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The Hour - Scottish Television

by Tom Cannavan

Broadcast weekly across the Scottish Television network, The Hour is a lively magazine programme. I am the resident wine expert on the show, in the studio or on location every week to taste a selection of wines with the show's hosts and special guests. Scottish visitors can simply tune into the show, but everyone can catch up online, as each wine segment is added to STV's catch-up service. I will add each show here once the video is available. I hope you can join me live on Scottish Television or via the web.   

watch again online - part 2


Austria goes Groovy

Since being rocked by scandal in the 1980s sales of Austrian wine plummeted. But since the new millennium there has been an explosion of interest in Austrian wines, led by the Grüner Veltliner grape and its popularity on restaurant wine lists thanks to its great food-matching qualities. Here I introduce a couple of Grüners and a speciality Austrian red made from the Zweigelt grape.


Wines of Portugal

Many people have a preconception of Portuguese wines based on a 70s image of sweet, lightly sparkling wines sold at rock-bottom prices. But in fact with its wealth of indigenous grapes Portugal's wine industry is one of the most interesting and vibrant in Europe, with every style of wine being made from the cool and damp north to the sunshine-filled south. We look at wines from three regions.


Valentine's wines

Turtle doves were cooing when I presented three 'romantic' wines for Valentine's day in this episode. These wines are pitched for a dinner a deux, or as gifts for a loved one. Included are a truly delicious Pinot Noir rosé Cava, a beautifully presented Champagne made for Maxim's in Paris, and a bottle chosen mostly for its gift potential (with a personalised label for co-host Michelle McManus).


Supermarket own-label

A budget-conscious theme to the wines on the show this week as we put three supermarket own-label wines to the test. One of them, a very unusual dry, white Pedro Ximinez from Chile goes down a storm, and the show's hosts are pleasantly surprised by the decent quality on show in a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and an Australian Merlot, all three of them in at around a fiver.


Fire up the grill

Broadcast in late summer, this show features a selection of three wine ideal for barbecues (and grills). We kick off with an inexpensive South African white that's perfect for sipping or matching to barbecued or grilled fish before moving on to two hearty, meat-friendly reds: another inexpensive wine, this time a Shiraz from Australia and a crowd-pleasing final choice, a rich and fruity Californian Zinfandel.

sauvignon blanc

Sauvignon sings

This show focused on Sauvignon Blanc, one of the nation's favourite white wine grape varieties. Andando, a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, St Hallet Poacher's Blend and the Blind River Sauvignon from New Zealand all feature. And the TV crew turn the tables on me by presenting me with the cheapest wine on sale in Scotland to taste live on air: all £1.11's worth of Bulgarian wine from Tesco.

rose wine

First of the summer rosés

Broadcast in June, a tasting of three pink wines, but two of them at least offering something distinctly different. Stephen Jardine and guest host Michelle Watt join me to taste a fruity Merlot Rosé from Chile, the Pink Port from the house of Croft - great on its own or made into a long drink so we try both - and 'Fresita' a sparkling wine from Chile infused with the pulp of fresh Patagonian strawberries.


Wine Australia 2010

Drinking habits were revolutionised in the 1970s when Australian wines started to appear on our shelves. The hot and sunny conditions of the country’s wine regions delivered flavours that had rarely been seen in the classical wines produced in countries like Italy and France. This tasting shows two classic Australian grapes and styles - a Chardonnay and red blend - plus a less common Verdelho.

less famliar grapes

A (bushy) tail of three wines

Squirrel-gate! I present three wines looking to expand the horizons with unusual and less familar grapes, but am ambushed by my co-presenter Michelle McManus and a giant squirrel (don't ask) bearing a dish of squirrel meat, and am asked to taste and recommend a wine match! Wines are a lovely Verdicchio from Italy, a Carmenère from Chile and a Brachetto d'Aqui from Italy.

aggie mckenzie

USA with Aggie McKenzie

Aggie McKenzie of 'How Clean is your House?' (and a secret wine buff) joins me in the studio to taste a trio of wines from California. The USA makes wine in almost every state, but California is a strong leader of the pack. We taste three contrasting examples that cover various price points, from a bargain Viognier at under a fiver, to the fabulous 'Fumé' Sauvignon Blanc from Rober Mondavi at £15.00.


French wines with Craig Hill

Fun and games as Scottish comedian Craig Hill joins me and regular presenters Michelle McManus and Stephen Jardine in the studio. We taste through a selection of three wines representing some of the classic regions of France with a very good value white Burgundy, a just off-dry Pinot Gris from Alsace and a spicy Bordeaux red made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.


Three from Oddbins

I'm out of the studios and on location once again this week, with my trawl through Oddbins in search of three wines: one to drink now, one to hold for a while and one destined for the cellar. I choose a juicy Puglian Negroamaro from Italy, a sexy Pinot Noir from the cool Leyda Valley in Chile and, from Ribera del Duero in Spain, a wine from top producer Alejandro Fernandez.


Three from Tesco

In this episode from the show I am out and about on another challenge, to find three excellent value wines at different price points. After perusing the shelves in a large Tesco supermarket, I settle on an inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, a fine Côtes du Rhône from a good vintage and a deep, seductive and mature Shiraz from Australian maestro Tim Adams.

world cup of wine final

World Cup of Wine - the final!

In the three weeks running up to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, I conducted my own Wine World Cup on Scottish television show, The Hour. This week it's the final - a straight shoot-out between the four qualifying teams: Germany (fielding a Riesling), England (led by Bacchus), Argentina (with star player, Malbec) and South Africa (with top striker, Shiraz). Watch the clip to see who wins!

world cup of wine round 2

World Cup of Wine round II

Last week The Hour launched its own 'World Cup of Wine', tasting wines produced by each of the eight top seeded countries in the FIFA World Cup. In round two, another four nations play off their wines against each other to see who goes through to next week's final with a chance of becoming the champion wine for 2010. This week: Germany vs Italy and Brazil vs South Africa.

world cup of wine 1

World Cup of Wine round I

With the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa just three weeks away, The Hour launched its own 'World Cup of Wine'. I selected one wine from each of the eight top-seeded countries competing in the World Cup, and will be matching these up in a series of play-offs to find the World Cup of Wine winning country 2010. In week One, England vs Spain and Argentina vs The Netherlands.


Majestic wines

In this location broadcast I pay a visit to wine warehouse Majestic. I'm in search of the best bottles: one to drink immediately, one to save for special occasions, and one to add to the cellar for a longer period. An inexpensive Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, French Old Vine Carignan from the Languedoc and a South Africa Syrah from Boekenhoutskloof fit the bill perfectly,


Supermarket Savvy

Earlier this year I shot a number of location films from supermarkets and high street wine chains. This one takes viewers through a selection of three wines from Sainsbury's, where I choose a crunchy Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa, a Vouvray from France and a Marsanne from Australia: one to drink now, one to keep for a year or two and one for the cellar.

south africa

South African Spirit

For a national wine industry that struggled for many years under the yoke of apartheid, South African winemaking today is in a robust and confident state, with many young winemakers who have travelled the world, and the industry spreading into new regions and wine styles. Here we taste three wines, including a fizz, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinotage, all at moderate prices.


Viva Argentina

For this episode of The Hour regular hosts Stpehen Jardine and Michelle McManus join me to sample a trio of Argentinean wines, of course featuring Torrontes and Malbec, as well as a much more unusual Tannat 2008 from Colomé in Salta. The vineyards are at very high altitude, and the reasons why that can make these wines a little bit special is explained on the show..

italian wine

Italy south to north

Italy is the biggest wine producing country on the planet, producing more wine than France, largely due to a tradition of making wine that runs for the entire length of the country. Starting in the south we taste an inexpensive Nero d'Avola from Sicily, move through to a classic Chianti from Tuscany and end up in the northwest with a Barbera from Piedmont to show Italy's diversity.

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go to latest shows in part 1

go to older shows in part 3