Monday, September 5, 2011

Vine Talk TV Show

A new style of wine program, for better or for worse. Each show offers a themed tasting with various celebrities. Some truly famous people appear as well as a number more likely to generate "Who?" from the audience. Often a restaurateur joins in the fun. Stanley Tucci hosts and looks for comedic opportunities while Ray Isle (from Food & Wine) accurately offers tidbits about the region, grape, etc.
Successful episodes have engaging characters. I just watched a Finger Lakes riesling tasting that had little to offer except Nathan Lane who was out of control and thoroughly amusing, if completely distracting. Tune in to see people who interest you get interviewed by Tucci while they occasionally discuss wine. If no one on the panel hooks you, skip it. Don't expect to be able to discern what wine you might like based on celebrities' comments.
Do not tune in to learn much about wine but there are occasional nuggets if you pay attention. The celebrities range from collectors and oenologic geeks to neophytes. In other words, this tasting resembles so many I have attended but with "fancier" guests. Some interrupt any serious discussion, some revel in guzzling and putting on a show, some remain mostly quiet, some exhibit classic misunderstandings.
A group of people taste the same wines blind and the finale unveils the favorite wine of the crowd and panel. With a half-hour show, time flies but I find the lack of more consistent expert guidance frustrating. It would be great to offer a few more insights to guide consumers.
The producers stress that this is a new style of wine program emphasizing "a welcoming environment for viewers." I question how many complete novices are tuning in and therefore believe they would be better served to offer a few more in-depth observations/explanations.

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