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News

Champagne Armand de Brignac Awarded number #1 Blanc de Noirs in the World for 2016 

In blind tasting of 250 cuvées for FINE Champagne Magazine’s and Tastingbook.com’s 2016 Annual Champagne Rankings

 

Champagne Armand de Brignac was announced as the number one Blanc de Noirs champagne in the world, following a blind tasting of 250 cuvées submitted as part of the 2016 annual rankings by FINE Champagne Magazine and Tastingbook.com. The Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs is a 100% Pinot Noir prestige cuvée and less than 3,000 bottles of the first assemblage were created. It is the first new release champagne expression from the brand since it was acquired by Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter in November 2014.

 

The Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs is crafted from 100% Pinot Noir fruit, from some of the best black-grape producing villages in Champagne. A winemaking signature of Armand de Brignac is extreme selectivity in juice extraction, with the winemakers taking solely the first and freshest portion of the gentle cuvée grape press. This no-compromise approach to producing the most exceptional quality, resulted in a release of less than 3,000 bottles. The inaugural assemblage (A1) is a trio of vintages, 2006, 2008 and 2009, which rested in the chalk cellars in France for more than six years, before its release last November. The champagnes are crafted by the Cattier family, 11th generation Champagne growers, who have held family-owned vineyards in the region for more than 250 years.

 

FINE Champagne Magazine, the only international publication devoted to champagne, have annually assessed the vast offering on the international markets since 2010 producing the ranking of ‘100 Best Champagnes’. On the debut year, Armand de Brignac Brut Gold was celebrated as the best champagne of the year. This year, FINE Champagne organized the ranking in association with the world’s largest wine information source, Tastingbook.com.

 

Blanc de Noirs are a rare but exciting, up-and-coming champagne category and we were delighted to see Armand de Brignac’s brand new release excel in our tasting. After all, FINE Champagne’s ranking is all about picking the best wines on the market for the consumer, celebrating champagne’s different styles” said Essi Avellan MW, the Editor of FINE Champagne Magazine.

 

Juha Lihtonen, co-founder of Tastingbook.com, comments that “Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs charms with its refined, round and opulent nature. It possesses all necessary characteristics of a great Blanc de Noirs. Thanks to these qualities, it stood out in its category.”

 

Champagne Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs is available at select fine wine stores in key cities of the world at USD $850. 

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History

Champagne Armand de Brignac is a range of prestige cuvées that offer uncompromising quality and taste, crafted by 11th generation champagne growers, the Cattier family. Drawing upon more than 250 years of experience in the region, the father and son winemaking team dedicate intense attention to detail in the creation of the Armand de Brignac champagnes. 

 

They source fruit from the vineyards showing the highest quality of the harvest, taking solely the first and freshest portion of the cuvée press and blending a unique trio of vintages for each assemblage. Each metalized bottle is finished by hand, with the application of French pewter labels, polished, and housed in a wooden lacquered gift box, ensuring every single bottle is unique. A small and highly skilled team of just 14 people touch a bottle of Armand de Brignac, from pressing the fruit to the bottle’s departure from the cellars in France.

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Vineyards

In keeping with Champagne’s reputation as a celebratory wine, harvest is a joyous time in the vineyards.

This is the time when the grapes are finally ready for their transformation into wine. One might even say that some of the harvest revelry is imparted through the 250 million bubbles in each bottle of Armand de Brignac.

The harvest generally takes place during two weeks in September, although weather sometimes dictates a change of dates. By law, all Champagne grapes must be picked by hand; for these two weeks the vineyards are filled with workers, including the members of our family, who join the house staff in the fields. At the harvest celebration, all take time to enjoy the chateau’s reserve wines, paired alongside traditional country meals. These traditions date back centuries, when our vineyards were owned and tended by King Louis XV’s officers and royalty savored the best wines made by each chateau.

Although many of Champagne’s producers now use industrial-grade, high volume presses, we employ a traditional Coquart press for Armand de Brignac. This ensures a slow and high-quality yield is extracted from our carefully hand-sorted grapes; each bottle is made from a small fraction of the first pressing of the grapes. To earn its classification as a prestige cuvée, Armand de Brignac is made from the most exquisite, richest wine from each harvest. This enables the Champagne to become more complex and subtle as it ages.

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Winemaking

The three grape varieties permitted for inclusion in genuine Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.

Armand de Brignac cuvées derive their light, racy effervescence from the quality of our Chardonnay grapes, while Pinot Noir lends strength, boldness, and depth of palate. Finally, Pinot Meunier adds roundness, nuance, and fruitiness to the cuvées of our range.

 

Blending & Ageing

After the grapes are pressed, our chateau’s father-and-son oenologues create the signature blends that embody the quality and uncompromised individuality of Armand de Brignac.

For each bottling, three distinct vintages from outstanding harvest years are blended together to comprise the final cuvée. The art of blending Champagne varietals and vintages is the most important part of the craft, and allows our winemakers to preserve the house’s character from year to year.

When our master oenologues have achieved the perfect formula, Armand de Brignac is bottled by one craftsman using a traditional device. Although this painstaking process limits our output, it enables our expert artisans to ensure that each bottle of Armand de Brignac meets the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship.

After our Champagne has been bottled and sealed, the bottles are stored in a special gated section of the cellars designated for its ideal conditions for ageing these blends. Descending more than 119 steps (over 30 meters) underground, the cellars are considered among the deepest in Champagne and maintain a constant cool temperature conducive to the slow, natural ageing process necessary to create the extraordinary and subtle character of Armand de Brignac.

 

Dosage

Following the dégorgement, a specialliqueur de dosage is added to the Armand de Brignac blend, made from a closely-guarded family formula.

Created from a blend of the very best still wines from prior harvests and aged for a full year in oaken casks from Burgundy and Champagne, the dosage imparts subtle nuances to the Champagne – as our winemaker puts it, “a touch of soul.” This step is especially important in maintaining the unique character of Armand de Brignac: no other wine in the world includes this same combination of meticulously-selected vintages from our private terroir – nor do any other Champagnes age their dosage – but not the main cuvée – in oak.

 

Finishing

As part of our finishing process, the bottles are corked and sealed only as quickly as our artisans can hand craft them.

The ornate, delicate Armand de Brignac bottles must be handled with care by hand due to the bottle’s special shape and plating. After the cork and metalmuselet are added, a black capsule stamped with the Armand de Brignac crest is secured. During the last stage of production, four pewter labels are applied to the bottle and polished by hand, making every bottle a unique and distinctive work of art. When two bottles are placed side by side, subtle differences can be seen in the fine details of the pewter and in the hue and texture of the beaten metal. One thing holds true for every bottle of Armand de Brignac – the buttery-soft, creamy, and complex Champagne within.

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6 different wines with 8 vintages

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Tuula Hällström, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Some higlights from yesterdays Champagne tasting: Dom Perignon 2009, Palmer 2009, Winston Churchill 2006 etc.

12d 12h ago

 Tuula Hällström, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  6 wines 

Long evening with friends and great Champagnes.

5m 15d ago

 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  10 wines 

Putting in mouth anything that is 290 years old, sounds suspicious. Enjoying it so much that you wish to have plenty more of it souns insane. I truly enjoyed that "sanity" with great friends, when we sahred the world's oldest known wine available – 1727 Apostelwein. What an insane night it was with so many great wines – Romanee-Conti 1923, Vega-Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial 1973/1975/1976, Petrus 1982, Ch. Margaux 1982, Harlan 1993, Grange 1998, and Ch Climens 1943 bottled for Nazis. Wow!!

7m 6d ago

 Robert Langer, Wine Collector (Germany)  tasted  3 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Some great bottles of champagnes with old red rarities.

8m 30d ago

 Antti Korpela, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  3 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Very rare and excellent Penfolds Bin 60 A 1962 - 97 points.

9m 5d ago

 Rajiv Kehr, Pro (India)  tasted  2 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  23 wines 

The second day of the 100-Tasting offered a lots of great Champagnes. My best were Krug 1998, Dom Pérignon P2 Rosé 1995, Cristal 1996, Krug Clos du Mesnil 1998 etc.

11m 20d ago

 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  3 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  58 wines 

“Astonishing tasting of the best champagne of the decade '90s. So great champagnes in perfect condition to be enjoyed today but which hold extremely well decades to come! It was a tight battle of the 1st place. On my rankings there were two winners - Dom Pérignon P2 1995 and Cristal 1996. Both were amazing 98 points champagnes! The biggest surprises were Besserat de Bellefon 1998 and once again Palmer&Co champagnes with their charming quality and consistency.”

1y 6d ago

 Tuula Hällström, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  13 wines 

“Some great wines with friends like Mouton 1900, Petrus 1952 and 1948, Cheval Blanc 1949 and 1952 etc.”

1y 21d ago

 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  10 wines 

“On last Friday evening we had some very good wines like Pétrus 1949, Cheval 1949, Mouton 1900 etc, but the real surprise was the Colgin Herb Lamb 1997 - 97 points.”

1y 26d ago

 Nora Löfving-Lihtonen, Pro (Finland)  tasted  5 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  5 wines 

“I was happy to visit the shiny cellars of Armand de Brignac – my long time favorite champagnes! ”

1y 1m ago

 Kaj Nahi, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  5 wines  from  Champagne Armand de Brignac . In a tasting of  29 wines 

“Fine Champagne Trip with producers like Roederer, Dom Pérignon, Armand de Brignac, Taittinger, Charles Heidsieck etc...best wines were Dom Perignon 2002 and Armand de Brignac Blanc de Noirs - both 99 points.”

1y 1m ago

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Château Margaux 2009, Château Margaux
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Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Elderton Wines
MCIII NV (10's), Moët & Chandon
Number 7 2013, Kracher