When was the last time a great bottle of wine left you in tears? For English actor James Purefoy, it was a 2017 Herdade do Maroteira Cem Reis Syrah Reserva he tasted in Portugal's ferociously hot wine (and cork) region of Alentejo during season 3 of The Wine Show, which debuts July 29 in the U.S. on Sundance Now.
The British docuseries, which started with The Americans' Matthew Rhys and The Crown's Matthew Goode, is now bringing Purefoy on for the second time, along with a new addition, The Wire's Dominic West.
Purefoy, whose passion for wine started early in life, joined the cast for season 2 in the south of France after getting a sneak peek of season 1: While filming a remake of the show Roots on USA Network, Purefoy caught Goode looking at rushes (also known as dailies, or raw footage) of the show he had started with mutual friend Rhys.
"I said, ‘This show is terrific,’" Purefoy told Wine Spectator. "He told me they went out and met winegrowers and owners and sat down and had lunch, and I said, ‘That doesn't sound like work at all, but a slice of heaven for a few weeks.’"
When Rhys landed a job on Steven Spielberg’s The Post, the scheduling conflicted with production of season of 2 of The Wine Show, so Goode brought Purefoy along for the ride.
"We went from Lyon down to Cannes [and the] Rhône Valley, meeting master winemakers and trying lots of rosés," said Purefoy. "We then [visited] Ardeche and Camargue … where the wine grapes grow well near the ocean, so there is a salty, tangy taste to the wines."
This year, Purefoy and his co-stars meet at the season 3 headquarters: Douro Valley's Quinta do Noval. During the seven-episode season, Goode and Purefoy follow the cork harvest and trek across Portugal in search of the country's best wines, eventually presenting their picks to co-host and British radio and TV presenter Joe Fattorini. Purefoy admits he's gotten much better at tasting wines after a long day.
"I've learned my lesson, having done two seasons," he says. "Very small sips are more than enough!"
The show also makes its way out of Portugal: Fattorini travels through Thailand, Germany and Hungary and joins Rhys at the legendary Russ & Daughters in New York, among some of Rhys' other Big Apple favorites.
"I find the show is like a warm hug," Purefoy says. "It's educational and passionate, and you meet extraordinary people who slave away to make these wines and go through really hard, tough times and then turn a corner and have a good year."
Purefoy says the team is working on a few specials and toying with the idea of exploring other wine regions such as Australia, New Zealand and California for upcoming seasons. He is also considering joining West on a winemaking project.
Viewers in the U.S. and Canada can catch season 3 of The Wine Show on Sundance Now, as well as AMC+ and Acorn TV.
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