Every Saturday TheChampagneSommelier will ask 5 questions about 5 coeur de bouteilles to friends and Champagne lovers from near and far. This week we took a bubbly chat with American Champagne lover Blaine Ashley. Merci Blaine !
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Blaine Ashley aka ‘Champagne Blaine’ is the founder of New York Champagne Week which launched in 2013. Popping off in NYC annually in November, the week’s events spotlight the champagne lifestyle through a variety of creative events, pairing experiences, brand launches, new release reveals, interactive tastings and effervescent, glitterati packed parties.
In 2020, New York Champagne launched year-round events dubbed “NYCW365” and expanded across the US through a virtual event footprint. November 2022’s New York Champagne Week became a full-fledged destination event, inviting champagne enthusiasts from all over the world to participate in this year’s champagne-packed festivities. And, for the 10th Anniversary of New York Champagne Week, Ashley will be hosting multi-city NYCW pop ups across the country with the pièce de résistance taking place in NYC in November 2023.
In 2016, Ashley’s focus on all things bubbly awarded her a nod in Wine Enthusiast magazine as a 40 under 40 Tastemaker where she was aptly dubbed ‘The Champagne Queen’. In 2021, Forbes gave Ashley a nod for her adaptability through the pandemic. And, in October 2018 Ashley launched a sparkling wine focused sister platform, ‘The FIZZ is Female’ which shines a spotlight on leading ladies in the bubbly wine biz and celebrates sparkling wine made, owned and/or led by female powerhouses from around the world.
Which Champagne would You treat your parents or in-laws?
‘My mom is a chardonnay dominant champagne fan and loves anything with a royale touch, thus I’d open a bottle of RARE 2006 for her which is exquisitely elegant (just like her)!It’s radiantly fruity and mineral and is chardonnay dominant at 70% chardonnay, 30% pinot noir. Beyond the exceptional taste of this wine, the label is interactive as you may remove the gold filigree and wear it as a crown – just perfect for my chic, modest luxury lovin’ mama!’
Which Champagne would You treat your lover?
‘A bottle of his birth year which happens to be a vintage year – 1982.
My champagne dreams would be to share a bottle of 1982 Dom Perignon with him. Until the purse strings allow for that kinda splurge — I have one single bottle left of my own private label in possession – Champagne Bulle de Rêve that he’s yet to try. It’s almost time to release that bottle from hostage and enjoy it at an upcoming special occasion.’
Which Champagne would You treat Your boss?
Which Champagne would You treat yourself?
See question #3 ‘yet I’ll also take this opportunity to mention some of my favorite daily / regularly consumed champagnes:
Billecart Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (when it’s not sold out, I’m buying)
La Caravelle Cuvée Nina (my daily sipper)
Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut (this low dosage is EPIC and absolutely one of my faves)
Mousse Fils L’Or d’Eugene Perpetuelle Blanc de Noirs Brut (Meunier dominant champagne is my jam)
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé (at least one bottle on hand, reserved for pretty weekend brunches and special dates with my best GFs)’
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why?
‘I love subtly educating and treating guests. It’s the hostess in me! Thus, I’d love to pour something for a dream guest that’s rich in history and influence on the modern-day champagne industry. A cuvée from Jacque Selosse would be really fun. Anselme Selosse is one of the most influential Champagne winemakers of the post-World War II generation. Selosse studied in Burgundy, and brought a vineyard-centric focus to Champagne during an age of big houses and little attention to viticulture. Selosse’s further experimentation with wood aging, gentle oxidation, and low dosage created a new style of champagne, and helped to launch the modern grower champagne movement. I’m very moved by self-made entrepreneurs that boast a little edge and grit so I’d love to host a mixed table of trailblazers from Richard Branson to Sophia Amoruso to rockstar, style setting friends of mine already like Cara Alwill (@thechampagnediet) and Makeda Saggau-Sackey (@theglamazondiaries). It would’ve been epic to have Anthony Bourdain at that dream table.
[ what piece of music would you listen to drinking wine with Your dream guest ?]
‘We’d rock out! Anthony’s manning the playlist for this dinner party.‘