Over the course of five videos, Jancis Robinson gives us a basic understanding of wine: how it is made, how to appreciate it, how to properly store, open, and drink it. Robinson is an expert in the field, editor of The Oxf... more »ord Companion to Wine, as well as a columnist for the Wine Spectator. These tapes, though, are not just about the drink; just as interesting is her look into the people behind the wines. Each video introduces a new locale and the people who cultivate the grapes and turn them into nectar. Robinson never speaks down to her viewer--she points out that wine should not be a serious subject, that its point is to provide pleasure--although she is frequently a bit condescending to the vintners in her interviews, making the show all the more amusing. Some of the best moments occur when she offers a winemaker a taste of the competitor's wine--somehow they never think it is quite up their own standards. She revels in revealing the scandals and failures of the wine world, providing a gossipy feel. While the wine course is more than enough reason to watch this series, the cinematography is spectacular, beautifully highlighting the wine-growing regions of the world--from Australia to Chile to Oregon to Europe. Mixing history and culture with nuts and bolts, this set is a perfect place to start if you have little or no previous knowledge of wine. --Jenny Brown« less
"This DVD series comes in a box set of 5 DVD's (2 series per DVD). The first DVD is an introduction to wine, with the second program being about the grape variety Chardonnay. DVD 2 is about Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc. DVD 3 Syrah/Shiraz, and Riesling. DVD 4 is about Pinot Noir, and Merlot. DVD 5 is about fizz, and grape invaders.I first saw this BBC series on TV Ontario, a few years ago, and since I missed a few programs I decided to buy the series on DVD. I'm glad I did. Jancis takes a sensible view of wine, and wine tasting. This program is not for wine snobs, but for those people who want to know how to understand and appreciate wine in general. If you know how to taste a wine, then you'll know how to enjoy what appeals to your own taste buds, and not what you think you should like based on intimidations from others. You can also tell if someone tasting a wine knows what they are doing from the way they smell, and taste the wine to the way they hold the glass. Likewise if you order a wine in a good restaurant it helps to know if they are serving it correctly (in an appropriate glass, and at the right temperature), else they shouldn't be charging high prices for a product they don't know how to serve.I always liked Julia Child because she taught the viewer the science of cooking. Jancis's Robinson does the same thing. She shows you the science of wine, and how it's made. I particularly like the program on fizz. It opened my mind to sparkling wines from other regions of the world other than France and champagne... especially since the series revealed that many of these sparkling wines from around the world are being produced with French methods by French companies. Is it necessary to let a wine breath? What does corked mean? Jancis answers these questions. I also found it surprising to know that most wines should be drunk when they are young. Only a few wines need to be aged.I've seen wine tasters appear on tv shows (Eg: Martha Stewart). They taste wines and ramble on about how good it is etc etc. However none of these experts show people what to look for when tasting. They don't show you how important the sinuses are in tasting. It's all fine and dandy to watch Martha Stewart look at the experts and agree that the wine they just tasted is excellent. They however neglect to show you how to do it yourself, and fine out what you consider to be excellent according to your own likes and dislikes. Jancis does show you in this series. Wine tasting is a personal thing... what one taster likes another dislikes.Since watching the series I've decided to try Australian, New Zealand, and Chilean wines. I'm glad I did. Jancis is not afraid to place wines from these new wine countries, up against the best that Western Europe can offer. Jancis has opened my mind to wine. I recommend this series to anyone that seriously wants to learn how to consume wine. It's also handy to have Jancis Robinson's book as well "Jancis Robinson's Wine Course" BBC Books ISBN 0-563-37098-X."
Superb introduction to the art, science & history of wine
themjb | 01/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I seldom score five stars, as most productions could be improved. But, Robinson's 5 videos--and I strongly recommend viewing all five--satisfy all the requirements of its mission; i.e., to introduce the novice to the history, culture, perspective and art of wine production and enjoyment. One cannot learn everything about wine from these or any videos; that is patently impossible. Rather, they provide a foundation from which one can develop an appreciation and understanding of the influence of and enjoyment to be derived from this subject.If you believe that wine is merely a form of booze or a great marketing effort by the French or France and California are the only regions producing great wine or worse--e.g., believe the Fed's labels that moderate consumption of wine is deleterious to one's health--watch and listen to Jancis for five hours. You will travel the planet; explore wine from its roots to the noses of its most sophisticated artisans; better understand why wine consumption has decreased in France, while its best vineyards charge hundreds for a single bottle; why wine can improve with age; and--some would argue--why without terroir (roughly, the soul of the soil) a wine cannot be truly great."
A True Gem: Possibly the ** BEST ** wine video around
Jireh Mak | Sydney, Australia | 11/30/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jancis Robinson has achieved what so few people do in the wine world; write about the wine with poise, humour and grace as well as educate and inspire. The descriptions are fantastic, the music is lovely and the views are absolutely breathtaking. From cork to barrels to grapes, she touches on each aspect of winemaking and how they influence the flavour. She takes you on a tour of all the classic winegrowing regions as well as the new upstarts. The winemakers are all prodded and interviewed gently for their woes and joys in making what, in Robinson's mind and mine, a nectar of the gods. I first saw this video a year ago as a BBC publication in Australia so I can't remember all the details to comment on them. However, the ones I do remember I wouldn't want to ruin it for people. See the video, it's fun."
Ronald J. Benza | San Francisco, CA | 02/13/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"An excellent series (BBC. Jancis Robinson brings a certain wit & British charm to the whole subject. She has an amazing ability to stand outside of the wine hype and almost view it as an outsider. The only thing is this: this series has a 1995 copyright. And a lot has happened in 13 years!"
Possibly the best video introduction to wine
themjb | 11/09/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this video series in Australia where it has recieved rave reviews. I've watched it three times and I can say it is candid, unstuffy yet still authoritative and humourous and immensely informative. Highlights include her interview with a French winemaker about the Australians and vice-versa; inside shots of Chateau Margaux; breathtaking views of the Rhine River valley; and a blind taste test with the winemaker for Moet-Chandon. As a trained journalist, the interviews and descriptions flow smoothly. As a holder of an MW, she knows what she's talking about. She's the only wine writer I've read who can peel the snobbery off the wine world and still leave all the glamour and fun.Very highly recommended."