Armand de BrignacBrowsing
Acidity. 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.
In 2006, 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.
Vineyard and Production
Cattier owns 33 ha, 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 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 with at low, constant temperatures. The cellar rooms where the Armand de Brignac simile-gold bottles age are a feast for the eyes.
In line with the Cattier wines, these champagnes are uncomplicated, fruity, round, with very thin bubbles and easy to drink.
Originally, the range consisted of just Brut Gold (aka Ace of Spades) non-vintage champagne 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.