Once upon a time, there were three close friends, united in a passion to make the hitherto stuffy world of wine more accessible and – above all – fun.
They indulged that determination (with one even giving up his stage career – at that point playing President Peron in the West End production of Evita) until all three became established TV wine gurus.
More recently, however, they - Olly Smith, Tim Atkin and Oz (Peron) Clarke – have formed a team called the Three Wine Men and deliver gloriously laid-back, UK-wide events aimed at wine novices and veterans alike. They chat to visitors, conduct wine walks, inject a general air of infectious enthusiasm and literally hop on a soapbox to laud something one of the numerous exhibitors is offering.
Next month, Oz, Tim and Olly bring the show to Edinburgh’s Signet Library to give Scots the chance to sample wines from exhibitors as diverse as Majestic or Freixenet and boutique producers such as Domaine Belfort – a relatively new family-owned producer near Cahors – that will be exhibiting 2010 Tour de Belfort red, a well structured, soft yet spicy regional blend.
Even less familiar will be Wines of Brazil with gems such as 2010 Lidio Carraro Dadivas pinot noir, a delightfully soft, juicy and unoaked pinot. Brazil is an interesting country since – some of its wines are produced in challenging conditions a mere 8° from the equator.
California will be showing some the classy zinfandel attributed to the fantastic Joel (No Wimpy Wines Here) Peterson, the founder of Ravenswood. The output from that winery includes 2009 Ravenswood Lodi zinfandel with its nicely balanced plum and vanilla flavours and the dense mint and red plum touches of 2006 Ravenswood Teldeschi zinfandel.
The timing of the event is good because of the recent launch of an updated version of Oz Clarke’s book, Bordeaux – The Wines, the Vineyards, the Winemakers (Pavilion, £25) which offers a comprehensive review of that star among wine regions.
To help readers get the best from this event, Johnson Press has secured some excellent discounts – visit the TWM website (www.threewinemen.co.uk) or phone 0844 858 6759 and quote code 3WINEJP for £5 off each £20 ticket. For a discount of £5 on Oz’s book, , telephone 0844 576 8122 and cite CH1662.
Either way, make your way to the Signet Library on 23 or 24, pick up a glass and a brochure and simply taste as many wines as you fancy. What could be simpler – or nicer?