Champagne Armand de Brignac
“Who can save the universe?”
exclaimed Queen of the Galaxy Jane Fonda in Roger Vadim’s 1968 science fiction classic “Barbarella”.
Well since champagne is the world’s best known weapon of mass seduction, maybe a new 21st century prestige cuvee champagne, originally developed for a twentieth century fashion icon, really can.
Affectionately known as the “godfather” of the mini-skirt and inventor of the “moon girl” look, back in the 1960s fashion futurist Andre Courreges sparked a revolution with his bold and distinct designs, spiked with sci-fi touches. Courreges was also the man responsible for putting women in trousers:
“It wasn’t me who was ahead of my time, it was my time that was behind me.”
Courreges commented in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1991.
Fast forward to 2006 and the launch of Courrege’s bespoke champagne, resplendent in its all black velvet lined lacquer box, the metallic gold bottle, hand finished with raised pewter labels, is simply stunning to behold.
“…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,” wrote Fine Champagne Magazine in 2010, when at a blind tasting which included Cristal, Krug and Dom Perignon, Cattier’s Armand De Brignac was voted No1 champagne in the World.
Named for a minor character in one of Mme Cattier’s favourite 1950s novels, Cuvee Armand De Brignac is in fact a joint venture between Champagne Cattier and American company Sovereign Brands, modelled on one of Champagne’s best kept secrets, Cattier’s other prestige cuvee called “Clos du Moulin”.
Originally owned by an officer in Louis XV’s army, the famous “Clos du Moulin” was purchased by the Cattier family in 1951, Its 2.2 hectares of vines produce amazing wines which combine both creamy aromas and mineral freshness, with delicious velvet smooth bubbles that dance on the palate (“Clos Du Moulin” makes just 10,000 bottles of each cuvee, based on three vintages).
The Cattier family have been grape growers on the Montagne de Reims since 1763, supplying grapes to the major houses, but began making their own champagnes in the 1920s. Little by little they have established themselves as a respected independent Champagne House, with 55% of production exported overseas.
Cattier family patriarch Jean-Jacques and his son, Alexandre, hand produce champagne Armand de Brignac from grape to glass, using traditional artisanal methods, with a team of just eight people. The wine is then aged in a gated section of Cattier’s extra deep cellars, and each cuvée includes a unique liqueur de dosage which has been aged nine months in oak casks. This time-honoured tradition ensures that every single bottle of Cuvee Armand de Brignac is not also incredibly rich, powerful and long-lived, but just as importantly, also immediately approachable upon release. Made from 40%chardonnay/40%pinot noir and 20% pinot meunier, this boutique production of only 55,000 bottles is a multi-vintage style aged on lees for a minimum of 5 years before release. I found this exotic champagne to be bold and peachy with a touch of spice – reminiscent of Krug but softer and sweeter on the palate.
In 2008 Armand de Brignac released its first blanc de blancs and rose cuvees. The even rarer “Clos Yons” cuvee will follow in 2012.
MEET THE TEAM BEHIND CHAMPAGNE ARMAND DE BRIGNAC