Monday, February 4, 2019

Wine Masters (2)

I have now viewed all five episodes of season 1 and can give a more comprehensive review than in my previous post. The series is filmed and produced by Klaas de Jong, a dutch film maker and wine enthusiast. It covers five regions in France, the Rhone, Bordeaux, the Loire, Burgundy and Alsace. In each episode, a leading family from the region is featured. They are the Guigals from the Northern Rhone, the Bouard family of Chateau Angelus fame from St Emilion, the Bourgeois family from Sancerre, the Drouhin family from Burgundy, and the Trimbachs from Alsace.

The series is all class. The cinematography is outstanding, the interviews are excellent. In each case, at least one younger and an older representative of the family are featured, which gives a nice framework for the story. Expert commentary is delivered by highly regarded Tim Atkin and Jeannie Cho Lee, both Masters of Wine. They speak in an easily digestable and sometimes slightly cheeky fashion.

The information content works better in some episodes than in others. For example, it is not possible to discuss the range of Guigal wines or Drouhin, who makes about 100 different wines. What comes across in each episode is the purpose and passion of these families.

In the Bordeaux episode, you hear about the main grape varieties and different wine styles. In the Loire and Burgundy episodes, terroir is a major discussion point. You learn about different takes on Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire, and about biodynamics in Burgundy. Also some good comments on the wine ratings system here. The episode on Trimbach is strong on the main varieties, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewuerztraminer.

It is probably inevitable that the films include quite a lot of walking through vineyards, grape picking and stainless steel, as every wine tour would. You can watch each episode on its own, but it comes together nicely as a whole. One minor problem; I could not turn on the subtitles in English, as some of the older winemakers talk in French. Maybe this is because I had a reviewer copy, not sure. But you can get the gist of what is being said anyway. If you are concerned about this, you can start with Burgundy, which is all in English. 

Wine Masters is on or vimeo on demand. There are different payment options. Season 2, about Italy, is out as well.    

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