Armand de Brignac
Armand de Brignac, colloquially "Ace of Spades" after the logo, is the name of a Champagne brand produced by Champagne Cattier, and sold in opaque metallic bottles. The brand's first bottling, Armand de Brignac Brut Gold, is identifiable by its gold bottle with pewter Ace of Spades labels. The brand was introduced in late 2006 by Sovereign Brands in partnership with Cattier. Since November 2014 the brand is owned by Jay-Z.
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. Like much Champagne, the Brut Gold cuvée is a blend of the grape varieties Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, making use of only Premier Cru and Grand Cru-rated grapes. Two other cuvées, a Rosé and a Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) were released in 2008.
The original "de Brignac" name was registered by the Cattier family in "the late 1940s or early 50s", according to Jean-Jacques Cattier. It was chosen at that time by his mother, who had been reading a novel featuring a character named de Brignac. The brand was dormant, with the name not being used for decades, but was revived for a new champagne in 2006, as the French industry group Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC) requires the use of an existing brand in order for a wine to be deemed "champagne".
The brand first gained worldwide visibility in the music video for the Jay-Z song "Show Me What You Got", which debuted in late October, 2006, and featured Jay-Z being presented with the distinctive gold bottle in a silver briefcase. Jay-Z had previously featured Cristal in his videos, but had recently started to boycott this brand. Two days after the release of the video, Cattier (trading as Armand de Brignac) issued a press release identifying themselves as the brand in question.
Armand de Brignac Brut Gold was reviewed in Wine & Spirits in November, 2008 and December, 2009. In February, 2009, Spanish critic José Peñín published his own review of the Champagne. In November 2009, Fine Champagne magazine published the results of a blind tasting of 100 champagne brands, with Armand de Brignac the top finisher.
In popular culture
Bottles of Armand de Brignac have appeared in several hip-hop music videos, sometimes referenced as "Ace of Spades" in song lyrics. An appearance in the Jay-Z music video of "Show Me What You Got" prior to the launch of the Armand de Brignac brand sparked wide discussion on sites covering hip-hop and popular culture, following his public fallout with the makers of Cristal. Since then, the brand has appeared in many other videos.
In June 2011 Mark Cuban spent $90,000 on a 15 liter bottle (10 magnum bottles) of Armand de Brignac in celebration of the Dallas Mavericks' NBA Championship. A week later, the Boston Bruins "one-upped" the Mavericks' celebration by purchasing a 30 liter bottle of Armand de Brignac - dubbed the "Midas" - for $100,000. At the time of the purchase, the Midas bottle was one of six bottles released to date worldwide. In late June 2011, an American gambler by the name of Don Johnson reportedly spent £120,000 on a bottle of Armand de Brignac Midas champagne at the One For One nightclub in London, to break the world record for the most expensive bottle of champagne ever bought. In total Johnson spent £170,000 ($271,000) on drinks in one night.  In 2013, Beyoncé made a reference to the brand in her song "Drunk In Love" from her self-titled album Beyoncé.
- Keller, Greg, The Wall Street Journal (November 8, 2006). French Bubbly Garners Hip-Hop Cred
- Sydney Ember, " Jay Z Acquires Luxury Champagne Brand Armand de Brignac", New York Times, November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
- "Is the champagne in the Jay-z video for real? It's complicated.", Bloomberg Businessweek, Brand New Day, Burt Helm, October 25, 2006
- Wine & Spirits reviews: Armand de Brignac
- PRWeb (September 24, 2009). Armand de Brignac Rated the World's #1 Champagne
- FINE Champagne Magazine (September 18, 2009). The Best Champagnes of the Year – a Golden Surprise!
- hiphopgame.com Armand de Brignac
- prohiphop.com ProHipHop Coverage of Armand de Brignac Champagne
- Weston, Nicole, Luxist.com (October 17, 2006). Armand De Brignac is the New Cristal
- Gary Dzen (June 19, 2011). "Bruins go to Foxwoods, drink from a $100,000 bottle of champagne". Boston.com. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "American gambler splashes the cash with £170k of alcohol at London nightclub… including world’s most expensive bottle of champagne". Dailymail.com. June 27, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2011.
- "Beyoncé Drunk In Love Lyrics". Rap Genius. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
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