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John Cleese's Wine for the Confused


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"John Cleese's Wine for the Confused'' (Sunday, 10 p.m. EDT) which explores everything from what words to use to describe flavor to how to take the wind out of a snooty restaurant sommelier. What's a sommelier? That's the server in a fancy restaurant who tries to guide customers toward a selection of a dining drink. Cleese points out that this choice is often a source of anxiety and embarrassment for those who don't see much shade in their reds and whites..... Cleese explores how weather, the soil, location, other vegetation, the mashing, the fermentation process and how long the wine bottle is open before serving all contribute to the taste. "When you've got all these factors moving around and connecting in these different ways,'' Cleese said, "it becomes an art.''

AIR TIMES:

October 17, 2004 10:00 PM ET/PT

October 18, 2004 2:00 AM ET/PT

October 23, 2004 5:00 PM ET/PT

October 24, 2004 4:00 PM ET/PT

Now this I will most definitely watch! :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Cleese, with or without his Monte Python companions, had such a brilliance to his comedic efforts! I always thought he was the "brains" behind the group, although now that I think back, many of them were hysterically funny ...

Look forward to this special and will TIVO it as well ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Cleese of course, is and was charming and entertaining. I don't know that the show made more than five or ten minutes worth of points. Or course it's the Food Network and with commercials he didn't have a full hour. I suspect Jancis Robinson could have made the same points in five minutes and drilled them home in another five, leaving her a half hour to say a little more and dispel the notion that if it isn't riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot blanc, merlot or cabernet sauvignon, it's a minor grape and a minor wine or that California is the epicenter of wine lore and production. A half hour of Robinson and a half hour of Fawlty Towers would have been a better investment of a viewer's time.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I still don't know what wine to serve with Spam. I'm outraged.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I still don't know what wine to serve with Spam. I'm outraged.

What?! No website for wine pairings with the all American taste treat? Have they no conscience? Was Cleese unavailable for a phone Q & A? Did you check with Larry King?? Regis??

:rolleyes:

I always opt for pairing Spam lunch meat with champagnes ... enough of the bubbly and one forgets that he/she is reduced to having to consume the greasy product ... :laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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As all true Python fans know, the Pythons have always been interested in wine, being among the first to jump on the Australian wine bandwagon.

"Another good fighting wine is Melbourne Old-and-Yellow, which is particularly heavy and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat."

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I always opt for pairing Spam lunch meat with champagnes ... enough of the bubbly and one forgets that he/she is reduced to having to consume the greasy product ... :laugh:

I was thinking of perhaps a '67 Chateau Waggawagga (which is also good for dressing wounds). Or a sparkling rose. (Merlot with ginger ale perhaps.) For chilled Spam, as it goes without saying.

But should said Spam be fried, what then?

Cleese! Cleeeeeeeeeese! Why hast thou abandoned me?

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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As all true Python fans know, the Pythons have always been interested in wine, being among the first to jump on the Australian wine bandwagon.

Thank you for this delicious reminder of the great humor the Pythons brought to us in their heyday! :laugh:

My personal favorite?

"Quite the reverse is true of Château Chunder, which is an appellation contrôlée, specially grown for those keen on regurgitation; a fine wine which really opens up the sluices at both ends."

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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This sounds great!  I'm in SW CO. Any idea if it's being shown in this region? I hope I can Tivo it! Thanks!

Kathy, I Tivo'd it online, seconds after reading this thread. You should try it!

I liked the show, are there going to be more? This seemed pretty thorough (all the basics). I need to watch it again, not so late at night :wacko:

To hell with poverty! We'll get drunk on cheap wine - Gang of Four

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I liked the show, are there going to be more?  This seemed pretty thorough (all the basics).  I need to watch it again, not so late at night  :wacko:

schedule out so far says:

October 23, 2004 5:00 PM ET/PT

October 24, 2004 4:00 PM ET/PT

Call your cable provider locally to verify ...

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Cleese of course, is and was charming and entertaining. I don't know that the show made more than five or ten minutes worth of points. Or course it's the Food Network and with commercials he didn't have a full hour. I suspect Jancis Robinson could have made the same points in five minutes and drilled them home in another five, leaving her a half hour to say a little more and dispel the notion that if it isn't riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot blanc, merlot or cabernet sauvignon, it's a minor grape and a minor wine or that California is the epicenter of wine lore and production. A half hour of Robinson and a half hour of Fawlty Towers would have been a better investment of a viewer's time.

I don't agree. The show was obviously targeted to beginners, and gave them a lot of information on the most common grapes, and some good tips. Namely, drink a few wines, come up with some familiar and specific words to describe what you like, and good wine merchants and sommeliers will be able to guide you in interesting directions. J. Robinson's show would have been more informative, but would the same people have watched? I doubt it. He also helped dispel the number one problem with wine, which I certainly struggled with before getting started (and still) -- FEAR.

Save Pale Male <--- GO HERE!
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I don't agree.  The show was obviously targeted to beginners, and gave them a lot of information on the most common grapes, and some good tips.  Namely, drink a few wines, come up with some familiar and specific words to describe what you like, and good wine merchants and sommeliers will be able to guide you in interesting directions.  J. Robinson's show would have been more informative, but would the same people have watched?  I doubt it.  He also helped dispel the number one problem with wine, which I certainly struggled with before getting started (and still) -- FEAR.

Common? Common to where, California? Grenache is more widely planted than Cabernet. Apart from Calilfornia, some of the world's finest wines are either a blend or made from a grape not included in the show. As for less expensive wines, those are not the most common grapes in the world either. My guess is that your good wine merchant is just as likey to be met with suspicion when he suggests another varietal or tells the novice coming straight from the show that the name of the grape isn't the most important term on the label. Maybe I was lucky to come to wine before a time when people feared it. All that was necessary to eliminate disinformation was to say these were six grapes, not the most important six grapes. There's a difference between simple information and simplistic information that's not really acurate.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Common? Common to where, California? Grenache is more widely planted than Cabernet. Apart from Calilfornia, some of the world's finest wines are either a blend or made from a grape not included in the show. As for less expensive wines, those are not the most common grapes in the world either. My guess is that your good wine merchant is just as likey to be met with suspicion when he suggests another varietal or tells the novice coming straight from the show that the name of the grape isn't the most important term on the label. Maybe I was lucky to come to wine before a time when people feared it. All that was necessary to eliminate disinformation was to say these were six grapes, not the most important six grapes. There's a difference between simple information and simplistic information that's not really acurate.

Most common in most people's minds is the point. The great value of the show, which I enjoyed, was its accessibility and Cleese's encouragement for people to try some simple wines and talk to people about them. The reason people fear wine is (1) the complexity of the subject (grapes, countries, regions, languages) and (2) the perception that there are wrong answers, and that they will be looked down upon by merchants/sommeliers for saying the wrong thing. The program helped with that, regardless of any mischaracterization of the six grapes chosen. (Also, I don't think a novice coming straight from the show would have the confidence or knowledge to meet a wine merchant with suspicion, regardless of what he or she says.)

Save Pale Male <--- GO HERE!
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Most common in most people's minds is the point. The great value of the show, which I enjoyed, was its accessibility and Cleese's encouragement for people to try some simple wines and talk to people about them.  The reason people fear wine is (1) the complexity of the subject (grapes, countries, regions, languages) and (2) the perception that there are wrong answers, and that they will be looked down upon by merchants/sommeliers for saying the wrong thing.  The program helped with that, regardless of any mischaracterization of the six grapes chosen.  (Also, I don't think a novice coming straight from the show would have the confidence or knowledge to meet a wine merchant with suspicion, regardless of what he or she says.)

"Most common in most people's minds" - perpetuation of mistruth and half truth is a pet peeve of mine. My point would be to refute myth. For me it's fundamental to education. It's my hangup.

The subject does't get less complex when the simplicity is based on misinformation. There's a way to make things simple without requiring corrections down the road. They missed that.

There are wrong answers, but not in the realm of taste. There is a need to stress one's attention to and faith in one's own taste, but ultimately one is faced with entertaining friends and associates and it helps to know the commonly accepted tastes as well as understand that they too change with fashion. I think Cleese reinforced the idea that one can say the wrong thing to sommeliers by asking a sommelier to tell viewers the best way to approach sommeliers, but I think that was one of the better parts of the show.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I am a relative novice (took a four-part wine class earlier this year and LOVE drinking good wine with good food), and I enjoyed the show. It was basic, but it didn't claim to be anything else. Yes the choice of Merlot as one of the three basic red grapes seemed off to me (but I truly am no expert).

But I have one quibble. Other than the occasional gallery opening where one can't (simply can't) walk around and view the art without a glass of cheap white wine in hand, I don't drink wine without having food with it. For me, wine and food matching is THE most difficult and most exciting challenge of wine. All these wine competitions where wine is consumed without regard to food mean little to me. As you all know, food changes the taste of wine just as wine alters the experience of the food.

So I feel awfully lucky to have a fantastic wine store nearby with an exceptional staff. One wine guy in particular has grown used to our almost weekly "stump the wine guy" challenges. We give him the recipe or menu and he makes the wine matches. There's a lot to learn and I would love to see Cleese do a follow-up show on wine and food pairing, especially one that goes beyond overly simplistic pairings.

Emily
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The six grape varietals that I'd discuss if I only had to choose three red and three white would be Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir for the reds and Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for the whites. Note that these are the very Old World varietals that historically made the highest quality wines. There might have been Grenache/Garnacha in the Old World, but it wasn't being carefully reared and hybridized by Cistercian monks and Medieval lords that used it to build up their power bases by using it for trade. There's a reason that the world's "finest" wines are considered to be from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Germany. The l-o-n-g history and the varietals that are grown there.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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