Friday, October 29, 2010

Oz Clarke on Texas Wines

In the middle of October, 2010, I got a phone call from Oz Clarke’s publicist asking if I would like to join him in a private tasting of Texas wines. He had read my book, The Wine Roads of Texas, and was anxious to learn more about what was happening in Texas wines.

We had a nice time together. He was supposed to stay for about three hours and ended up staying for eight hours. (Pity the poor driver who had to wait! Oz gave him some of the best wine so he could console himself when he got home).

All during our tasting, Oz was throwing out some wonderful advice for the wine makers and grape growers of Texas, so at about midnight, I asked him to give a short talk that would be as if the collected Texas wine industry were there in my office, prepared for Oz’s opinions. That is the recording you see here.

There was a technical problem. My only film camera operates for a maximum of one minute. So Oz had to stop and restart every minute. I have edited out those moments where he gathered his thoughts about Texas wines between recoding snippets, but have done zero editing on the content. While what he says won’t please every single winemaker or grape grower in Texas, Oz stated his case from the heart, truthfully and with what had become over our time together, great faith in the potential of Texas wines.

On a personal note, Oz was a charming and genteel man with an incredible background. He was a singer and actor in London’s West End theaters, a chorister with several of the top choirs in England, a rock’n’roll musician with an album out on EMI, a TV presenter with over 6,000,000 viewers (show will soon be on BBC America), and an author of over 20 books. He was funny and casual until it came to wine, then he was meticulous, careful and very knowledgeable, all without ever being fussy or snobby.

There will be more to come about this interview, including his choices for the best wines of the tasting (mine as well) and interviews with the grape growers responsible for the wines we selected.

For more on Oz, go to or check out his most recent books, “Grapes and Wines,” “Let Me Tell You About Wine,” and “Oz Clarke’s Pocket Wine Guide 2011.”

Enjoy the video!!