The Wizard of Wine Oz Clarke Extravaganza 2015!

The return of Oz Clarke to Newcastle with a dinner and masterclass at The Assembly Rooms

Has a year really passed since Oz Clarke graced our Geordie shores with his enigmatic presence? It sure is! Wow and what a year it has been for us at Guest Wines! A whirlwind in many aspects from which we are still very much spinning!

More than six months of hard work and preparation with blood, sweat and the occasional tear have all gone into (but not into the wines thankfully!), not only making Oz’s second coming possible but also making it a total success with our wonderful customers!

So here we now stood at the doors to The Assembly Rooms in Newcastle with a feeling of excitement that those six months had finally come to fruition!

Things got into full-swing with our “discovery” dinner event that focused on Oz’s latest book: A History of Wine in 100 Bottles. Although we did not have 100 different wines for the dinner – things might have gotten a tad messy, we did have plenty of bottles to go round!

Guests at our Friday dinner were greeted with one of England’s finest sparkling wines, non-other than the mighty Nyetimber and its crisp, fresh and rich-bodied Classic Cuvee 2010. Crunchy red apples, lemon meringue  pie and appealing mousse. Magic in a glass!Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2010

We had the privilege of being invited to Nyetimber this summer – you can read all about our adventure here

Oz was on hand for a special meet-and-greet for our lucky competition winners Julie and Gary Fletcher who had won two places at our dinner, Sunday lunch at Bon Bar and of course, a copy of Oz’s latest book, which he signed for them upon arrival.Oz Clarke Competition Winners Nov 2015

Speaking of magic, whilst guests mingled with their glasses topped up as and when, local legend Chris Cross kept everyone entertained with a trick or two – even a wizard like Oz could not fathom how Chris managed to bewilder and amaze with his proper magic like man!

Oz Clarke Dinner 4 Nov 2015The dinner got under-way with a refreshingly aromatic glass of Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2015 served alongside goats cheese with a cherry tomato vinaigrette.

Oz narrated from his book, A History of Wine in 100 Bottles, telling the story of how this wine came about.

Oz Clarke Nov 2015

This is New Zealand’s pioneer when it comes to all things sauvignon, and it is no shrinking violet with crisp acidity, a full-on fruit blast and herbaceous notes. With food it became softer and surprisingly more floral.

In contrast, served next was Yering Station Chardonnay 2014 from the Yarra Valley close to the outskirts of Melbourne in Australia. Here, our sensual experience was taken on a ride of silky textures with pleasing spicy apple, vanilla and butter that coated the insides of our mouths but with enough zip about it to cleanse our palate and leave us wanting for more.

This worked well with the Salmon Mousse as well as the Layered Vegetable Terrine.

Oz told the story of how Australia led the way with varietal naming of wines as opposed to the Old World model of naming wines by place, and how they also pioneered well-crafted but very approachable wines through the use of technological advances and the glory of the winemaker.

Oz Clarke Dinner 1 Nov 2015

Oz now took the time to introduce two other important guests at our dinner. These being non-other than Matt and Nina from Beyond the Wall Vin-Garden – a vineyard in Northumberland! Yes, you read that correctly! Who’d have thought!?! Guest Wines (and Oz) are looking forward to sampling their 2015!

Beyoned the Wall Vin Garden 2015

We then moved onto reds and enjoyed our Rioja red wine risotto, fashioned in the style of Giorgio Lacatelli, whilst sipping on a glass of spicy Marques de Riscal Reserva 2011 and listening to Oz talk about this iconic producer and how they helped lead the way in putting Spain, and in particular Rioja, on the fine wine world map.

You can read more on Marques de Riscal in our blog when we paid a visit to the bodega in 2014.

Oz Clarke Dinner 3 Nov 2015

With the main course of either Lamb Shank with Butter Beans and Chorizo or Mushroom Bolognese, we raced back over to Australia for Penfolds Bin 28 2013. Big on fruit and spice with a hint of chocolate and a touch of muscovado sugar – what a crowd pleaser this was. Smooth but with enough tannic grip to happily hold its place on the table with the food.

Oz continued to read from his book and tell a tale or two about this well-known producer, referring to the Bin 28 as a “baby Grange” – mmmm, more please!

Now almost completely stuffed, we had just about enough room for the excellent Nutty Chocolate Slab served with the Waitrose Reserve Tawny Port – oh yes! Think caramel, candid dried fruits, sultanas and banana wrapped up with a nutty tang! Heard alongside great tales of Portugal with its long history and allegiance to the UK and of course, great port wines!

Oz Clarke Dinner 2 Nov 2015

The night was by now coming to an end, but not until our satisfied guests had had the chance to speak with Oz, who continued to happily sign copies of his books that we had available, and also have the odd picture taken of course!

We finished off the night with Oz downstairs in Bon Bar where BBC Radio 5 were broadcasting live and took the opportunity to have a quick chat with him. The manager treated us to their signature cocktail called The LocomotiveDiageo World Class UK Top 50 Finalist Inspired by George Stephenson; pioneer Newcastle engineer and locomotive builder! Ron Zacapa 23 stirred with Newcastle Brown Ale reduction, Picon Italian aperitif & leather aged walnut bitters. Served on a smoked Macallan whisky barrel shard – a welcome nightcap, before we headed off home and Oz to his hotel in readiness for another busy day ahead of us, which you can read more about in our next epic Oz instalment!


Guest Wines would like to take the opportunity to thank Oz for making this such a wonderful weekend of food and wine indulgence.

As well as our gorgeous sponsors:

Bon Bar

Majestic Wines Newcastle


Treasury Wine Estates (Penfolds)

Waitrose Wines

And our official photographers: Mike O’Brien and Anne-Marie Stewart.

And of course our lovely guests. Thank you for your help in making this a fantastic night!

In the meantime, you can catch-up on last year’s adventures with Oz and his visit to Newcastle here.



Discover the History of Wine with Oz Clarke,

The Assembly Rooms, Newcastle, Friday 27th November 2015


Oz Clarke 2015 -Credit Gary Moyes

Fancy a night out with a difference this Christmas? Dinner with friends, family, work mates? Looking for a different gift idea? This is a great excuse to get your party outfits on and get ready for Christmas!

Indulge in great food and great wine with our Discovery dinner.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up to date news on this event!


Enter Coupon Code SPECIALOFFER when you check out 

Bringing wine to life our guest host is renowned wine guru, TV personality, writer, actor and broadcaster Oz Clarke. Oz’s down to earth approach to the enjoyment of wine brings it to life.

“Geordie Duo” Ruth & Kelvyn Guest of Guest Wines are proud to announce this discovery dinner,

“We love Oz’s no nonsense, down to earth approach to enjoying wine, he brings it to life and makes it entertaining. Exactly what we want to inspire in our customers.”

What better way to celebrate the run up to Christmas than be captivated and entertained by Britain’s most popular wine writer and one of the world’s leading wine experts, with great wine and great food too.

Discover the History of Wine with Oz Clarke on Friday 27th November 2015, in the beautiful Chandelier Suite of the historic Assembly Rooms, one of Newcastle’s oldest and grandest Georgian buildings. Who better to take you on a journey through the history of wine than expert Oz Clarke. From its beginnings in 6000BC in Georgia up to present day controversies which have rocked the whole wine world! Be inspired with tales from Oz’s new book on the History of Wine in 100 Bottles as Oz wines and dines you through history for just £99.

Oz Clarke Dinner Menu 2015

On arrival, you will receive a sparkling English wine that rivals Champagne to get your tastebuds tingling. Followed by a five course dinner with carefully paired wines, our guest speaker Oz, will introduce to you The History of Wine whilst also sharing some of his escapades in wine.

The menu for the evening will be prepared by Assembly Rooms dedicated team and dietary requirements will be catered for. The dishes will be created especially for this evenings dinner, inspired by the countries and regions that each wine hails from. The 5 wines to match will be specifically chosen by Oz himself.

Corporate bookings for tables of 10 are welcome. Please contact us directly to enquire.

Oz’s formidable reputation is based on his extensive wine knowledge and accessible, no-nonsense approach. His tasting skills have won him an international reputation and he is acknowledged as having one of the finest palates of anyone writing about wine today. He brings a refreshingly unorthodox wit and directness to the subject and has won all the major wine writing awards both in the UK and the USA many times over.

Oz’s frequent TV and radio appearances are broadcast internationally. Oz is well known for presenting on the long running series Food & Drink and more recently he has made three successful BBC Two series with co-presenter James May and appeared as a guest in episodes of James May’s Toy Stories, as well as two series with Hugh Dennis. Not just a TV star, Oz is an actor and singer, appearing in the West End in shows such as Evita playing General Peron and he famously appeared in Superman and Superman II, being the first villain apprehended by Superman in 1978.

Oz’s best-selling books include Let me tell you about wine (2014), Wine Atlas, Grapes & Wines (2014 with Margaret Rand), and Bordeaux. His popular annual guides: Pocket Wine Book and 250 Best Wines Wine Buying Guide are published by Pavilion Books.

Oz can regularly be seen at wine and food events around the world and is also currently touring the UK as one of the Three Wine Men.

So book your ticket now to ensure you don’t miss Oz’s exclusive visit to the North East.

Ticket price just £99! Scroll down to book.

Exclusive offer! 20% discount on Oz’s new book The History of Wine in 100 Bottles (normal retail £20), only available when you book to attend this event! Order here and quote coupon code history offerSimply pick the book up on the night, which Oz will be more than happy to sign for you!

Read more about Oz’s visit to Newcastle last year here.


Congratulations to our competition winner Julie Fletcher who has won TWO PLACES at our Discover the History of Wine with Oz Clarke Dinner plus Sunday lunch at Bonbar plus a signed copy of Oz’s new book.

Our Gorgeous Sponsors & Partners!

bon-bar-logo-white- Connoisseur Logo EnotriaNEW logo Majestic Nyetimber louis-latour-logo TWE logo Waitrose logo

Would you like to learn more about what it’s like being a professional wine taster? Learn more about your own wines tastes and what foods work well with which wines? Click here to read more about our special How to Taste Wine with Oz Clarke Masterclass on Saturday 28th November, just £55 including at least 6 wines and food.