I received possibly the best birthday present by far: the entire line of Armand de Brignac Champagnes from a friend who lives in Paris, France. I was floored that I have the entire collection one of the premier Champagne brands in the world (and it’s considered #1 out of the 1,000 Champagnes blind tasted (may be read here from FINE Champagne Magazine). I am deeply humbled and grateful for having an amazing gift.
Armand de Brignac Champagne is a prestige cuvée brand (think of the more prevalent Champagne houses in the United States: Krug, Cristal, and Dom Perignon). Armand de Brignac is currently available in approximately 90 countries worldwide and is produced by the award-winning Champagne Cattier house of Chigny-les-Roses, France. The Cattier family has owned and cultivated vineyards in the Montagne de Reims terroir in the French Champagne region since 1763, and patriarch Jean-Jacques Cattier oversees the production of Armand de Brignac. Here, he unveils the secret to what makes Armand de Brignac so special.
What makes Armand de Brignac initially distinctive is its opaque metallic bottles. Eight artisans hand made their bottles and beautiful shiny wooden, black laquered boxes with its signature pewter ace of spade logo. The father and son, Jean-Jacques and Alexnader of the Cattier family are the head wine makers.
The main goal of producing these exclusive multi-vintage Champagnes is to express the rich symphony of flavors and subtle notes from their best grapes (Premier Cru or Grand Cru from the Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blancs regions in Champagne, France). After the pressing of the juice, it is blended with that of harvests of two prior outstanding vintages and then aged for 3 years.
At the final stage of their aging, the bottles are each riddled by hand – a process usually done with machines instead – and then disgorged. The pièce de résistance is another unique one to Armand de Brignac – is to use a liqueur de dosage aged in oaken casks from Burgundy to impart a certain je ne sais quoi to the blend.
For the house’s Brut Gold, which is its first bottling, it is made of 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, and 20% Pinot Meunier. It’s wonderfully complex and full-bodied, with a bouquet that is both fresh and lively. It is sumptuous, fruit character is perfectly integrated with the wine’s subtle brioche accents. Its texture is creamy and the palate has great depth and impact with a long and silky finish. A complex yet sharply focused Brut.
The Rosé has a similar mouthfeel to the Brut. This Champagne is salmon-hued color from a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 10% Chardonnay. Created by the assemblage process (blending of still wines from different terriors), with 12% still Pinot Noir blended into a sparkling white cuvée. It has aromas of fresh strawberries and blackcurrant. The bouquet is rich, with red fruits in front and lightly smoky notes behind with a nice, long finish.
The Blanc de Blanc is the most rare wine of the sparkling wine realm. Because of the great demand for the region prized Chardonnay, less than 5% of Champagne produced is made in the 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs style. It tastes delicate, light, dry and crisp with notes of young Chardonnay fruit and floral accents. Aromas of vanilla, citrus fruits, and dried apricots. Lingering finish. This is my favorite selection of the trio.
If you would like to be enlightened and interested in learning about Armand de Brignac’s house, I suggest you to watch their videos.
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Armand de Brignac
Available for purchase within the NYC area at Spring Street Wine Shop in SoHo, 187 Spring Street, Telephone: (212) 219-0521 or Morell & Company (Brut is approximately $350, Rose $550, Blanc de Blanc $550)