The Three Wine Men will be just one of the highlights of the York Festival of Food and Drink, writes Christine Austin.
With more effervescence than the bubbles in champagne, more wine knowledge than a whole library of books and a level of enthusiasm that could be almost dangerous, the Three Wine Men, otherwise known as Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin and Olly Smith, will be in York on the weekend of September 26 and 27. They are there as part of the York Festival of Food and Drink, adding their own particular wine tasting skills to the biggest wine event it has ever held.
They will be host tastings and masterclasses in a large marquee on Dean’s Park, right next to the Minster.
Not only will Oz, Tim and Olly be sharing their wine knowledge and enthusiasm but there will be over 40 exhibitors showing wines from around the world as well as six winemakers from Australia and New Zealand who will host tasting tables and pour wines for visitors.
These are some of the people you can meet at the Three Wine Men event.
• Oz Clarke: Oz is one of the world’s leading wine experts, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of wine, beer and all things drinkable. He has written dozens of wine books and appeared in many BBC TV programmes, including 18 years with Food and Drink and several series of programmes with Top Gear’s James May as they toured Britain investigating beers, cider, and whisky.
• Tim Atkin: Tim is a Master of Wine and a regular presenter on BBC TV Saturday Kitchen. He has written wine columns in The Times, The Observer and The Economist and is chairman of the International Wine Challenge. Tim his camera. Tim will present wine and cheese-matching masterclasses.
• Olly Smith: Fresh from his stint on Radio 2 when he sat in for Clare Balding on Sunday mornings, Olly is also a regular on Saturday Kitchen. He has many other TV credits including The Secret Supper Club and guest appearances on The Wright Stuff. Olly is the wine editor of the Mail on Sunday, has published three books and even has his own wine bar – The Glass House – on P&O cruise ships.
• Louisa Rose, Yalumba, Australia: Louisa has been making wine at Yalumba in South Australia for 22 years and has been Chief Winemaker since 2006. Named as Winemaker of the Year by Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine in 2008, she has won many accolades and medals for her wines, in particular for her work with Viognier.
• Tom Barry, Jim Barry Wines, Australia: Making a welcome return to York, Tom is a third generation winemaker at the family winery, Jim Barry Wines in Clare Valley, South Australia. While famous for deep-flavoured The Armagh Shiraz and The Lodge Shiraz, the Jim Barry Rieslings are particularly distinctive and delicious.
• Simon Steele, Brokenwood, Australia: Winemaker at fashionable Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley, Simon has worked across Europe in Tuscany, Burgundy, Rioja, Rueda and Ribera del Duero before returning to Brokenwood. Make sure you taste the fabulous Brokenwood Semillon.
• Virginia Willcock, Vasse Felix, Margaret River, Australia: Chief winemaker at one of the most famous Western Australian wineries, Virginia was named Australian Winemaker of the Year in 2012. She believes that the Margaret River region could be one of the greatest wine regions in the world. Vasse Felix makes spectacularly good Cabernet-based wines and Sauvignon/Semillon blends. Make sure you try them.
• Jeff Clarke, Ara, New Zealand: Recognised as one of the world’s best winemakers, Jeff has played a key role in developing Marlborough’s famous Sauvignon Blanc. Now Chief Winemaker at Ara, one of New Zealand’s most individual and well-planned estates, Jeff is making a fine range of wines.
• Clive Jones, Nautilus Estate, New Zealand: Winemaker at Marlborough-based Nautilus Winery for the last 14 years, Clive has pioneered the production of Pinot Noir at Nautilus, planting low-yielding, premium Dijon clones and creating a dedicated, gravity-flow winery for these exceptional wines. And he makes a rather good Sauvignon Blanc too.
Also at the Three Wine Men show:
Many wine producers and retailers will be at the Three Wine Men event, pouring their favourite wines. The retailers include:
Berry Bros and Rudd: the very smart St James’ wine merchant famous not only as a wine shop but also for their tastings, lunches and wine school.
Yapp Brothers from Wiltshire, with a fantastic range of wines from the Rhône, Loire and regional France.
Bon Coeur Fine Wines from Masham with an excellent range of classics from Bordeaux and Burgundy but also some excellent wines from Spain, Italy and the New World.
The Wine Society Not so much a retailer than a way of life, The Wine Society is no stranger to Yorkshire, holding regular tastings throughout the year. You have to join to gain access to its list, but it is a fabulous selection of great wines at exceptionally good value prices.
Wine producers at the event include:
Te Mata, Yealand Estates, Seifried, Villa Maria and Brancott from New Zealand; McGuigan, Brown Brothers, De Bortoli and Jacobs Creek from Australia.
Torres, Campo Viejo and Barbadillo from Spain; Graffigna, Torres and Trapiche from South America; Ports from Graham’s and Cockburn’s and Madeira from Blandy’s.
Other producers and retailers are still trying to get a space in the marquee, so whichever day you decide to visit there will be hundreds of wines to taste.
Tickets for the Three Wine men event are available on the website – click through from www.threewinemen.co.uk – at £25 per session. There are three sessions; Friday 26, 5.30pm to 8.30pm; Saturday 27, 11am to 3pm and Saturday 4pm to 7.30 pm. Masterclasses are an extra £5.
Tickets are selling fast, so make sure you buy yours before they sell out for this exceptional event.