Singer-turned-winemaker Cliff Richard has been duped into slamming his own wine as ‘tainted and insipid’ on a TV programme.
Richard’s nemesis was the outspoken super-chef Gordon Ramsay, on whose show The F-Word Richard was appearing as a guest.
During the recording of the programme, Ramsay gave Richard two wines to taste blind. The first he pronounced ‘amazing’, to which Ramsay said, ‘Of course, it was a £400 bottle.’
Of the second, his own wine Vida Nova from his estate in the Algarve, southern Portugal, he said, ‘That’s rubbish. I wouldn’t pay for that, it’s tainted, it’s insipid. It tastes like vinaigrette. I’d never buy that.’
An exultant Ramsay revealed the singer had just rubbished his own wine.
‘He couldn’t even identify his own wine. We are now using it for vinaigrette at Claridges. It’s going down tremendously well with the tuna,’ he allegedly crowed.
But one veteran observer pointed out, ‘The first wine Ramsay gave him was a £400 claret. Of course a Portuguese table wine, made from five-year-old vines, is going to taste rough after that. It’s a classic wine industry sting.’
Vida Nova is produced from 24ha of Syrah, Aragonez and Alicante Bouschet. at the Adega do Cantor (Cellar of the Singer) estate in Albufeira in the Algarve. Around 50,000 cases are made. There is also a rosé and a white wine.
The wine is made by the highly-respected Australian David Baverstock, chief winemaker at Esporao in the Alentejo in mid-Portugal. Vida Nova has been extraordinarily successful since its launch in 2002, selling out in UK supermarkets within days of appearing.
While the lion’s share of cases are bought by the singer’s massive fan club, the wine has not gone down badly with the critics. Decanter described the first vintage as ‘high in alcohol with sweet berry and spicy characters, soft tannins and a long finish.’
Richard’s spokesman Bill Latham said of the incident, ‘Cliff didn’t recognise the wine because it was the end of the day, he’d had a meal, he’d tasted six wines before that. His palate was in no state to taste at that level. It’s all ridiculously exaggerated.’
As for Ramsay’s claim that Richard pulled him close and whispered, ‘Young man, go f*** yourself,’ he said, ‘The f-word isn’t in Cliff’s vocabulary.’