Armand de Brignac’s latest offering at Harrods hits top notes
Article by Rupert Watkins
Owned by the Cattier family since 1763, the small house of Armand de Brignac look to create the finest of all luxury champagnes. The house only moved into champagne production at the end of the Great War and today it remains a small 33 hectare estate in the village of Chigny-les-Roses near Rheims.
Their latest offering is the Blanc de Noirs. Like all house cuvees, it is a blend of three distinct vintages – the 2006, 07 and 08. The house uses a Coquart press to slowly – over four hours – extract the first flush premier cru. The bottles are aged in some of the deepest cellars in the champagne region at almost 100 feet underground. This Blanc de Noirs is aged for a little longer than earlier de Brignac editions. On the nose it is slightly sweet with apricot to the fore. The taste is nutty, a slight mineral edge with gooseberries prevalent with hints of pear and mint. It is supremely balanced and very light on the palette.
The team producing this delicious champers is very small. Under family head Jean-Jacques Cattier and his son Alexandre, the overall team is still shy of 20. Having invested much of the past two decades on organic and environmental care, the house has the highest High Environmental Value (HVE) certification. Indeed in order the ensure that soils on parts of the estate are not compacted too severely by tractors in wet weather, De Brignac use a horse – Nemo – to cart vine equipment and the grapes.
Armand de Brignac’s latest cuvee is being stocked exclusively by Harrods and only 40 cases have been allocated for the UK. Needless to say, the department store is seeing a lot of interest. A number of cases are being reserved for 3 star Michelin establishments and Jean-Jacques and Alexandre hope to see it paired more with food away from the nightclub scene – potentially it would sit exceedingly well with fish and lighter game.
The house has long been seen as a luxury one – it has been a long favourite of Jay Z and others in the rap world. Should you be able to find the £695 per bottle it might well be worth a once in a lifetime slice of the high life.