Today I almost got to interview Jose Mourinho, the special one. When I say 'almost', what I mean is that the media company running the new cork campaign, of which he is the figurehead, gave me a slot of 10 minutes from 15.50 with him. There was, however, a warning that they couldn't guarantee he'd show up at the Portuguese embassy, where the launch was taking place. He didn't come. Cynics would conclude that the possibility of an interview was dangled as a carrot to get leading journalists to attend what otherwise might be seen as a less than compelling invite, even though there was no real potential for a showing by Jose. He is one busy, sought-after dude, one of the most famous people in the UK, and a household name wherever football is played.
Still, I did get an extensive interview with Antonio Amorim, which will be useful for my forthcoming closures book. Did you know that the annual market worldwide for wine bottle closures is some 18 billion, of which cork's share is 14 billion? 10 years ago the market was 14 billion, almost all cork. So cork has lost market share, but not market. The next five years will be very interesting for closures. Stop yawning: this is a serious wine quality issue!
On a football theme, I watched England's friendly game against Uruguay. Watching friendlies is usually a bad idea, as these matches are frequently as interesting as a £4 Australian Chardonnay. Some observations. Joe Cole was brilliant out wide left. He's made this position his. Beckham was ineffectual on the right and Shaun Wright-Phillips' display in the last 20 minutes argues for the unthinkable: he should be playing in place of Beckham. Carrick deserves a place on tonight's showing in the holding midfield role. Wild thought: play him there, with Gerrard and Lampard freed to play a more attacking role. You'd have to drop a striker, though - could it work with just Rooney up front? Could England adopt a more fluid sort of formation where the traditional boundaries of midfield and attack have broken down? Is 4-4-2 dead?
Two Crozes-Hermitage to report on (vineyards pictured). The 2004 from Caves des Tain as supplied to UK supermarket M&S isn't as good as the 2003, which was a cracker. It lacks the Northern Rhone distinctiveness that made the 2003 so good. Pleasant but no more; a shame. Gilles Robin Cuvee Alberic Bouvard Crozes Hermitage 2003 (£12.95 Western Wines) is a lot better with nice meaty, spicy dark fruits. Quite savoury and intense, with firm tannins. Not top rank, but a very nice drink. Crozes-Hermitage is a good place to start if you are exploring the northern Rhone on any sort of restricted budget.