dsc08169 aThe Champagne won the prestigious No. 1 Rating in the annual Fine Champagne Magazine blind tasting test against 1,000 brands, beating out main competitors Cristal and Dom Perignon.

Who is Armand de Brignac?

The original “De Brignac” — whose name belongs to a obscure literary character in a novel that winemaker Jean-Jacques Cattier’s mother was reading in the late 1940’s or early 50s — would have leapt out of the pages of the book had he known that his namesake: Armand de Brignac is No. 1 on the Fine Champagne Magazine list of the 100 Best Champagne in 2010 and one of the most celebrated, the best and highest priced Champagne in the World.   

 At $300, one of the most expensive in the market, it is “…a fine, smooth and creamy champagne with underlying power and great mineral freshness. Classic, restrained and energetic in style, it has everything a truly great champagne can offer.  Armand de Brignac’s flashy golden bottle is eye-catching in the true meaning of the expression.  It is always rewarding when the content of the bottle matches its price and reputation,” writes the Fine Champagne Magazine.

 Everything in Armand de Brignac Champagne speaks of quality.

While Mr. Cattier traced the family's winemaking roots as far back as 1763, the actual winery was founded by Mr. Cattier's grandfather after World War I, producing such boutique Champagnes as Clos du Moulin. 

Today, the brand produced by Champagne Cattier is owned in partnership by New York City-based Sovereign Brands an became the Holy Grail of Champagne by a stroke of luck: An appearance in the rapper Jay-Z's  music video of "Show Me What You Got" prior to the launch of the Armand de Brignac brand,  following his public fallout with the makers of Cristal.   At a Monte Carlo card table Jay-Z refuses a bottle of Cristal and approves instead a resplendent gold bottle of Armand de Brignac with a raised-pewter logo in the shape of the ace of spades.

The stunning opaque metallic gold bottle with the Ace of Spade label made of real pewter, polished and applied by hand, originally developed by Cattier for the André Courrèges fashion house and served at Queen Elizabeth II of England's Golden Jubilee celebration, looks resplendent in its lavish black velvet lined black lacquer box.

 However, refinement and exclusivity are in the contents as well.

ace of spadesArmand de Brignac Brut Gold, Champagne, France, ($303.99).   First released in 2006, the Prestige Cuvée is a multi-vintage blend of  33% Pinot Noir (strength and structure), 33% Chardonnay (elegance and finesse), 33% Pinot Meunier (roundness, nuance, and fruity and floral fragrance)from villages rated Grand Crus and Premier Crus of La Marne, one of Champagne’s historic terroirs. The wine is treated, every step of the lengthy process,  as a priceless treasure of the Champagne tradition.    

A shimmering yellow color with small and tight bubbles, Armand de Brignac is a bold and powerful wine, well-balanced,  marvelously complex and full-bodied, with a bouquet that is both fresh and lively. Its sumptuous, racy fruit character is perfectly integrated with aromas of freshly-baked brioche and chalk, along with intense acidity.  Its texture is deliciously creamy and the palate has great depth and impact with a long and silky finish. It should develop well with several years of bottle age   

Armand de Brignac's Champagnes are marketed as flagship cuvées in selected markets. They are produced in a multi-vintage style (like Krug's Grande Cuvée) as opposed to the vintage prestige cuvées of some other Champagne houses (including Louis Roederer's Cristal and Moët et Chandon's Dom Perignon).

Two other cuvées, a Rosé and a Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) were released in 2008. Bottles of Armand de Brignac have appeared in several music videos, sometimes referenced as "Ace of Spades" in song lyrics.

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