My Week: Oz Clarke, wine critic

The wine critic launches a book, catches up on the 2008 vintages and explains why his alarm clock stubbornly refuses to work
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Monday

I begin work on the next wine guide in my publisher's office. There are vintage reports strewn everywhere. I concentrate on the regions I didn't visit in 2008: Jerez, the Rhone. I did get down to Bordeaux to see the grapes being picked there, though. When I have a view I exchange notes with other experts to build an accurate picture of the vintages. I dash to the Tatler restaurant awards – decent fizz on offer. I remember looking at the nominations and thinking: "I haven't been there, or there, or there..." Then I realised why: they are too bloody expensive.



Tuesday

This is Obama's day. I celebrated his election victory in South Manhattan at Lola – which was packed with Democrats and creole cooking. This time he delivers a speech for hard times. I actually started the day trying to pay bills – why does this seem to take for ever? Then I did a wine tasting of some excellent Italians at The Oval. I've decided to lose weight so I also went to the gym. I blame James May; he's been appalling for my health. I used to be athletic but I've been sharing his diet of Spam, haggis, bitter, cider and perry. Almost everything in my life is his fault. It's always the same when he turns up at my house: "Hi Oz, is there any wine open?" "No James..."



Wednesday

My alarm goes off at 7.30am. I get up at 10.30am – I have this kind of Pavlovian response to alarms in January. I completely and disastrously ignore them. I do some correspondence – I'm still replying to letters from last March! Then, I'm back at the gym and on Richard & Judy. They're totally unchanged, even in a new format.



Thursday

The alarm goes off at 7.30. Amazingly, I actually get up to go to the launch of Oz & James Drink to Britain which we hold that morning at the Market Porter in Borough market. It is wonderful: there are draught beers from Scotland and England, and cider from Frank Naish who produces the oldest stuff in the world. He's fantastic. It was his first trip to London since 1943. He didn't even have electricity for his cidery until 2003 and he got it then only "because candles were getting too expensive". James and I had a signing at Leadenhall market and at Foyles. We end up at the Bleeding Heart restaurant with the proprietor, Robert Wilson. A few pints of Adnams turn into dinner and plenty of wine. Then, at the end of the night I realise I've still got some of Frank's cider. So we ignore the snooty French waiters and polish that off too. Big mistake.



Friday

Back in the office I feel a little fragile. I'm tasting wines from Washington and Oregon – and when my publisher was not looking I secretly read a book on trench warfare. Alas, this serious research was wrecked when May turned up. Well, I'm certainly not drinking on Sunday.

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