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West London Wine School: Champagne Charlie & Cheese Evening

We are delighted to annouce an evening with the team from Charles Heidsieck, one of the most decorated Champagnes through history. We we taste through five utterly superb Champagnes including three vintages; 2006, 2005 and 1995. The 1995 Blanc de Millenaires retails at around £120 per bottle, so this is a wonderful night of elegance! And to top it off the Champagnes will be matched with ten hand-picked cheeses from the superb Hamish & Johnston.

Champagne Charlie

By the time Charles Heidsieck was born in 1822, his uncle was already running his own Champagne house, Piper-Heidsieck, having moved to Champagne from Germany in the late 18th century and married into the Piper family. Charles grew up in the vineyards and gained experience at his uncle’s business, but his ambitious winemaking philosophy led him to found his own Champagne house in Reims in 1851.The following year, he made the daring move of abandoning the Champagne-loving countries of Europe and testing the waters in the USA, where he was one of the first to introduce Champagne successfully. His vivacious personality earned him a great popularity and he famously became known as ‘Champagne Charlie’. After an eventful few years – during which time he was imprisoned in Louisiana on suspicion of being a spy during the Civil War, and was eventually freed by President Lincoln himself – he returned to settle in Champagne.

What separated Charles from many of his peers was that he always viewed himself as a blender rather than a grower: instead of buying many hectares of vines, he only invested in a few of his own, and began sourcing the rest of his grapes from a trusted selection of grower families, who had spent generations perfecting the care of their vines. The company now has 60 separate sites to choose from, encompassing a variety of different crus, and some of these plots are cultivated by the fourth or fifth generation of the same family. Instead of vineyards, Charles invested in 47 underground chalk cellars dating back to the 11th century, and these are still where the wines are blended and aged. The current cellarmaster is Thierry Roset, who has worked at the property since the 1980s, and continues the impressive legacy previously set by the award-winning Daniel Thibault.

The non-vintage Champagne is made with painstaking attention to detail. 60% of the blend is wine vinified that year (using an equal split of the three main Champagne grapes; chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier) and the remaining 40% is a blend of reserve wines – a mixture of chardonnay and pinot noir ranging from between five and 20 years old. There are over 400 to choose from – more than most other Champagne houses – and once the team has decided on the blend, the wine is aged for a minimum of 3 years.

Champagnes on Tasting:

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NVCharles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NVCharles Heidsieck Rosé Millésime 2006Charles Heidsieck Brut Millésime 2005Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995

You will taste an ample amount of these five Champagnes all expertly matched with ten superb cheeses from the highly-acclaimed Hamish & Johnston of Northcote Road. 

Event details

Date Wednesday 4 October 2017
Time 7pm to 9pm
Event type Tutored tasting
Cost £40
Booking required? Yes
Venue details The Wine Cellars, Big Yellow Storage, 71 Townmead Rd, Fulham, SW6 2ST, Fulham, London, United Kingdom