who uses New World techniques to improve the wine, coupled the local speciality, oysters, with his Arrogant Frog Sauvignon Blanc; Béziers, a French town with a great Spanish influence, offers steak with various red wines. And finally, there's a dessert course at Ousteau de Baumanière, courtesy of France’s champion dessert chef.

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Champagne

1x6

On arriving in the north-eastern corner of France, in Champagne, James and Oz were shown how to blend wines in the headquarters of the House of Krug, by Rémi Krug himself. Next, they’re off to meet an independent champagne producer, the Compte Audoin de Dampierre. And of course James is more interested in looking at the Count’s vintage Aston Martin than tasting the vintage champagne!

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Rhône Valley

1x4
April 7, 2006

The Rhône Valley provided ample opportunity to learn about lots of different grape varieties. However, the world-renowned winemaker Michel Chapoutier provides an obvious distraction for James with his classic car collection.

The father and son team of Domaine Viret, Alain and Philippe Viret, managed to extol the benefits of embracing ‘cosmoculture’, a mystical approach to grape growing involving the harnessing of the cosmic energy of the sky. And Former French rugby international and winemaker, Gérard Bertrand, challenged James to blend his very own wine using a variety of grape extracts.

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November 7, 2006

The duo headed to Alsace and Burgundy for a lesson on barrel making, and ‘terroir’ - a catch-all way of describing the many factors that can influence the quality of a vineyard. Oz then took a sceptical James to meet one of Burgundy’s most celebrated winemakers, Thierry Beaumont, to sample Burgundies from Thierry’s three separate terroirs.

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Bordeaux

1x1
November 22, 2006

James May arrived in Bordeaux with Oz Clarke for an introduction to the art of wine tasting at the magnificent, 150-year-old Château Pichon-Longueville-Comtesse-de-Lalande of Grand Dame Madame May-Elaine de Lencquesaing. After a brief break in the lessons at an unusual grape-related spa, Oz put James's new-found tasting skills to the test at the Château Pichon-Baron, in front of one of the wine industry’s biggest players, Englishman Christian Seely. Find out more about matching food with Bordeaux wines.

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November 29, 2006

After mixed results the duo headed south to the coastal wine region of Languedoc-Roussillon. Here, South African Tom Lubbe and Kiwi Sam Harrop provided them with a crash course in winemaking at their Matassa vineyard. James’s new knowledge is then put to the test once more as Oz challenges him to produce his own wine to be tested on the unsuspecting locals.

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October 16, 2007

The odd couple are reunited on Muscle Beach where Oz won the World Wine Tasting Championships in the 1980s. His bubble is soon burst when James reveals his vehicle of choice for their road trip, a 42ft monster motorhome which they will share for four hot, cramped and sweaty weeks.

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October 23, 2007

Oz Clarke's attempts to educate James May about the pleasures of wine take them to California's outlaw country, where Jesse James hid and James Dean died. The Top Gear presenter is impressed by the wine and its rebellious makers, but most excited by the Harley he uses to tour the second vineyard

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Oenophile Oz Clarke takes novice James May on a month-long trip around California's wineries. In this third episode, Oz and James are on the coastline of Monterey County. All manner of non-wine tasting related activities ensue, including muscle car racing and rifle shooting with an eccentric millionaire.

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Oenophile Oz Clarke takes novice James May around California's wineries. They have arrived in the Santa Cruz area. Tension mounts between the odd couple when James crashes the RV. The bickering continues at Randall Grahm's New World vinery, which produces what James sees as yet more over-priced, inaccessible wine. James gets his revenge when they go to meet 'two-buck-Chuck', whose wine factory churns out bottles for only two dollars.

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November 27, 2007

The duo tour the San Francisco Bay area in a classic British Mini and receive a history lesson as they visit vineyards more than 100 years old. They learn about the impact of Prohibition, and James is impressed when Oz finally finds a notable American wine that is both affordable and accessible.

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December 4, 2007

Arriving at the glamorous Napa Valley, they are dismayed to discover that they're staying in the car park. The pair argue about who will empty the RV's waste tank, then sample Californian champagne at the Tattinger estate. Next, the Schramsberg estate, where the quarreling continues with a heated debate about what bubbles taste like. Frustrated, James rents a Mustang Shelby to get them out of the hated RV.

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Sonoma

2x7
December 11, 2007

They meet Mike Benziger, owner of an organic estate. He maintains an insectry, where he breeds insects to eat the lesser bugs that damage his vines, and a sceptical James is silenced when he tastes the wine. Next, they visit the Gallo estate, a producer of affordable wines that flood the international market. Their hostess, Gina Gallo, is charming, but Oz and James sour her hospitality by having another argument.

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Bill Harlan

2x8
December 18, 2007

Oz and James return to the opulent Napa Valley. James is dismayed that Cabernet is a trophy to be paraded here, rather than a wine to be drunk and enjoyed. But at Bill Harlan's estate, a vinery making fine wines that regularly get ratings of 100/100, he concedes that he may have become a wine snob. As they drive home in the now-battered RV, they discuss where their next adventure will take them.

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