I have been waiting for this day since April 19. Today I finally get to announce my podcast interview with Philippe Andre, aka niquesomm on Instagram, and the Master of Ceremony for IPNC this year. If you have not heard of Philippe, don’t sweat it. The first time his name was brought to my attention was at IPNC last year when they announced the MC for 2022.
A little background about Philippe Andre: he grew up helping his family’s restaurant, Oceanique, in Chicago. His dad has a crazy cellar, which started Philippe’s wine passion. In 2013, he attended Oregon’s Pinot Camp and, later that year, Harvest at Maysara. He is also the U.S. Ambassador for Charles Heidsieck Champagne. Heidsieck started back in the 1850s and shipped 25,000 cases of wine to the U.S. In 2021, Philippe was on the cover of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 Issue.
When I got confirmation of the interview on April 19th, I was crazy excited but also scared out of my gourd. I had no idea what to ask this larger-than-life, super outgoing wine superstar. Granted, I had time between April and July to prepare, but until he walked into the tasting room at Harper Voit on July 28th, I did my best to tell myself, “It’s ok if he doesn’t show.” Hope is a crazy emotion.
Also, before I forget, a HUGE shoutout to Jessica and Drew at Harper Voit for letting me use the Harper Voit tasting room for the interview, I still get all nervous talking with Drew.
During my research timeframe, I read many blog posts, listened to several podcasts, and read the book Champagne Charlie. It was fascinating to read about a Champagne House in the 1850s and how Charles-Camille Heidsieck got arrested during the Civil War. To think events over 170 years ago impacted my podcast is mind-boggling. My research didn’t stop there, though. I came across how cigars pair with Champagne. I might have tried the pairing even though I have never smoked anything.
The most prized gem I discovered between April and July was the person behind the larger-than-life persona. Philippe is one of the most sincere and humble human beings I have encountered. To hear how Jason Lett looked at his hands and accepted him into Oregon Wine Country with tacos and a beer warmed my heart through and through. I can’t spoil the whole interview, but I will say there are many heartfelt moments.
99.8% of you don’t watch or listen to the entire interviews, but you should hear what he says about Lytle Barnett’s Oregon Sparkling after the reveal. I also poured him a Champagne he gave his girlfriend, now wife, and poured at their wedding.
I should stop blabbering away and give you links to watch on YouTube or download on Apple Podcast or Spotify, but before I do that, I have a favor even if you don’t watch or listen. Click on the YouTube link and like the video. Then, if you feel so inclined, subscribe to the channel. It would mean the world to me!
Philippe Andre Transcription
A.J.: Cheers to another episode of the wine note podcast on your guide, PJ wine Jule on this journey of story, showcasing the people behind the wonderful world of wine, where we dive into conversations ranging from PIR, viticulture to favor music, superpowers, and more. Please enjoy this episode of the winos.
A.J.: Felix. Um, thank you so much for coming out today for being on the podcast. You have a busy weekend ahead of you. I can’t, I can’t thank you enough for, you know,
Philippe Andre: making the time. Oh my pleasure. Thanks again for reaching out. Um, super excited to be back in
A.J.: town. Yeah. Um, you know, when it was announced last year that you’re, you know, being, uh, worth of the MC for, uh, I P and C, I started diving into your story and it’s been amazing, like your, your journey.
A.J.: That I’ve learned about over the last year. And it’s just like, I’m still like in awe that, that you’re here. So, uh, Yeah.
Philippe Andre: Well, I, I, uh, I appreciate that. I mean, I, um, uh, I, I think I’ve been pretty, uh, uh, spoiled over the last, uh, last year or so, but, uh, I think what, you know, I reflect on is the last, you know, 15, almost 20 years that I put into my professional career to get to meet, get me where I am here now.
Philippe Andre: And, uh, so it, trust me when I tell you that it, um, it, it, it, it, it definitely tastes sweet, but, um, I think the, the affirmation of all the hard work that I put in has, uh, has. Truly the, the best gift of, uh, of, of my last year and going forward. Yeah. Most
A.J.: definitely. Shall I pour some, some wines?
Philippe Andre: Yeah, absolutely.
Philippe Andre: Let’s do it. Okay. First wine off the plane, by the way. So, uh, oh, straight from the PDX carpet to, uh, to the Mac or what I like to call a mix Cville. Yeah.
A.J.: well, hopefully it stands up, uh, you know, and, uh, you enjoy it, you know, but feel free. You know, say whatever you want to about it, you know, you don’t have to guess it.
A.J.: You don’t have to do, you know, anything is just to sit and enjoy. And normally, you know, wine is whoa, this, um, is the forefront mm-hmm , but in my conversation, so I like wine to be kind of on the back burner a
Philippe Andre: little bit. Oh,
Philippe Andre: Thank you. A lot of apples, fresh, I mean, yellow apple kind of powdery, apple vibe, some yogurt for sure. A little caramel, but it’s very fresh and it feels young crisp. Um, yeah. That’s it’s nice for, uh, little breakfast. yes.
Philippe Andre: Okay. Now we’re getting bruised apple, uh, red apple. uh, apple pie for sure. Um, cinnamon rounder. I’m gonna say that both of these are bubbles. um, The second. One’s definitely more my speed. okay. That’s fair.
A.J.: Yeah, that’s fair. Um, I had to bring bubbles. I mean, if I brought anything other than bubbles, that would be, um, Hey
Philippe Andre: man, that would be wrong.
Philippe Andre: People ask me all the time. How do you drink bubbles all the time? I it’s really simple. You start in the morning.
A.J.: exactly. Um, one of the stories that really grabbed me immediately was. It was 2013. You were doing harvest at, uh Messara mm-hmm and, uh, Jason let came up to you and he said, um, those are honest hands.
A.J.: Yeah. Now we can go have a taco and a beer. Uh, yeah. I can only imagine kind of what that felt like for you as you, you know, as you had, you know, one of the wine pioneers here in Oregon kind.
Philippe Andre: Yeah. Um, that was a really special moment. I mean, I don’t know how many times Jason has grabbed people’s hands and checked them to make sure that they did some actually work during harvest
Philippe Andre: Um, you know, I think he was just making sure that, um, you know, I I’m, I’m having the full experience and, uh, Jason and I, I think everyone kind of has a unique relationship with Jason. I mean, the family’s history and the wines are compelling alone, but Jason has been a very great, um, Supporter and very accessible person to me.
Philippe Andre: And as I’m sure many other folks out there around the wine world, but, um, uh, when I came out to Oregon in 2013 for Pino camp, um, I, I actually didn’t realize that I had like a sponsor to get me out. Um, so Pino camp is basically like a three day crash course for wine professionals and Soli. That come in from all over the us and the world to experience kind of like, um, a crash course in the Willamette valley.
Philippe Andre: And, um, I didn’t realize that each person gets heavily vetted and invited by being nominated by a winery. Um, I didn’t realize until well, after. Pino camp that Jason actually nominated me. And I, I had no idea I’d never met him before. Um, so I was shocked by that, but, um, immediately sent him a thank you.
Philippe Andre: Cause I was like, oh my God. Okay, well now I gotta buy some of your wine. But, um, thankfully we we’ve already been buying his wines for quite some time. Um, but that’s the type of person that Jason is and you know, he is, I. In many ways, he’s just like the cool kind of, um, composed, but also very accessible.
Philippe Andre: And, and you could tell that his time becomes very, um, generous. And at the time in my professional career, in my life, I was very curious about. You know what to do, what I wanted professionally out of wine or out of a career. And it was folks like Jason and many others here in the valley that inspired me to keep searching for something more and more importantly, the thing that really compelled me.
Philippe Andre: And so that year was a very, um, wild and chaotic harvest with the weather and also just, um, my life. But, um, it left an imprint on. That, uh, I care with me forever and I mean, the Willam valley in Oregon will always have an incredible, incredible special place in my heart because of that experience. Yeah.
Philippe Andre: Most definitely. Yeah. And,
A.J.: uh, it’s, I. Organized just a special place. Just
Philippe Andre: yes. In general, in general. Y’all are weird. I love it.
A.J.: uh, so have you, are you gonna start champagne
Philippe Andre: camp? Um, I would love to it’s a little more expansive to do something like that. Right, right, right, right. But I’ve always dreamed of creating.
Philippe Andre: A a, a way to, to make champagne more accessible, especially for folks like myself, with backgrounds of maybe less travel or less accessibility to, um, you know, library or, or luxury wines. So, you know, Pinot camp was definitely an inspiration to me. I hope in one day that I can be in a place where I can make a decision to get a group of, you know, like-minded wineries or even, you know, very different wineries.
Philippe Andre: Together to rally around the region. I think that’s something that champagne does really well. I think, um, in terms of bringing quality and being respectful of their neighbors, I think it’s just the sheer logistics of trying to get folks over there can be challenging. And then you say, okay, well, who’s paying for all this stuff.
Philippe Andre: And, and it’s hard to ask mom and pops to, you know, to. Dollar for dollar with some of the more established commercial properties. So one day, um, I would love to do that. I mean, even on a smaller scale, I’ve, I’ve talked with quite a few folks about, you know, need to get you to champagne, so you can understand it a little bit more, but also to like have that feather in your cap, you know, there’s so many Psalms out there that I think absolutely adore champagne and have never been.
Philippe Andre: And I mean, I’m sitting here right now and I think. I’d probably drink more burgundy and have drank more burgundy than, than a lot of people in their lifetimes. I’ve never been to burgundy and people will ask me and say, how, how is that possible? Well, no one ever offered to fly me out. and you know, I I’m basically buying burgundy on a budget, um, rubbing two nickels together, or, um, and so, you know, I’ve never sold burgundy.
Philippe Andre: So, um, it’s never really been a focus of mine, right. To travel out there, but I am looking for a sponsor that would be out and I will trade, uh, for bubbles. But, um, I know one day, one day I’ll be able to make it out there, but I just, I know how empowering it is for, um, professionals, um, to, to be able to walk in the vineyard and to be able to say, oh yeah, I tasted this with so, and so, I mean, I can’t tell you in times I told people about, I drink.
Philippe Andre: Uh, you know, Shaha and Ridgecrest in Ridgecrest with Harry. And I was like, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And now obviously time has shown it that, you know, that’s, that is, that was a once in a lifetime opportunity. So I think those are experiences that, you know, um, I hope. That I can open and offer to folks young folks coming up or just passionate individuals in the future, because I know how important it was to me to have those experiences here.
Philippe Andre: Yeah,
A.J.: no, it is. It’s something else to, you know, to walk that, uh, especially Ridgecrest to walk those, you know, 30 plus year old vines, I think a 30 years, years old now. Yeah. And it’s just amazing. And just the, the history behind. Everything up there, you know, and, uh, you know, when, you know, taking over the, the realm and, or the, the Helms and just like, it is so exciting when you get those connections.
A.J.: Mm-hmm, , it means so much more when you actually consume the wine.
Philippe Andre: Yeah. Yep. I’ve got a lot of stories of this valley, for sure. Um, I don’t know if we would need to, um, you know, maybe omit a few of them, but. I, I can’t tell you. I can’t preach enough about how accessible the properties have all been to me. So I came out to Pinot camp and Pinot camp is like I said, I think three days.
Philippe Andre: And I ended up spending three weeks and it was hilarious because I basically got everybody’s numbers at Pinot camp. And I just drove around the valley saying hello to people and right. You know, texting them saying, Hey, can we taste? Can we taste? And, um, people are like, yo, you’re still here. I’m like, yeah, I’m still here.
Philippe Andre: Um, but, but that was an incredible experience because again, people opened their doors to me when they absolutely didn’t have to. And, um, I’ve been in other wine regions. little more. Um, I think, uh, structured, I guess I could say, right. Uh, or maybe a little more strict about visits and I just loved how everybody was such an open book here.
Philippe Andre: I just felt like yo, there was nothing to hide, but more importantly, it’s just everything to show. Yeah. And as a, you know, a wine professional wanting to learn everything and just wanted to consume information. Um, it was at my fingertips, the people were real, they were honest and genuine. And um, that, that compelled me and I.
Philippe Andre: I think the wines also spoke to me too, which was another huge plus, um, I absolutely adore white wine, so like right coming here for Pinot camp and then tasting Chardonnay, Greek, I mean, you know, everything you could ever imagine, I tried it all right. And I was just completely enamored and blown away by the quality level of the wines across the board.
Philippe Andre: I never got in Chicago. I had to come out here to find them. And then I had to beg my distributors to bring ’em to Chicago, which, um, I felt very proud of, of course, of course.
A.J.: Yes. Yes. Uh, in 2018, you know, you became, you met with, uh, Charles HEK to become ambassador mm-hmm and uh, you know, you told him right up front, I’m gonna be really honest.
A.J.: This is who I am, you know, go look at my Instagram account and if you don’t like it, this isn’t a good fit um, so. , you know, just let everybody know, like, what was their response? And then. How did their response, like how did that feel to you?
Philippe Andre: Well, it was a very, um, uh, vulnerable position to be in, but I was very calculative in that.
Philippe Andre: I had been in a professional experience before there where I felt like I kept getting censored or I kept being told to follow the script. And I can’t remember tasting a wine that blew me away that followed the script. Um, And I just felt like wine is so organic that, you know, representing wineries or business can also be organic and very genuine and honest.
Philippe Andre: And I just felt like there was times where I’d learned quite a bit about the business side, which, you know, I think is pretty straightforward, but how to, how to, how to connect with an audience is something that I wanted to. be a lot more in control of, and, and to have a greater impact. And I felt like by reading from a script or being censored would only limit my opportunity to connect with.
Philippe Andre: You know, anyone, frankly. Right, exactly. Um, and being a person of color, um, also been in experiences where that came into a factor where I was, you know, passed over for a job because I didn’t look the way that they wanted me to look or I didn’t look like them. So they decided to go with someone that did look like them.
Philippe Andre: And, you know, I mean, it’s heartbreaking to be told that you’re not good enough because you don’t look like the winemaker or the owner of the winery, or you. Whoever’s in charge of the sales team here in the us. So, I mean, at that point I was just kind of like, I don’t really give a shit anymore. like, if y’all want me, this is what it’s gonna look like.
Philippe Andre: And I mean, I think, you know, my resume speaks for itself, but I had to be very clear about not getting hurt again, professionally. Right. I, I did not wanna put myself in that position where I was gonna put my heart and soul into a business. And then later to find out that I had a glass ceiling or my success was gonna be capped or it was gonna be, you know, the carpet was gonna pulled out from under me for some reason or another.
Philippe Andre: I mean, Uh, you know, the wine industry, just like any other industry is very competitive. And I feel like I choose to be here. It’s an amazing thing about our wine industry is a lot of folks choose to be in the wine industry. Um, but unfortunately there is always gonna be, you know, gatekeepers. And if those gatekeepers are from a, you.
Philippe Andre: A different background or from a generation that doesn’t understand being different or differences rather, you know, it, it definitely, um, can be heartbreaking. Um, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve seen many opportunities where I was like, wow, I will light it up for this brand or I will light it up. But then to be told, you know, This is the right fit.
Philippe Andre: So yeah, basically long story short, um, you know, this was before COVID. So, uh, I had a lot of zoom meetings, um, that was kind of brand new and I was like, look, you guys are seeing me. You’re not, you, you see my resume, you know, you see me, um, you obviously like, please go to my Instagram. I’m very active on it, but I’m also very proud of how I represent.
Philippe Andre: I think my myself on social media, I, a lot of, one of the greatest compliments that. Quite frequently is like people tell me, I’m just like how I am on Instagram. And I’m like, yes. Okay, good. Because I’m not trying to be somebody else or a caricature of myself on Instagram. I’m just trying to show you the pure joy I have for our industry and for the people that I love to celebrate.
Philippe Andre: And I hope that that joy can inspire others to either pass it on or find a little bit of that when they’re going through a difficult situation. And so for me, it was kind of like, Instagram is my digital resume. Right. You know, I can tell you who I work for. I can tell you what wines I’ve drank. I can tell you what I’ve sold, but you know, if you don’t like the way that I’m carrying myself on Instagram, then this is never gonna work.
Philippe Andre: exactly. Plain is day. Right. It’s really simple,
A.J.: you know, and it’s oh, the today, right? Everything is so digital mm-hmm and you know, it’s, uh, you know, a lot of people. They’re like, oh, you gotta be careful what you post on Instagram. You gotta, you know, don’t, don’t go off the walls and, you know, cuz it, you know, it shows who you are and people, these days will, you know, obviously, you know, Google you and all that good fun stuff.
A.J.: So I mean, it’s, it’s amazing how you get to a certain point in life and you’re like, this is who I am. And if you don’t like it, eh, I don’t care.
Philippe Andre: Yeah. I mean, Uh, like I said, I think, I think it’s sad to reflect on it in this way, but I’ve just been hurt a couple times professionally in a place where I never would’ve thought it happened.
Philippe Andre: Right. Um, and I just don’t wish that for anyone ever again, and I don’t ever want to feel that ever again, so maybe I have to put up a guard, but instead my guard was just to be very brutally honest and like, look, if you guys don’t like this. It’s okay. Like, just, just tell me, don’t tell me six months later, when, you know, you gave me this opportunity and you’re just like, okay, this isn’t working out.
Philippe Andre: So, um, I guess to, you know, that never happened. And that’s the beauty of my situation with the team at Charles and the team at E P I mean, um, There were many instances. And I, I moved to New York. It was crazy. My wife was in Chicago and potentially, you know, coming to New York and, you know, it was a lot of uncertainty, but I, but I knew that.
Philippe Andre: if I, if I showed them who I was, right. And if I led with my heart, I knew that the, you know, the success would be there. And I kind of, I mean, I bet on myself. I think I, I think I actually lost money my first year on the job because I was spending so much money, uh, you know, kind of just a. To be in New York and to have the experiences that I wanted to have, and really soak in the, the, the, uh, opportunity.
Philippe Andre: But for me, it was the most incredible investment I could have had or had I invested in myself professionally. And I gave myself a chance to like go on the grand stage and prove it. And, um, for me, it was so important because the wines, I think, believe they deserved it. Right. I, I tasted those wines and I was just like, how.
Philippe Andre: nobody knows what I know right now. Right. You know? Um, and so I, I was like, I’m willing to invest in this opportunity, but more importantly, I hope that they, you know, They, they, they want me and, uh, from day one they did and, and, uh, constantly, um, you know, communicated that, um, in many ways so, uh, yeah, it was a dream come true.
Philippe Andre: And I, and I, you know, would wake up and pinch myself. I can’t believe I’m here right now. You know, like, can’t believe I’m doing this
A.J.: right. And they not, and they not only wanted you, they were. You know, I think you went to them and you were like, you know, how do you want me to represent . Yeah. And they’re like, no, you tell us how to do it.
A.J.: And I mean, I can only imagine how you felt after that meeting. Um, but like, was there somebody that you did you call your wife or your mom or something to, but you like, holy cow, this just happened.
Philippe Andre: I, I can’t remember exactly after that meeting. I definitely, so I’m a crier, it’s a full disclosure. Um, I was so taken aback by that, that I was just like, you know, just, just soaking in the emotions because again, I I’d been in a place for a couple years before that, where I was really questioning if I.
Philippe Andre: Should stay in the wine business. And I was questioning my, my, uh, talent questioning, you know, the decisions I made professionally before and here I have, you know, um, this historic property that’s, you know, wants me. And then also is now telling me to go and. Just go out there and crush it. We believe in you.
Philippe Andre: Right. So different than any other professional experience I’ve had before in the wine w world. And so, um, you know, I, I basically, you know, took everything I’d learned up to that point and I just cranked it a volume up man. And I was like, okay, we’re gonna, we’re gonna show them what they got. You know, like, I just felt like every single opportunity I had to show up for the winery and show them why they invested in an, in an employee like me.
Philippe Andre: Um, I had to prove to them 10 times. Right. And. We did
A.J.: and that that’s awesome. And, you know, you know, so I just finished reading a book called champagne, Charlie. Okay. Yeah. And you know, it’s, this sounds probably off the wall farfetched a little bit to you, but to me reading the book, this does not sound farfetched at all.
A.J.: So Charles cam uh, father Charles H mm-hmm was, you know, at one point he got a big white stallion with a bunch of bottles of champagne. During, you know, when, uh, Napoleon was fighting Russia and showed up in Russia with all this champagne and was like, I’m going to, you know, make a stand, I’m gonna stand out.
A.J.: I’m going to like, get, you know, the word out about Charles hick mm-hmm , you know, and I see that and I see your vibrance and I see how you, you know, are different and like stand out. And I’m like, you know, you perfectly fit into the story of Charles H.
Philippe Andre: I, I, I appreciate that. It’s crazy to even think that is even possible.
Philippe Andre: Um, you think about history and Laura and you’re like, you know, You’re I, I’m a, I’m a history buff. So like I’m fascinated with that stuff. And you forget that we have an opportunity to write our own history in many ways, and you never really think that you’re making a difference, um, until you actually have.
Philippe Andre: And, um, so it’s special to think about that. I’m not the, I’m not really the type of person to say, like yes, but I’m sure there’s a lot of folks that if they were in the room right now, they’d be like, dude, you, you are champagne Chi . Um, but I, but I just, you. I truly believe in the quality of the wines that our team puts out, but also I just believe in the spirit and the energy that our community has, and I try to really bring it out.
Philippe Andre: Um, one thing I was just thinking about, I’ve heard that story. You mentioned obviously many times and, uh, talk about the winery and, um, So I actually have a white horse. now thinking about this. So I, I own a white, a white horse. And, uh, so you know, in many ways you do need to stand out. Um, you need to find your own white horse, I guess, and right.
Philippe Andre: And, um, I, I hope that, you know, whatever I do. Inspires others to find their own way, their own path to connecting with either their community or their customers or, you know, whatever they’re doing professionally. I think, um, I, I may be taking risks in different places than they would or could, but I hope it inspires others to, to, to be honest about.
Philippe Andre: You know, they believe in and, um, and, and, you know, get to work and you bust your ass and things. Great. Things can happen, you know? Right. It won’t always happen. But, um, I think, uh, there’s no, there’s no, um, there’s no like fast forward button to success. There, there is no, you know, and, um, the reflection on it makes me very proud.
Philippe Andre: Yeah. Well
A.J.: that, that deserves it. Cheers.
Philippe Andre: thank you. Thank you so much. Yes, no, thank.
A.J.: as, as I was reading Champaign, Charlie, um, so that like in 1852, Charles, he was shipping 25,000 cases of wine to the us. Yeah.
Philippe Andre: Yeah.
A.J.: And I look at Oregon and I’m like, you know, a majority of the producers are, you know, under 10,000 cases a year mm-hmm mm-hmm and I’m. Holy cow, that just boggles my mind. That that much, uh, champagne was getting shipped in.
A.J.: In the mid 1850s.
Philippe Andre: I, the, I would say the follow-up question would be how much of it was actually paid for . Well, that’s, that’s the other, you know, I mean, uh, without, you know, risk, there’s no reward, but right. Um, I hope folks will read the book and, or watch the movie. Have you seen the movie on YouTube with you grants?
Philippe Andre: Uh, I,
A.J.: I tried to watch it, but I watched it after reading the book. Yeah. and I’m just like, eh, it just doesn’t
Philippe Andre: compare. Yeah, it’s tough. I mean, to be honest, To give the people to bridge version. Uh, Charles sent a lot of wine to the us and didn’t get paid for any of it. so right, exactly. And like, that’s, you know, it’s a huge risk and he, uh, borrowed money from his family from, uh, a lot of other, you know, close friends and to, to start off his winery.
Philippe Andre: And of course, you know, um, he had a great vision and dream and. You know, he got it done. Right. Paid everybody back, but it took, you know, some time it
A.J.: took a lot of time and you know, you can’t leave out the fact that, you know, during the civil war. Yeah. You know, he traveled down south to try to get his money.
A.J.: And got caught up in the wrong spot at the wrong place. Yeah. Yeah. Got a freaking arrest and was
Philippe Andre: jail for you. So I’m from Chicago. So I always like to joke that, like, it’s really easy for folks that are out of towns to like get caught up in like the east coast, west coast thing, you know, but, um, basically Charles went to new Orleans and as a first time visitor in new Orleans, you probably pretty much kind of always have to get arrested at some point.
Philippe Andre: So, um, you know, there’s, there’s, there’s very few rules in new Orleans, but there’s. But, um, I’ll leave it at that. Um, but again, part of, part of the drama, you know, um, and, and part of the, the, the legend that is champagne, Charlie.
A.J.: Yeah. Yeah. And that provides a great segue into the release of champagne Charlie this year.
A.J.: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. So vintages in 79, 81, 82, 83, 85. And now 2022.
Philippe Andre: Yes. So. This year’s release is, um, now that we can fully disclose it’s not a vintage, um, what’s really fascinating is the previous vintages of Charles or Charlie where we found out we’re actually technically never vintage wines. They always had a base vintage, right with reserve wines.
Philippe Andre: Yet, you know, in order to market it better back then they put a vintage date on it because it was a truly special wine. It’s, it’s a legendary wine. When you try 80, you know, 81, 83, 85, 82 outta mag, those are unique experiences that, you know, people still text me or send me a note and they’re like, why is this still so good or what is going on with this?
Philippe Andre: You know, and it’s like, this is because we had a very, simple thing. We had incredible access to grapes, which we still do. And we had a legendary winemaker. You put those two together and fireworks are gonna happen. Right. Um, so we were able to look at, you know, the previous Charlie wines that were made and our chef de co surreal, um, Dove into the archives and really wanted to recreate Charlie.
Philippe Andre: Um, Yeah. In the, in the most responsible and, um, and thoughtful way to kind of celebrate Daniel. Tebo our previous chef to cov who made those wines, um, is just the most authentic way to rerelease to Charlie. Yeah. And so essentially with that being said, we found out that those previous vintages were multi vintage wants.
Philippe Andre: So with the laws. Uh, back then they were a little more murky. Now we wanna be a little more transparent. So there is a base vintage, there is a lot of reserve wine. It’s like the opposite of any non vintage wine, right? It’s like, you know, reserve wine with a little bit of base wine, you know? Um, and I believe this release goes all the way back to 1995 is the oldest wine in the bottle.
Philippe Andre: Dang. So. You’ve got, you know, 20, 20, 27 years in the making, um, in the bottle. That’s so, um, that’s kind of what we do. We love to play with time we’re patient Afaf and we’re also crazy. Afaf so come for us. Let’s up
A.J.: yeah. You know, uh, just Oregon sparkling right now is just kind of like kind of getting its grasp and everything.
A.J.: Yeah. And. , you know, some, some wineries are starting to play with, you know, some reserve wine, a little like maybe like one or two. And, uh, it was just announced this week that, uh, uh, one of the a hundred percent sparkling houses, uh, corollary, it just bought a 57 acre plot that was going to be dedicated completely to, uh, to sparkling.
A.J.: Wow. And, uh, it’s just fascinating to see what, what, uh, Oregon is going to come out with in that, in that
Philippe Andre: those terms. I, I agree. I mean, my first time out here in 2013, I had two agendas to be outta there. I had to taste every white wine I possibly could and taste every sparkling wine I could. Um, nine years ago, there were a few, few, uh, far.
Philippe Andre: Sparkly wines available to me, but it solidified that they were on their way. And as I’ve seen over the last couple years, I would say over the last yeah, nine years, the consumer demand, plus the, I think the curiosity of the winemakers here have been like, we should do a sparkler for the beginning of our dinners and it’s like, then they make it and.
Philippe Andre: Oh, hell no, we’re not doing this shit ever again. um, so, you know, for folks that don’t know what it takes to make sparkling wine, um, let me tell you, it is, it is a challenge and, um, think about the space requirements, the labor, right? There are some tax requirements in the us that they heavily taxed sparkling wine per liter versus still wine.
Philippe Andre: It’s not, it’s not that crazy, but it’s still just. Difficult to compete when you have a domestic sparkling wine that ends up on the shelf for 60 to 80 bucks. You know, I know that that’s not easy to. You know, you look at these extended triage wines, these long aging on Lees bottles, you know, and I respect the hell out of it, cuz it’s like, yo, these bottles take up space in the seller for five, six years.
Philippe Andre: Right. That costs money, you know, to, to store it temp control, then the bottle and all the RMD, all this tasting, all this stuff, you know, the stuff that Nate’s doing at Argo, I’m just like every time I’ve been there, I’m just like, wow. , um, they’re doing it the right way. Um, you know, in terms of putting the effort in, right.
Philippe Andre: And when I taste domestic sparkling wines, I’m always like, yo, like you guys put heart and soul into this, of course, because you cannot make sparkling wine without some love. So, you know, I can sit up here and say, oh yeah, we’ve got reserve wine. That’s 25 years old. But that’s the oddity of Charles is that we’re one of the few properties in the world that is crazy enough to hold onto dessert wines for 25 years before they go on the bottle.
Philippe Andre: I mean, this is stupid, right. But, um, I’ve always adored, you know, sparkling wine regardless of where it comes from. And, um, my time out here in 2013 tasting the sparkling wines, um, It’s magical cuz I knew we had something special. Right. Um, I’ve been on, you know, got on to continue to taste everything I possibly could from the us and just anything with bubbles, you know?
Philippe Andre: But, um, Oregon sparkling has always been, um, A nice, like reminder. I think that it can be done outside of champagne and you’ve got some really incredible new places that we’re seeing bubbles from, you know, England Tasmania, um, are, are two of those ones that like, if folks have never tried those wines, like let’s, let’s go, you know, let’s, let’s check ’em out.
Philippe Andre: Yeah. Um, like the two wines you blinded on me here, like one is clearly very different than the other. And you know, the second. The only way to make this wine is love. You cannot rush this. Um, so like I get that, that’s a flavor profile and that’s a, it speaks to my heart when I try wines like that, because I know that it’s not easy to do.
Philippe Andre: Um, so
A.J.: yeah, no, it is, it is absolutely amazing. I’m
Philippe Andre: looking forward to tasting some bubbles this weekend. I’ll tell you that. Oh yeah. We’ve got plenty on the docket. yes,
A.J.: yes. Uh, I can’t wait for this weekend either. Yeah, it’ll be. , uh, I listened to one of your interviews and you talked about a sense of terroir with cigars and pairing it with, with bubbles.
A.J.: Yep. I know zero about cigars. Okay. All right. Help me out. Like where should I start? What should I
Philippe Andre: do? Yeah, so, um, tobacco, um, cigar production, uh, very similar to wine product. It’s very hands on. Very labor intensive take space needs to be aged, goes through fermentation, right. Actually seven fermentations to be exact for tobacco.
Philippe Andre: Um, so I see these parallels constantly, as I learned about production with cigars, but it all goes back to the beginning of. My time working on the floor at, at my family’s restaurant in Evanston, Illinois, oceanic restaurant 8 4 7 8 6 4 3 4 3 5. gotta plug it for pops. Otherwise you’d be mad at me, but of course, um, you know, there’d be nights where we just have, have a long night.
Philippe Andre: Just like in any other service and you wanna relax. And my first go-to to relax would be a glass of champagne. Um, there were some times where my pops or someone would hand me a cigar, and then I started saying, you know what, actually, this is kind of, kind of nice. It’s relaxing. Um, I’ve never been a cigarette smoker.
Philippe Andre: Um, so I didn’t really have a connection to tobacco before, but I love the all factory. I love the ceremony of prepping a cigar and serving it to someone. I remember Googling. A cigar sommelier, uh, and looking up YouTube videos, they used to do these sommelier classes in Cuba, right. Where they would, they would literally do a, a competition where you’d have sommelier that would prep and pair and serve a cigar for guests having dinner, you know, and they would pair it with their, their meal or, or at the end of their meal, whatever they are in the course.
Philippe Andre: And so I guess, you know, going back to your question about terwar, um, for me, Cuba is burgundy. It is the most. A respectful, transparent way to translate terwar in a cigar. Um, it’s not really fair to Nicaragua or Dominican Republic, but, um, I just personally prefer Cuban cigars because I find them to be more mild, more, uh, elegant, uh, a little less on the like peppery side.
Philippe Andre: Um, kind of like Oregon’s PIR it just has this beautiful balance to it, you know? Right, right. Um, and it speaks to me. And so in terms of. , you know, you’ve got, you’ve got Graham cracker, you’ve got leather, you’ve got just earth, like soil, you know, dry leaves obviously. Um, and some honey, um, you know, baking, baking notes for sure.
Philippe Andre: Uh, and then you’ve got the smoke, which is very. intense to say the least, right, right. Can be very intrusive. But I think the right cigar can be really balanced in that regard as well. But what I love with bubbles is you have this bright acidity. You have this texture that’s, that’s, that’s fuzzy. And, um, it kind of almost cleanses your pallet, right?
Philippe Andre: Uh, as you take a. and so you’ve got this yin and yang of complete opposites. You’ve got something weighty and heavy chocolate Graham cracker, uh, in a cigar. And then you’ve got this champagne, which is like, you know, lemon, uh, spree, candy, um, and you know, croissant and you just like, they come together and you’re like, holy shit.
Philippe Andre: I have a chocolate croissant now , you know, right. It’s, it’s the most epic pairing. Um, I will also. There’s another thing is that I love smoking cigars during the day. Um, and even for breakfast and traditional pairings with cigar would be, you know, rum or whiskey, or I can’t do that in the morning. I can’t have, you know, a couple pours and then get back to my day, but I can drink a glass of champagne and be very, very productive, but also I get really thirsty when I smoke.
Philippe Andre: So the last thing I want is to have to sip something when my pallet is just completely. dry. It needs to be refreshed. And the last thing I want to drink when I was smoking cigar is water because it literally tastes like, you know, bong water essentially. Right, right. Um, which is not pretty, so a beautiful champagne.
Philippe Andre: And I will, I also say a beautiful rose champagne. Oh. Is, uh, in my opinion, the perfect pairing with a cigar from Cuba. Yeah. Well, thank
A.J.: you so much for that. I, I, I know, you know, I know nothing.
Philippe Andre: Yes. So it’s an amazing pairing. I think, um, I, I remember trying it on a bunch of Psalms and, and the ceremony of lighting a cigar for somebody is, is the epitome of, I think.
Philippe Andre: Respect for that person. And just being able to take care of them and bathe them in love and like, Hey, I’m gonna, I’m all you have to do is literally put this thing in your mouth and take a puff of it. Right. I will prep everything. I will select the cigar for you. I’m gonna parrot with the wines. We’re gonna have.
Philippe Andre: And we’re gonna get down to just connecting over the next hour, hour and a half or however long it takes you to finish your car. I love that component because it, you put your phone down because you have to hold the cigar. Right. And you, your other hand is your wine glass. So you’re focused on the moment and, um, yeah, it’s cigar, I love the way it brings people together.
Philippe Andre: It creates moments and it forces you to focus on that. Yeah.
A.J.: Most definitely. I, because of you, I think about three weeks ago, I was getting together with a buddy of mine. Okay. And I’m like, Hey, do you know anything about cigars? And he was like, no. So I’m like, all right, I wanna bring a couple cigars. He’s like, all right, let’s do it.
A.J.: So I actually go into the cigar shop. Yeah. And I tell, you know, the, the guy there I’m like, alright, So I’ve heard that champagne pairs very well with, you know, with cigars and he’s like, no fucking way. well, you, his eyes just glazed over because I started talking wine. Yeah. And I’m like, that’s too much, isn’t it?
A.J.: Yeah. And he’s like, no, it was fine. And you could just tell, I was like, okay. I, I, I lost you.
Philippe Andre: Most cigar folks are not wine folks. It’s really fascinating. Um, I’ve found that there’s not a whole lot of crossover, but I’m doing my best to champion it. And, uh, I’m very proud that I inspired you to go in there and ask questions.
Philippe Andre: That’s the number one thing I tell people, if you don’t know anything, go ask a professional. It’s like going to a restaurant, not knowing a single wine on the wine list. Why don’t you ask the professional there, you know? Right. Be vulnerable for once in your life. well, and just be curious, be curious. Yes.
Philippe Andre: Right? Yes, exactly. So I’m very proud that you did that. Cuz my number one thing I’ll tell people that wanna learn about cigars, like go into a cigar shop, ask them questions. If they don’t take care of you, the way that you wanna be taken care of, go find another cigar shop. Just like if you were going to a wine shop and they don’t take care of you go find another wine.
A.J.: Exactly. Simple as that. I can’t, uh, I, I don’t. Yes. I completely agree. Yes. Oh, in talking about being the master of ceremony this week for I P and C mm-hmm , oh’s had lots
Philippe Andre: cigars by the way, for I P and C. Oh, nice. I had to. I hope they allow smoking on campus. I dunno. I dunno. I dunno. I’m
A.J.: sure. I’m sure it will be.
A.J.: Yeah. you know, it’s a campus there’s gotta be hide out somewhere. Mm-hmm hopefully. Yes. um, it’s kind of gotta feel like kind of coming full circle, you know, 2013, you know, Pino camp. Um Messara and then just like, kind of almost coming back home. I mean, yeah. What was your reaction when you know the folks at, I P C like asked you to be
Philippe Andre: master’s ceremony?
Philippe Andre: Yeah. So Amy, uh, I think she sent me an email asking if she could, if we could chat. And I was like, oh, cool. Like, you know, They want me to volunteer at, I P C I was like, great. Okay. I I’ve always wanted to attend, but you know, I guess I can go work it. And she’s like, oh no, we want you to be the MC. And I was like, oh shit.
Philippe Andre: Okay. Like this is a whole nother level. So, um, I just, I don’t know. I just assumed that, you know, I wouldn’t be in this position to, uh, you know, have this opportunity, but here we are, you know, Today’s the beginning. Right. Of, of, I think, um, just another magical moment in this journey that I’ve been able to have.
Philippe Andre: So I was blown away by it. I was at first I was like, oh, let me check my calendar. But I was like, what am I doing? Yes, I’ll be there. What, what do I do? It’s a checking my calendar. It’s a year away. And she’s asking me, like, I can’t say no to Oregon, man. Like, uh, so much love for the community here. And to be recognized is like, it just feels so special, you know?
Philippe Andre: Um, I, I, I cannot wait to see everybody that I haven’t seen in a long time. Um, and just, you know, say, Hey, we, we, we did it or we made it or, or more importantly, just we’re still here, you know? Right. And, um, Can’t wait to share that with all the folks that are visiting for I P and C, I hope that they get, you know, at least an ounce of, of the love that has been offered to me by the, the community here.
Philippe Andre: So, um, can’t wait to share that. Yeah,
A.J.: no, that’s, that is awesome. It’s it’s going to be a killer weekend. it’s gonna be killer. Yeah. Um, I got some rapid fire questions. Okay. And I’ll do the, the reveal if that works. Oh yeah. Sure. Okay. Uh, So, you know, you don’t do harvest anymore, but like when you’re in the zone and you’re working.
A.J.: Yeah. Who’s your favorite artist to listen
Philippe Andre: to? Oh, man. Um, I was cranking on a proposal the other day. And I was listening to tool, which was kind of outta left field, but there’s some melodic stuff that, that kind of just helps me focus. But I honestly, like I listened to bad bunny, probably like, is so much, um, I don’t know what it is about him, but his first album.
Philippe Andre: Just blew me away. And then I’ve just like been enamored by him and everything that he touches and does and how he’s so outspoken for, um, inclusivity and just, I think personality, character, and people finding their own personal voice. I, I don’t speak Spanish so, um, you know, saying that he’s one of my favorite artists right now is crazy, but I just, I feel it in his voice, I feel it in.
Philippe Andre: Uh, he’s saying that, uh, it means something special to me, uh, for sure. Um, so yeah, bad bunny . All right. Awesome.
A.J.: Uh, what is your favorite indulgent food,
Philippe Andre: favorite indulgent food? Um, man, I mean,
A.J.: I know it’s, it’s, it’s difficult. It. You know, if you wanna say skip, like
Philippe Andre: honestly caviar. I, I, I just, I put it on everything I can, um, I love sharing it.
Philippe Andre: I love the ceremony of sharing it. Um, I, and, and I should be fully preface here. I put caviar on people’s hands and then we eat it directly. So we don’t play around with. Like other carbs or other flavors, you just eat good caviar and you drink good bubbles. It’s as simple as that.
A.J.: I I’ve seen, I’ve seen the
Philippe Andre: hits or the bump.
Philippe Andre: Yes, yes. All day.
A.J.: Uh, if you could choose a superpower, what would it
Philippe Andre: be? Oh man. Um, I think flight man flight is like one of those things. We’re just like, man, I’d love to see what it looks like from up there. You know, I think, uh, flight super power
A.J.: that. Who is your favorite superhero
Philippe Andre: man? Um, I’m a Batman guy.
Philippe Andre: Yeah. Oh, okay. Batman for sure. Yeah, he gives you like the, it could be me, you know, like if, if I had, you know, uh, like a zillion dollars in, you know, like maybe I could. Be president too. um, but no, I, I think, I think there’s, you know, kind of an admiration for being like kind of the bad boy, good guy at the same time, you know?
Philippe Andre: Um, I, I, I just, I, I like his swagger and his vibe. I like the dark kind of world. And you. Yeah, no, that’s I always say that our wines are like the Batman of champagne, like the dark night , you know, you, right. You didn’t even know you needed us until, you know, we were there. Right. And then when you don’t need us, it’s fine.
Philippe Andre: You know, you can go and celebrate with somebody else, but you know, it’s not the same. We’ll always be there for you. Right.
A.J.: um, well, what was the last book that you read, you know, physically your audio.
Philippe Andre: Um, I do, I do a lot of blog. I do a lot of like online reading, um, rather than novels. Okay. I read a lot of car stuff.
Philippe Andre: I’m a big car enthusiast, Motorsport enthusiast. So, um, last thing that I read cover to cover would be the Ferrari magazine quarterly for I quarterly. Nice,
A.J.: nice. That’s awesome. Thank you. um, should I reveal some
Philippe Andre: wines? Yeah, let’s do it. Yeah. Okay. So wine number one.
A.J.: Wine number one. Mm-hmm it is from Oregon. Okay. It is
Philippe Andre: Lidle Barnett. Oh, wow. Yeah. Hell yeah. I know it very cool. 15. Wow. Yeah. I, I think what I love about seeing these wines is just like buy these wines and forget about them in your seller. Like this wine in five to 10 more years. is gonna blow people away.
Philippe Andre: They would never even know that this was a domestic wine. If they drink it with five more years of age, I guarantee you. No, I, I totally agree.
A.J.: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, this next one, you know, I, I stalked you a little bit. Okay. And, uh, so I brought a producer that you had
Philippe Andre: oh yes, the Bedel this is, this is grower juice, right?
Philippe Andre: Um, served it in my wedding, actually. Exactly. Um, first wine ever gifted my, uh, girlfriend now wife and, um, fell in love with this wine as a young Psalm. And, uh, it was different when yay based and I liked being different, loved how lush it was and accessible young. But look at this. Right.
A.J.: And you it’s creamy.
A.J.: It is so creamy just, and having ’em side by side, just to see that the color differences in ’em is absolutely amazing. Yeah.
Philippe Andre: Yeah. We actually got a chance to go to the winery and taste it with them a few years ago. Um, That’s, you know, we were talking about it on the way up here. It’s like, you’re literally under someone’s house in their basement tasting wine, you know?
Philippe Andre: Right. Um, so that’s really special. Thank you so much for tracking it down. I, I haven’t tasted this in a while and I only have a few left in my cell, so I’m trying to be very, um, um, trying to hide them under cases. So I don’t drink them too fast. But had you had this wine
A.J.: before? Uh, I, I, I did taste it before.
A.J.: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, yeah. Well, when I tracked it down. Yes, I tasted it. Okay. Okay. But I hadn’t not, not before that.
Philippe Andre: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Thank you so much for sharing
A.J.: that. Yeah, no, you’re welcome. Thank you so much for your time. And this has been amazing and, uh, yeah, yeah. You know, it’s gonna be a killer weekend.
Philippe Andre: I think so too. We’ve got quite a few bubbles. Uh, like I said, I’m excited to, uh, to bring Charles to, uh, to I P and C, but more importantly bring, um, bring that love back. That was shown to me from day one here. So couldn’t be more honored to, uh, to, to support, to show up and to, uh, to celebrate. So thank you so much, man.
Philippe Andre: Cheers. Thanks so ha for having me.
A.J.: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.