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Chris Pearman, sharing his memories from the course in 1959

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

I was working for Fortnum & Mason at the time in 1959, under the tutelage of George Polley wine, buyer and Malcolm Mortimer, deputy wine buyer. I was sponsored by the 12 Grande Marques Champagne Houses at the time, Bollinger were in the chair that year.

Our course lasted two weeks and was very intensive. To keep one’s head clear. I used to go out for a run each morning if I could. I remember one occasion where I think we have been staying at or near the Royal champagne hotel going for a run in the early morning sunshine. The sun was on my left, casting a shadow on the bank on the right.

There was a distinct movement,a rustling from time to time. I stopped to investigate.

I was disturbing young Adders basking in early sunshine. No I had not had too much to drink at that early hour!

Highlights were meeting The Princess de Pommery at Parc Pommery and of course Christian de Billy of Pol Roger ,the life and soul of any gathering.

On another occasion a member of the Heidseck family (Charles) who was a well known concert pianist entertained us with an impromptu recital after a mornings tasting.

We also met another member of the family in his 90,s who attributed his health to drinking at least a bottle of Charles Heidseck every day.

With regard to the tastings my great love was being shown the wines from the different villages in the Cotes de Blanc. We still seek them out on visits to Epernay.

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