I didn't set out to be a wine writer. I set out to be a wine drinker.
I didn't set out to be a critic. I intended to be a hedonist scouring the world for flavors and smells, sucking them all in as much with my emotions as with my intellect. It's not that I don't like the intellectual demands of wine. I do. Indeed some wines seem better suited to cerebral rather than self-indulgent response.
But I've always wanted to put wines and their flavors into context. Not just the context of what wine goes with what food—sometimes you don't want to eat, you just want to revel in the liquid unashamed. But also their sense of place. Where they came from, the culture and politics of their land, the character and foibles of their producers.
And then there's who you drink them with. People often tell me of some fabled bottle they possess, that's growing old and melancholy as they fret about what special occasion could possibly deserve it. So the wine dies. I just say—next time good friends turn up with smiles on their faces—fetch the bottle, pour large glasses and toast—here's to health and happiness. Here's to being alive.
People ask me about my most memorable bottles—and I have drunk my share of Lafites and Montrachets—but I think of friends, of lovers, of hopes and fears, sunsets, sunrise and deepest night. And, more than most, I think of an unlabelled bottle of prickly purple Tuscan red I drank in a sun-kissed meadow near Siena with a girl I adored, long, long ago.
What I do love to do is to communicate as broadly as I can, and on as many levels as I can. I used to be an actor—I was the first person ever arrested by the first Superman in the first film. And I was a singer. I sang Sweeney Todd in London's West End. I sang the original Lord of the Rings music. I now do a TV series with James May of Top Gear fame and with a top British comedian called Hugh Dennis. And if you called it "Oz & James' thinly disguised drinking holiday"—that would be about right. It's coming to BBC America very soon. You can check it out.
I can use fine wine language with the best of them. But I prefer to engage an audience on many more levels than those of tannin, acidity and the use of new French oak.
And where do I most like to visit? I enjoy Bordeaux, I enjoy Napa and Sonoma, Chianti and the Douro, all those. But I'm just off to taste the wines of New York and Texas, followed by California oddballs. Then I'm going to Sweden to taste 90 Swedish wines (!), then Bordeaux to keep up to speed, then Croatia, Chile and Brazil. And I'm equally excited about every single one.
There's a whole, exhilarating world of wine out there. I can't wait to find out about it. And that's what I want to share.
Meet Oz in this video interview:
James Laube — Napa, CA — November 9, 2010 4:27pm ET
David Rapoport — CA — November 9, 2010 4:31pm ET
Chris Carrad — New Zealand — November 9, 2010 4:49pm ET
Colin Haggerty — La Jolla, California — November 9, 2010 7:46pm ET
Jim Mcneely — Montclair, NJ — November 9, 2010 8:47pm ET
Joe Lombardi — Toms River, NJ — November 9, 2010 10:14pm ET
Johnny Espinoza Esquivel — Wine World — November 10, 2010 10:29am ET
James J Sherma — hershey, PA — November 10, 2010 12:51pm ET
Matt Bayless — Los Angeles, Ca, USA — November 10, 2010 4:03pm ET
Stephen Stewart — new mexico — November 10, 2010 5:35pm ET
Barend Weijdom — Portugal — November 11, 2010 7:09am ET
Don Pullum — Mason, Texas — November 11, 2010 9:29am ET
Alan Ball — Jameston, NC — November 12, 2010 8:57am ET
Guillermo Wright — Guayaquil, Ecuador — November 12, 2010 10:19am ET
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