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Oz Clarke - award-winning wine writer and critic. A committed Francophile, Oz is one of the world’s leading authorities on French wine. James May (Top Gear): overgrown boy racer, scruff bag, beer drinker. James knows nothing about wine and loathes what he calls “wine ponces” almost as much as he loathes The French.
Oz’s mission is to educate and enthuse James about French wine. James’s mission is not to get too drunk, and by the end of the trip be able walk into a wine shop and buy something good for under a tenner.
TV’s oddest couple hardly knew each other at the start of the series. But over six weeks they travel in James’s specially chosen Jaguar XJS through some of France’s most beautiful wine regions. They eat together, get drunk together and sometimes even have to sleep together in a few nights under canvas.
The aim of this series is to educate unrepentant beer drinker James and viewers in the finer elements of wine appreciation. France's vast array of appellations can be overwhelming to the novice. Oz's job is to arm James and the discerning viewer with the knowledge and confidence to choose the appropriate wine for the appropriate occasion.
Oz realises his task will not be easy: "Six weeks travelling through France with James is sure to be an experience. I'm told James knows next to nothing about wine and I'm guessing he's the kind of fellow that prefers warm ale with twigs floating in it.
"I hope to change this and educate him in the ways of wine. I will relish the challenge!"
James is cautious of Oz's motives: "I like a glass of wine as much as the next bloke, but the trouble with Oz Clarke is that he spends far too much time talking about what sort of soil the grapes grew in and not enough time drinking the stuff. A man could die of thirst."
James will be launched in at the deep end as the incongruous twosome kick off their adventure in Bordeaux before heading south through the Languedoc-Roussillon and on to sun-drenched Provence. Then it's off through the gutsy red wine areas of the Rhone valley before visiting Bordeaux's great rival, Burgundy. After finding refreshment at Chablis and the Loire Valley's Sancerre the relatively unsung region of Alsace is their next destination. Not only is it home to cracking whites like Riesling and Gewürztraminer but also 50% of France's beer production! They finish their road trip in Champagne, where James' acquired knowledge will be put to one final test.
Will James be able to put up with Oz's pretentious ramblings and will Oz be able to cope with James foibles? All this plus two men camping, classic cars and food glorious food.
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For more information and recipes from this series, click here.