Ashley Ragovin

Hi I'm great. 

Grand Cru + House Cleaning, A Pairing

Ahh what goes with Champagne… Caviar, you say? Oysters on the waterfront? Foie Gras perhaps? A designer handbag full of money? No. No. NO. Today we pair Champagne with… house chores! Scrubbing bubbles while drinking bubbles, you know what I mean? It’s spring, after all, and that means cleaning. Cleaning, though, is one of my weaknesses, in the sense that I’m terrible at it. It’s not so much a skills deficiency as it is an easily-distracted kind of Achilles heel. Before I know it, I’m on the computer, watching a video I came across (THANK GOD) on how to grow A KIWI AND A BANANA INTO A SINGLE FRUIT!! This is a real thing.*** 

Swiffer in hand, unfolded laundry piled high, entranced by how crazy relaxing this banana-kiwi merger guy’s voice is, I tend to not get much done.

So, I’ve combined cleaning with my other weakness, Grand Cru Grower Champagne. It’s a weakness in the sense that I love it so dearly it makes me weak in the knees. Good Champagne has the power to patch any hole in your heart -– from that existential thing all of us 30-somethings are trying to make sense of, to general malaise or just plain laziness – any disagreeable emotion can be healed with those sturdy, vibrant bubbles. They literally lift me back up and remind me to keep it moving. So, it only made sense that when dishes were stacking and motivation was lacking, the answer was easy: pop a bottle of GRAND CRU!

What a revelation. Fueled by Leclaire-Gaspard’s soft, fine bubbles from Avize (village in the heart of the Cote des Blancs in Champagne), I whipped myself into a lathering frenzy, the dishes finally getting their due squirt of bubbles while I dosed myself accordingly. You know how the scent of dish soap can make you feel awake or refreshed? Multiply that by 1000 and add the feel-good body buzz of good Champagne. You become a wizard of housework! If only moms in the 1960s had known…or maybe this was their secret?! I transported myself back in time, put on yellow gloves to protect my imaginary manicure, and let the ultimate cleaning song take me away.

The smell of freshly-buttered toast mingled with gentle whiffs of oranges and herbs – accented perfectly by my honeysuckle-scented Meyer’s Clean Day! Aromatherapy, indeed.

These bubbles are soft and fine, disappearing and reappearing like persistent little snowflakes with each crisp sip. Dry and perfect – this was a mood-lifter and a game-changer for sure; I got shit done.

And what’s different about this Champagne is that this isn’t your standard big-brand Veuve or Moet – no, this is grower-made stuff, one that’s got love and all kinds of earthy goodness in the bottle.

To note: Grower Champagne comes from grapes grown on a single plot of land, and the farmer is usually also the winemaker. That gives the fruit the chance to really express itself uniquely each year. It’s like getting your eggs from a local farmer or single-origin coffee that tastes really different than that brew from Starbucks. Not to get too Whole Foods-y on you, but you’re getting way more bang for your buck in this case (unlike in other cases with actual Whole Foods, where you pay four times as much for recycled paper towels that disintegrate if you look at them wrong).

This 100% Chardonnay, 100% intentional winemaking from a tiny grower-producer, magic in a bottle that is the creme de la crème; a delicious, well-made, pedigreed wine you can feel good about drinking. It’s aged particularly longer than most Champagnes before it is even released, so by the time you get it in your glass it has this insane depth and is already so complex and alluring.

It is also a textural dream, creamy somehow, with a perfect zing of acidity to keep it alive and full of zest. Creamy-zesty! Like how I imagine a kiwana / baniwi might taste? Rich and velvety like the banana, but tingly and tickly like the kiwi – perfectly balanced flavor, sliced and topped on warm brioche you painted with butter and dipped liquid gold. Happy vacuuming.

*For more on Grower Champagne, check out this great article from our Seattle friend, Wine Folly 


THE WINE: Leclaire-Gaspard Grand Réserve Brut Grand Cru, Avize, Champagne

THE GRAPE: 100% Chardonnay, making it Blanc de Blancs

HOMETOWN: Avize, the center of Cote des Blancs in Champagne proper.

TASTES LIKE: Creamy, toasty fresh bread with orange marmalade on top, luxury in a glass, crisp and clean with a richness in the middle.

GOES DOWN EASY WITH: Dry Champagne loves anything salty, fatty, fresh, or not too spicy.

IF YOU LIKE: Anything with bubbles, this is next level.

NERDY EXTRA CREDIT: Grower Champagne only accounts for about 5% off all Champagne imported from France to the U.S.

***I have since learned that the baniwi is not real. Thanks, Snopes, for breaking dreams. But unlike this fruiterrible deception that broke my tropical-loving heart, this Champagne is nothing but TRUTH.

A good friend is like Nebbiolo...

Fines Bulles: This is not a Riesling

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