Cliff Slanger

He is a celibate, clean-living Christian whose idea of controversy is an impromptu rendition of Living Doll at Wimbledon. But it seems Sir Cliff Richard may not be quite as squeaky clean as he appears.

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Published: Sat 10 Jun 2006, 12:44 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:43 PM

The singer is said to have given the notoriously foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay a taste of his own medicine by telling him to 'go f*** yourself'.

The extraordinary outburst happened after Ramsay tricked Sir Cliff into rubbishing a bottle of his own wine during an appearance on the new series of Channel 4's cooking show, The F-Word.

Sir Cliff, 65, a well-known wine buff with his own estate in southern Portugal, had been invited on to the show to take part in a blind taste test.

Ramsay gave him a couple of red wines to sample and asked him to pass judgment. Sir Cliff thought the first one was 'amazing', and Ramsay told him: 'Of course it was, it was a £400 bottle.' But the second went down rather less well.

Ramsay, speaking at the launch party for his show, said: 'I told him it was a sort of £12.99 bottle and Cliff 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'.'

For Ramsay, who likes nothing more than humiliating those who claim to know about food and wine, it was music to his ears. He said: 'I told him, 'Cliff, that was your wine' and, well, f*** me, he went off. Bananas. He lent over and [beckoned me towards him] with his finger and said, 'Young man, go f*** yourself'.'

The 39-year- old chef added: 'Sirs can't swear like that. It was extraordinary. That was his wine from Portugal. We are now using it for vinaigrette at Claridge's [where Ramsay had one of his restaurants]. I got 75 bottles for free and it really is going down tremendously well with the tuna.'

Although Sir Cliff has always insisted his taste in wine is 'commercial rather than elitist', being caught out in such a way will be embarrassing for someone who claims to be passionate about wine. But it is also likely to cause a hangover for his 16-acre estate in southern Portugal where he grows his own vintage, Vida Nova.

Although the singer insists he regards it as simply a 'ridiculously expensive hobby', hopes that it might become commercially viable were raised in 2002 when the first batch sold out within 24 hours of going on sale at Tesco, making it the fastestselling wine in the supermarket's history.

However the Algarve is not known for its viticulture and subsequent vintages have conformed to type.

Ramsay, who has just signed a £5 million deal to keep him at Channel 4 for another four years, could barely conceal his delight at Sir Cliff's mistake. '[He talks] about this vineyard in Portugal that he is obsessed about — crushing grapes, the harvest at the end of September, producing this amazing vintage,' he said. 'Well, he couldn't even identify his own wine.'

On Thursday night Sir Cliff's spokesman, Bill Latham, disputed Ramsay's account. 'It was all done in the best possible humour,' he said. 'Cliff didn't lose his rag. There was no animosity and I don't think that [the f-word] is in Cliff's vocabulary. It was just a gag and Cliff was very happy and loved the programme.'



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