Wine is confusing...overwhelming even. So where do you start if you want to learn more about it? Join John Cleese on an entertaining and personal look at the world of winemaking and discover: how to find wines that taste good to you, how to make sure you get the best value and how to keep and serve wine at home.Monty Python alums have made good second careers hosting documentary programs, such as Terry Jones’s Crusades. Now John Cleese turns his attention to the subject of wine in Wine for the Confused, originally broadcast as a special on Food Network.

Listen to our interview with John Cleese.

“Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you what wine you like, because people have different tastes and we shall honor that,” he heralds at the start. The point of the program is clear and simple: to help you find and describe wines you like; to show how to buy wines at a good value; and to provide tips on how to get the most enjoyment from the wines you do buy. With this attitude, his considerable charm, and his gentle wit, Cleese is an ideal host for this material, and right off the bat he strikes just the right tone–instructive, but light-hearted. The result is delightful.

First covered are the six major varieties of wine-producing grapes (first the whites, then the reds, just as at a tasting), the fermentation process, and tasting notes to help you learn what you like and how to describe it (“Quality should be judged by your own taste.”). Next is “Buying Wine.” Now that you know what you like, learn how to find it at a good value for the money. Finally there is “Storing and Serving Wine,” with simple tips for savoring your purchase.

Novice wine lovers will find Wine for the Confused helpful and reassuring as well as inspirational; don’t be surprised if you find yourself turning off the DVD and heading straight to the wine shop with newfound confidence… and that’s just what Cleese would want for you. –Dan Vancini

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