Talking wine with Jancis Robinson
You are known for you comprehensive tomes such as the Oxford Companion to Wine, so this 112-page book is a very different offering from you. How did this come about?
It started with our 24-year-old daughter, who was always being asked by her friends about wines... ‘How should I store this? Should I buy this wine? Your mother is a wine writer so you must know.’ So at one stage, she thought she would write a guide to wine for her friends. She got a whole load of them around and did a bit of a focus group to see what they wanted to know and what puzzled them. Then she got a great job and she gave up on that idea. But I thought it was a great idea, so I used her checklist and put together this book.
So who is the book for?
The 24-Hour Wine Expert is for people who drink wine, but aren’t too serious about it. They want to know the basics, the short cuts to the important things about the wine.
What are the things that people want to know?
I think they want to know the practicalities. They want to know how to taste, how to get the most out of every bottle. For instance, they want to know why you should only fill your wine glass half full. They want to know how to choose a bottle of wine off the shelf, they want to be able to look at a wine label and understand what it is telling them. They want to be able to choose wine from a wine list at a restaurant...People want to know what the heck that business of giving a taste of wine in restaurants is all about.
Can someone become a wine expert in 24 hours?
The book is written in a way that you could easily read it in 24 hours and after which you’d have all the essentials for understanding wine.
Having said that, I have been writing about wine for 40 years and I am a Master of Wine, but I never call myself a wine expert because I don’t know it all. There was one short time in my life when I thought I knew everything about wine and that was when I came top of my wine education course. Then I wrote my first book and realised I didn’t know much about wine at all. The world of wine is constantly changing and I learn something every day.
The title could also have another meaning, because you are the expert (despite what you’ve just said) and you probably think about wine 24/7. Are there times when you don’t think about wine?
That’s a good question, because I have to admit my dreams are often about wine. I write about wine and my husband writes about restaurants and so we are pretty ‘wine and foodie’. But once the family comes into play, that takes over.
Watch our exclusive video with Jancis below: