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John Cleese: Wine for the Confused

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cleese, Alyce Faye Eichelberger
  • Directors: David Kennard
  • Writers: John Cleese, David Kennard
  • Producers: Victoria Simpson
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Content/Copy-Protected CD, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Paradox
  • Release Date: Aug. 23 2005
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009NZ6P2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,015 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nick on April 29 2010
Format: DVD
I had high hopes for this video being both a huge Cleese fan and student in a Sommelier program. Unfortunately, I found the production quality to be poor and even Cleese's renowned wit to be absent. It was certainly something a first year film student could have thrown together for a class assignment and the presense of a couple of low-brow C-list celebrities for comic relief added nothing. The most disappointing was the scripting. I admire good ad-libbing, but here the commentary seemed just amateur. It was as if no one really thought out logically what Cleese was supposed to say or what to ask the winemakers (even Cleese). While there were certainly some interesting moments, the lack of real humour AND the lack of hard wine information make this video a disappointment.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Unique video explains the making of wine and selecting suitable wines in very simple terms in a humourous or Monty Python way!! Very entertaining.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 30 reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Can't go wrong with wine and Cleese June 29 2005
By J. Dorman - Published on
Format: DVD
This is a great primer for all you beginning wine buffs out there. I think John Cleese does a great jod of keeping an intimidating subject lower key and very modest. Look for the great reaction when he doesn't realize the power of fermentation and he puts his head into the vat!!! The bottom line: he is trying to prove that wine doesnt have to be intimidating and scary!!! Good show and I reccomend it to all.
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Drink What You Like! Oct. 3 2005
By rodboomboom - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Snobbery abounds in the wine world. Proof of this is hereby demonstrated on this video with Cleese's winetasting party where he has maybe twenty guests vote on which is the cheap bottle vs. the expensive bottle of same grapetype. There wasn't a clear majority who could identify not knowing the label, price.

So, whole point of this well done work on wine is find what you like to drink and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. This is important, since there is so much namedropping in wine drinking world. Buy and drink what you like, and try new things, as Cleese demonstrates with his own wine drinking ventures into new realms never explored by his palate before.

It is well done, with basics covered with hands on shots and interviews. Not an overdo of his humor [which is monumentally good] but very warm and inviting format and hosting on his part.

I tremendously enjoyed this, especially the discussion about the terrario (spelling?), the whole envioronmental scene where grapes on grown, which solidified much of wine discussion for me in a great way.

I believe this will be enjoyable and valuable resource for all levels.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Good basic intro to wine, but also proves that wine is still intimidating Feb. 1 2006
By Scott Schiefelbein - Published on
Format: DVD
John Cleese's "Wine for the Confused" is an excellent DVD for the novice wine person like me. Wine-wise, I have the mixed blessing of living in Portland, Oregon, which is a short drive from dozens of excellent assorted Willamette Valley vineyards. Which means that I am able to try a lot of good wine, but also that I have to deal with a lot of wine snobs.

John Cleese's DVD will surely help me with the more enjoyable task of figuring out just what wine I like and how to explain it. Essentially, Cleese brings his considerable wit and star power to bear in de-mystifying the process. When John Cleese says, "Just use your own words to describe the wine, and tell me what you like and don't like," everyone has to listen. (It's a shame that Cleese doesn't have a companion DVD entitled, "John Cleese -- Taking Wine Snobs Down a Peg or Two.")

Cleese puts his advice into action by hosting a wine tasting at his house and also visiting a few wineries. At the wine party, he proves how challenging (and silly) (and fun) wine can be, he asks his guests to price several bottles (ranging from $5 to $200) based on taste alone. It's comforting to know that his guests (including a near-drunken Brendan Fraser) are as likely to properly identify the $200 bottle as they are to guess that it's worth $5.

But it's also interesting that while Cleese's guests are having a good time at his party, several of them get hesitant when he asks them to give their opinions about the wine they are drinking. This serves as confirmation that we need more wine education like this -- even in the comforting environment of a casual wine tasting, you can tell that Cleese's friends, like most of us, are afraid they might come across as "unsophisticated" or even worse, a "beer drinker."

Cleese's quick walk-through six different types of wine is also helpful, and one wishes that he could have explored a few more. He focuses on three whites (Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc) and three reds (Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon). Again, while I wish he had chosen an even wider range, this section is an excellent primer.

One thing Cleese is not able to do is to take the pretension out of the wine people that he's talking to. They don't come across as obnoxious French types, but it's still pretty clear that if these folks weren't talking to a star like John Cleese, they might not be so tolerant of his rudimentary questions. While pleasant folks, they are also the types of people who wax poetic because a certain vineyard's "terroir" (a word Cleese helpfully defines) includes nearby eucalyptus trees. One thing I've learned living in wine country, wine fans who profess to taste the influence of nearby foliage are generally the folks with whom you don't want to discuss wine.

Tips on buying wine are also helpful because Cleese points out some of the gimmicks in the trade, from the snobby waiter to the layout at your wine store, and how you can use them to spot some real values.

This DVD only gets four stars because it stops so soon. Chock full of helpful hints and basic elementary knowledge, this DVD leaves you wishing that this was the first in a long series. And that's not a bad thing. I'm just not sure this isn't a more suitable candidate for a rental than for a permanent slot in the film library.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Treat your friends and learn something too! Dec 7 2005
By B. Jaden - Published on
Format: DVD
We saw this delightful documentary once and then came up with an inspired idea. The show goes over many things wine, but is primarily structured by exploring the 6 "great grapes" that are made into the wines we all know and love, one at a time. We went down to Cost Plus and Bev Mo and bought a bottle of each type of wine, invited the a few couples over for a surprise and as John presents each type of wine, we opened the bottle and poured them a glass. It went over tremendously well (but remember to provide a receptacle for pouring unwanted wines out!).

The show is witty without being over the top in any way, very informative while being laid back and charming. If you have any interest in wine, this is a GREAT place to start.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A great introduction! Jan. 6 2006
By Edward H. Carroll - Published on
Format: DVD
The world of wine is a very broad subject that can often be intimidating, but on this show John Cleese does a fabulous job of putting you perfectly at ease, by being a warm and gracious host. He breaks down the subject of wine perfectly by posing just the right questions to the wine experts he interviews throughout the show and does so with a confident and witty attitude. This is the perfect way to introduce yourself or someone you know to the world of wine.

The DVD includes:

* `Wine for the Confused' (45 minutes): This is the original television documentary that aired on the `Food Network.'

Red Grapes Covered: Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

White Grapes Covered: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

* `Extended Conversations with Wine Experts' (45 minutes): John Cleese offers additional tips and advice on wine in a short segment. The rest of this section contains portions of interviews John Cleese did with several wine experts that were cut out of the original television documentary because of time constraints.

NOTE: The information given on this DVD is very basic, which is why it is called `Wine for the Confused' (it was meant for people who don't know anything about wine). The information given was not meant to turn you into a Master Sommelier! It was meant to teach you the basics and do it an enjoyable and un-intimidating way, which John Cleese does perfectly!


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