Our 1995 five-hour, 10-part BBC TV series Jancis Robinson's Wine Course filmed on four continents (Asia was not yet a significant player in the wine world) won many an award, as you can see here under '...non-bimbo broadcaster'. As I argued in Wine on the wide screen, wine is a much more challenging subject for television than food with its natural transformation (at the start of the recently released movie SOMM about candidates in the MS exam is a montage of virtually all moving parts in wine production). Perhaps this is why there have been so few high-quality visual tours of the wonderful world of wine and why there still seems to be a market for our 18-year-old series.
A New York-based company, Netframes, has just had an app based on Jancis Robinson's Wine Course approved and released. It includes not just our luscious film (this was one of the very last BBC series shot on film not video and it used to take our seven-person crew hours and hours to pass through each airport) but also food and wine matching suggestions and a guide to wine grapes – though definitely nothing as ambitious as our enormous recent book Wine Grapes. We are still hard at work creating an e-book from our multi-award-winning tome. It is proving surprisingly difficult to put it into a form that is easily navigable on a Kindle, iPad, etc but we are hoping it will be ready some time in September and the publishers Penguin/Ecco plant to sell it at £50/$75.
To find out more about the new app with five hours of sumptuous footage around the wine world, see the Complete Wine Course with Jancis Robinson, available now on the iTunes App Store – at a decidedly robust, but 50% off regular price for a summer sale, $99.99 a pop.
This is admittedly far from a bargain, but I must confess to disappointment with most of the wine apps I have looked at so far. At least on ours you can see not just a much more wrinkle-free me, but all those beautiful landscapes as well of course as scores of larger-than-life characters in the world of wine. Some of them are no longer with us, so I particularly treasure my extended encounters with the late Henri Jayer in our Pinot Noir episode and with the late Didier Dagueneau in our Sauvignon Blanc episode (which also features the birth of Cloudy Bay and a vintage plane). Other particularly memorable scenes include Dominique Lafon blind tasting Jacob's Creek Chardonnay and Lalou Bize-Leroy blind tasting Oregon Pinot. But there is much, much more in these 10 episodes, each one loosely centred on a grape variety. We go all over France, to Germany (helicopters, rock climbing with Erni Loosen and a 50-year-old J J Prüm Riesling), to Austria with the late Alois Kracher, to South Australia including the basement of Peter Lehmann, who so sadly died last week, to California (Francis Ford Coppola, hot air ballooning et al) and to Chile for the finale. It was a wonderful wine tour and it all adds up to a great introduction to wine IMHO.