Even if you know zero about wine, it’s hard to resist the cheeky charm of “The Wine Show.” In the first episode of the newly uncorked Season 2 (10 p.m. Thursdays on Ovation TV), wine connoisseur Joe Fattorini (aka “Obi Wine Kenobi”) tries to find the perfect wine for brash British comic Gina Yashere, who asks, “Can I get a glass of wine that tastes something like Sprite?”
Yet it is a very sophisticated show, with lots of wine info to share and multiple storylines in each episode.
In the season premiere Nov. 15, the Sprite search is intercut with segments featuring actors Matthew Goode (Princess Margaret’s hubbie Antony Armstrong-Jones in “The Crown”) and James Purefoy (whose lengthy resume includes King George VI in the film “Churchill”). Purefoy describes his wine persona as “the useful idiot.” But that’s not quite true. In the season premiere, he and Goode swirl and swig wines to find the perfect pairings for a series of amazing amuse-bouches from a Michelin-starred chef, who’s preparing food for them as they hang out in a French villa.
And in case that’s not enough British star power, Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) sizes up new wine gadgets, like an inflatable bulb to pop in an opened bottle and pump up so leftover wine won’t come into contact with air, which causes oxidation that creates a vinegary taste.
The show will undoubtedly add to your wine vocabulary, with adjectives like “plush” and “pillowy.” For those whose taste buds are tickled by Sprite, we learn that a Riesling might do the trick. “Well done; I like that one,” says Yashere.
The show also serves up glorious vistas from the world of wine country — the Pacific Coast and France, of course, along with vinescapes from Argentina, Bosnia and Spain.
But don’t be envious of the cast members. “It’s an incredibly hard show to film because you start drinking at 8:30 every morning and you drink solidly — there’s no spittooning — until 6:30 p.m.,” Rhys told Entertainment Weekly. Yet I could not detect a single slurred line in Episode 1. Maybe they’re subbing Sprite for wine!