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Enjoying the Ace: Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs Assemblage Quantity 4

Enjoying the Ace: Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs Assemblage Quantity 4

New York served as the backdrop to the recent launch of Armand de Brignac’s ultra-prestigious new champagne cuvée, Blanc de Noirs Assemblage Number Four.
Prestige jets in for a first taste.

In a world where quiet luxury seems to have taken hold, an Armand de Brignac champagne occupies the opposite end of the continuum with its loud, fully gold-plated bottle and French pewter Ace of Spades label that gave the wine its nickname. For many in the know, it’s Jay-Z’s champagne: the hip-hop mogul has been involved with the brand since 2006, when he bought a 50 percent stake and rapped about it in his single “Show Me What You Got”. The first-ever bottles appeared in his music video, flashy in gold and pewter, which instantly brought the Ace of Spades brand to the world’s attention. In 2014 he upped his stake to 100 percent before LVMH came along two years ago and took 50 percent.

Armand de Brignac champagne launch in New York
Armand de Brignac champagne launch in New York

Given its connections with hip-hop it’s not so surprising that, rather than arriving in the Champagne region for the launch of the brand’s newest assemblage, I find myself perched on the highest floor of New York’s Central Park Tower overlooking the sunset, the vast park and the Hudson River glinting to the side, as I take my first sip of the flagship Armand de Brignac Brut Gold. Crisp and vivacious, the wine is fruit-forward and has a lot of citrus on the nose – we’re off to a perfect start. Armand de Brignac champagnes are produced by the esteemed Cattier family, now run by Alexandre Cattier, with an extremely small team on their family estate in Chigny-les-Roses, using only the oldest traditions of champagne blending: only the top lots and only the first press – a true labour of love. 

Later in the evening, over a tasting menu of delicious scallops and short ribs, we get to the main event, the launch of the Blanc de Noirs Assemblage Number Four. In a room full of wine critics and experts, the new cuvée is garnering lots of excitement – it’s the first time Armand de Brignac is releasing a wine after seven years of lees ageing, as well as the first time grapes from Ville-sur-Arce in the Aube region are used. Champagnes typically age on the lees from 12 to 36 months, but seven years is rare. We clink our glasses. A blend of three vintages from 2013 to 2015, the wine is a rich and intense expression of pinot noir. There’s something deliciously toasty about the wine, almost like freshly baked sourdough. On the nose, there’s a lot of bright red fruit – strawberries and cherries – before the notes of plums and meaty figs come through in the mid palate. The finish, with hints of honey, is excellent.

Blanc de Noirs Assemblage Number Four
Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs Assemblage Number Four

Only 7,328 bottles of Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs Assemblage Number Four are available worldwide, and each bottle is numbered in addition to having its disgorgement date – April 20, 2023 – etched into the hand-finished French pewter label, a sign of its ultra-exclusivity and rarity.

We also taste other cuvées in the Armand de Brignac portfolio. Although I’m by no means a wine connoisseur, I’m starting to enjoy bantering back and forth about what I’m tasting and what it means. We move on to the Blanc de Blancs, which is 100 percent chardonnay with excellent minerality, where we get hints of white florals, green apples and a dash of ginger. When we get to the Demi-Sec, I’m told this is quite a gourmet’s wine. We have it paired with a panna cotta and grilled pineapple dessert, but even though it’s a sweetish wine, it’s still beautifully balanced, and around the room, guests started discussing other dishes they’d imagine having this with – anything from decadent foie gras to pungent Sichuanese.

The exclusive occasion also marks the launch of La Collection, an 820-piece limited-edition boxed set of Armand de Brignac’s six cuvées, including the Gold Brut, Golf, Rose, Demi-Sec, Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noirs, presented in a uniquely numbered lacquer gift box.

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Armand de Brignac is a luxurious wine, fit for kings, and with a price to match. It’s a 21st-century wine with a truly modern story behind the bottle, but beyond the buzz and notoriety, if you will, is a truly unique and rare champagne with a whole lot of character, tradition and exclusivity.

Behind the shiny bottle, the wine shines. 

Source: Prestige Online

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