As we’ve previously established on this website, The Wine Show — whose second season debuts Thursday night on Ovation — is an utter delight that satisfies on a number of television-viewing levels. If you enjoy watching British actors discuss tannins in their charming British accents, boy, does it ever check that box: Matthew Goode and James Purefoy serve as co-hosts in season two, while former co-host Matthew Rhys (technically Welsh, which is just as enjoyable), does a recurring segment on wine gadgets in season two.
Thanks to international segments anchored by resident wine expert Joe Fattorini, it offers the lushly photographed, escapist pleasures of a travel program. Since wine is always better when paired with something deliciously, it’s got a food show component as well. And if you watch the many images of sunlight streaming through a wine glass in slow-mo, The Wine Show is basically a form of ASMR. In each episode, you learn something, your taste buds get activated, you feel more relaxed, and you get to stare at Matthew Goode’s eyes and decide whether they are best described as crystalline pools of endless depth or low-key threats to Bradley Cooper’s claim on blue iris supremacy. It’s got it all!
In honor of the Ovation debut of the second season of The Wine Show (which, for the record, is also streaming on Hulu), Vulture TV critic Jen Chaney runs down the top seven reasons to watch.*
*Jen Chaney may or may not have been slightly tipsy on a crisp Pinot Grigio while composing this list.
1. Matthew Goode’s vocabulary
Matthew Goode says the most freaking charming things. Things such as: “My bouche is about to be amused,” and “Tempranillo is a good friend to anybody, I think,” and “That’s absolutely banging,” (yes, he was still talking about tempranillo), and “This makes me want to get my jiggle on,” in reference to a wine that unleashes his naughty side. Actually, he may have said “giggle” instead of “jiggle,” but either way, it’s amazing.
2. Matthew Goode’s wine-tasting expressions
I have not done a comprehensive survey, so I don’t have any data available to support this. But I strongly believe that Matthew Goode has the best wine-tasting face in the business, and I don’t even think it’s close.
3. Matthew Rhys’s puns
James Purefoy brings an easygoing ruggedness to season two that increases in value with each episode. But there’s no denying that Matthew Rhys is missed in that more front-and-center role. Thankfully, those gadget bits give us a taste of Rhys-y — they really should have called those segments “Rhys-y’s Pieces” now that I’m thinking about it — and enable him to make witty comments about everything from wine-preserving tools (he calls one that looks like a trumpet a “wumpet”) to bottle totes (bless him for referring to one as “Bagnum, P.I.”).
4. You’ll actually learn about wine
It’s true that the more in-depth segments on The Wine Show can feel a bit like a video your social studies teacher is making you watch. Still, they are beautifully produced, and the best of them are indeed eye-opening. I had no idea why ice wine was called ice wine before watching season two of The Wine Show, nor had I thought of Bosnia as a place where fine wine is produced. This series schooled me on both points.
5. The valiant mix of high and lowbrow
It is difficult to use phrases like “notes of cedar and tobacco” in a sentence without sounding pretentious. That’s just a fact. But The Wine Show tries to undercut its hoity-toityness by emphasizing that wine is for everyone. In the first episode of season two, Fattorini makes that point abundantly clear when he attempts to turn comedian Gina Yashere — whose wine palette is initially best described as “whatever tastes like Sprite” — into a lover of vino. He succeeds by taking her feedback seriously and never condescending to her, which is extra-refreshing because their tasting experiences unfold in the same section of Santa Barbara where Sideways, the ultimate wine-snob movie, was filmed.
6. Oh my God, the food looks so good
In each episode, Goode and Purefoy have to find wines to pair with a different lunch course that I am assuming lasted for an entire day and put everyone in a food coma for a full week. Who eats a six-course lunch with so much wine without passing out? Oh, people in France do? The Wine Show headquarters is located in France, so actually, that makes sense.
7. Did I mention Matthew Rhys is in this?
He is, and it’s just so nice to see him. If only to reaffirm that he’s not still stuck in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.