Jane Parkinson

INTERVIEW WITH A WINE EXPERT

AN INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED WINE EXPERT

This is your chance to get to know Chief Wine Officer host and wine celebrity Jane Parkinson. We recently interviewed Jane, who has played a key role in hosting our events for many years now and always adds a touch of glamour and prestige to every evening. Jane is a wine author, journalist, award-winning presenter and one of the UK’s best-known faces on wine thanks to her role as wine expert on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen.

Jane was crowned the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year in 2014 and she received the Chairman’s Award at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards. Lucky for us we get to learn about Jane’s favourite wines, her top fact to share with friends, and even her wine-related guilty pleasure.

Tell us a little about your background – how did you first become interested in wine?

I love reading answers to this question as the wine trade can be so random, no two stories are ever the same. Mine was thanks to a professor at university who derided me for having no idea what I wanted my final year dissertation subject to be, the research of which had to be done during my third year abroad in France. By TOTAL luck, I got sent to study at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon for a year, so the canny professor advised me to do my thesis on Dijon mustard or Burgundy wine. Guess which I chose??

What’s the best thing about your job?

I’m going to sound corny as hell here but it really is the people (*groan). That’s what first got me hooked, meeting all these everyman superheroes who are so intimately connected with their patch of land on this earth they make it their life’s work to produce something joyful and pleasurable for other people. How great is that? I also love how everyone knows EVERYONE else around the world by two people removed at the most. The wine community is global yet also local which makes it such a fascinating and loveable industry.

I go weak at the knees for exquisite Champagne, especially Blanc de Blancs, and Salon is probably my most coveted house. And hyped though they are, I just adore Super Tuscans like Tignanello or Sassicaia.

What wine do you think people should appreciate but don’t?

There are a few actually. I think good quality Cru Beaujolais can be a great drink, but maybe people remember Beaujolais Nouveau and think it’s the same thing. Italian white wines tend to be underrated – top quality Soave Classico is just one example.

What is your favourite expensive wine, and your favourite affordable wine?

I go weak at the knees for exquisite Champagne, especially Blanc de Blancs, and Salon is probably my most coveted house. And hyped though they are, I just adore Super Tuscans like Tignanello or Sassicaia. Anything underrated is usually affordable in wine terms, so in my house that means the reds of the Loire Valley which are fragrant, juicy and low in tannin. Usually made with the Cabernet France, Gamay or Pinot Noir, they’re divine.

What wine fact can you share with our readers so they can impress their friends?

The ‘room temperature’ advice for serving red wine comes from days of old, before central heating. This means our houses are now much warmer in general which means there’s too much warm red wine about in general! The moral of the story is don’t be afraid to put your red wine in the fridge.

If you were hosting a dinner party, who would you invite (from anytime, anywhere)?

My grandpa, JK Rowling, Dom Pérignon, Barack Obama, Clementine Churchill, Dylan Thomas, Denise Lewis.

What is your wine guilty pleasure?

Um, ice!? If you want a wine cold but the bottle isn’t cold enough, there is no shame in sticking a big fat ice cube in the bottom of the glass to get the desired end result.

The ‘room temperature’ advice for serving red wine comes from days of old, before central heating. This means our houses are now much warmer in general which means there’s too much warm red wine about!

MEET JANE AT OUR NEXT EVENT

Now that you know a little more about Jane, you’ll be happy to find out that she’s hosting some of our first new and exclusive CWO : DIGITAL events! You can get in on her vast wine knowledge, as well as industry-leading business discussions, by signing up to our new B2B virtual tasting experience here.