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Armand de Brignac At A Glance
Armand de Brignac (aka Ace of Spades) is a super-high-end champagne brand owned by the American rapper Jay-Z and produced by Cattier, a family-owned Champagne house in Chigny-les-Roses in the Montagne de Reims.
Armand de Brignac History
The history of Armand de Brignac started in 2006 when Cattier partnered with Sovereign Brands, an American wine and spirit company, to craft a new ultra-premium champagne. This is how Armand de Brignac was established. The brand was actually registered by the Cattier family much earlier, in the 1950s, when Nelly Cattier created it for a Parisian customer who eventually didn’t use it. In the choice of the name, she was inspired by a novel she read whose main character was Mr. de Brignac. The brand remained dormant until it was eventfully used for this luxury cuvée that gained worldwide visibility in late 2006 with Jay-Z music video “Show Me What You Got.” In 2009, Armand de Brignac came in first in a blind tasting of 100 champagnes by Fine Champagne Magazine. Eventually, in 2014 Jay-Z acquired Sovereign Brands for an undisclosed sum. And in February 2021, Moët Hennessy-the Wines and Spirits division of LVMH-acquired a 50% stake in Armand de Brignac. Commenting on the deal, Philippe Schaus, President & CEO of Moët Hennessy, said that Armand de Brignac reflects contemporary luxury while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs. And Jay-Z said he is confident that the power of Moët Hennessy global distribution and its track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further.”
Armand de Brignac Vineyard and Production
Cattier owns 33 ha of vineyards, mainly premiers crus in the heart of the Montagne de Reims where they introduced sustainable viticultural practices and High Environmental Value Certification (HVE) in 2015. The grapes used for Armand de Brignac (500,000 bottles sold in 2019) come from their own vineyards and other supplies in pinot noir grand crus like Mailly, Verzenay, Verzy, Bouzy, and chardonnay grand crus like Avize, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The winemaking is traditional, in stainless steel vats, with malolactic fermentation, and normal dosages. Their cellars are among the deepest in Champagne, providing ideal conditions for aging at low, constant temperatures. The cellar rooms where the Armand de Brignac simile-gold bottles age are a feast for the eyes.
Armand de Brignac Style
In line with the Cattier wines, Armand de Brignac champagnes are uncomplicated, with a fruity and round style, very thin bubbles and are very easy to drink.
Armand de Brignac Wines
Originally, the range of Armand de Brignac champagnes consisted of just Brut Gold (aka Ace of Spades) non-vintage with its distinctive simil-gold aluminum-plated bottle. Made with the three champagne grapes, meunier loses relevance here. After the spectacular success of this champagne, the range was expanded to include Rosé, Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, and Demi-Sec, all non-vintage. I had the chance to taste Brut Gold and found it excellent. It is also available in the largest bottle format that exists: the Midas of 30 l (40 bottles) that retails for about 60,000 euros.