Thursday, 24 July 2008

Champagne Charlie

The original Champagne Charlie was a popular music hall song made famous by George Leybourne in the 19th century:

Champagne Charlie was my name,
Champagne drinking gain'd my fame
So as of old when on the spree
Moet and Chandon's the wine for me.


It later evolved into a play and a film featuring Tommy Trinder and Stanley Holloway. Leybourne made his career by making celebrity endorsements for Champagne and Moet and Chandon commissioned him to write and perform songs extolling the virtues of Champagne, especially as a reflection of taste, affluence, and the good life. He also agreed to drink nothing but Champagne in public.

Leybourne performed Champagne Charlie in top hat and tails, dressed as a "swell" in immaculate evening dress, with gloves, cane, and scarf, waving a bottle of vintage Moet and Chandon and ended up assuming the persona of his famous song. This didn't go down unnoticed by Moet's rivals though and Alfred Vance also introduced a number named Cliquot, starting a fierce competition between the two.

In 1989 Hugh Grant made a movie entitled Champagne Charlie where he played the 19th century French champagne magnate Charles Heidsieck. Unfortunately this was rather a flop despite the story line involving spies, gun running and Southern belles. Maybe the time is ripe for a movie on the original Champagne Charlie and the Champagne Wars that ensued!

Check out our Champagnes starting at £16.49 a bottle at the Wine Shop.

Images courtesy of www.flickr.com

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