Oz Clarke teamed up with Ted Sandbach to organise a tasting for the Oxford Alumni during September 2016. Despite admitting to "pre-match nerves" Oz spoke for an hour and a half and kept the 80 strong audience not only informed but greatly amused with a string of stories about the wines and his career.
Ted and Oz first met when they played together in a pro celebrity cricket match some years ago and Oz was recalling how he seemed to have lost the technique that resulted in his nickname 'Oz', when actually his real name is Robert. Apparently as a youngster he copied the hook shot which had been perfected by the Australian touring team when faced with a barrage of short pitched bowling which was prevalent at the time. As a result he was called 'Oz' (short for 'Aussie') by his team mates as he defied his coach by persistently playing across the line of the ball instead of playing with a straight bat and a high left elbow as he had been instructed. The name 'Oz' stuck and he has never looked back.
The great thing about Oz is that his talks are never pompous but well informed and interesting. He says it like it is and doesn't hold back. The wines chosen were simple and typical - a wonderful Furleigh Estate sparkling from Dorset followed by a NZ Sauvignon and a classic Chablis. Then a Carmenere from Chile which gave him plenty of scope to talk about the confusion with the Merlot grape and finally a stonking Barossa Shiraz - back to OZ!!
Then we all repaired to The Oxford Wine Cafe in Jericho where we introduced Oz to our new, ever popular Grillo from Sicily - which sparked further tales. The evening went downhill from there!!