Oz Clarke has to be the most recognisable ‘face’ of wine in the UK. God knows how long ago he first stepped into the limelight alongside Jilly Goolden on the BBC’s Food and Drink but now I guess he is more known for being slightly sloshed/hung-over/exasperated with James May and their travels. The Oz Clarke and James Drink to Britain series won them the Personality of the Year award at the International Wine Challenge this year.
A copy of his latest book – Oz Clarke 250 Best Wines 2010
arrived yesterday. It’s of stocking filler size and price (£6.99, although Amazon have it at just £4.23) with 190 odd pages listing, as the name suggests, 250 selected wines.
Oz’s independent, enthusiastic and reliable recommendations will help you find the wines you want at the prices you want to pay. He has tasted thousands of wines to select his top 250 wines for 2010 and describes his choices with his trademark wisdom and wit.
Here are Oz’s top 50 wines, 100 wines for around a tenner, cheap and cheerful wines from around £4, festive fizz from Champagne to Proscecco and Cava, Sweet wines, sherry and port and many more favourites.
Oz Clarke 250 Best Wines is the must-have shopping guide to make wine buying hassle-free. The book includes a handy guide to finding the flavours you want, advice on storing, serving and tasting and the directory to the best places to buy wine in the UK, from regional fine wine merchants to supermarkets and high street chains.”
- Top 50 his top wines of the year all coming in at the £12-£20 mark
- 100 for around a tenner
- Around £5 which includes wines up to £6…
- Cheap and cheerful a difficult area to find anything memorable but all 15 come in at under £4.50
- Rosé wines
- Keeping it light: 12% alcohol or less
- Fizz – with champagne outnumbered 2:1 by other sparklers
- Fortified wines
The guide includes full details of where to buy, exactly what such a guide requires. A flick through shows a preponderance of Marks& Spencers (which is great as they have a fine range, just wish they would open a branch near me!) but many of those dynamic, smaller independent merchants also get a showing; companies such as From Vineyards Direct
, Big Red Wine Company
, Vin du Van and Bat and Bottle
Each wine has a typical Oz style note. Take his description of the 2007 Fié Gris Vin de Pays du Val de Loire from Domaine de l’Aujardiè
(Lea and Sandeman
£13.95 in the guide, £14.95 online)
“The wine sent me into a reverie – sappy, fresh-turned earth in a springtime farmer’s field, the smell of sunrise, the smell of dew, the smell of mist lingering in the eaves of cottages clinging damply to the hillside. Old crab apples, kicked about the lanes by muddy boys, then harvested and stewed, the mud and the raw fruit finally finding some vestige of sweetness. Sap, twigs, bent not broken. Moist bark, fresh, green and then here’s a stem with that grey-green mould you find in dark, wet woods…”
I don’t care what you think of his writing style; I just have to try that wine!
Oz Clarke’s 250 Best Wines, 2010 Wine Buying Guide is available from Amazon.co.uk