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Inside Knowledge: Armand de Brignac

The Family Behind Armand de Brignac 'Ace of Spades' Champagne

In Short:
A close look at the people who made one of the world's most iconic Champagnes.

The Cattier family’s wine journey began as far back as 1625 when vineyard plantings first began. It was the harsh conditions of the First World War that changed the direction of the estate forever. Wounded war veteran Jean Cattier returned home to Chigny-les-Roses, and found himself unable to sell his (poor) 1916 harvest. He decided to turn the grapes into wine and produce his own Champagne, which was first released at the end of the war in 1918.

The estate went on to purchase a walled vineyard, or ‘clos,’ which only a handful of Champagne houses (notably Krug) can boast, given their rarity in the region. The release of the first vintage in 1956 was a pioneering moment in Champagne history, being one of the first ever single-vineyard, or clos, Champagnes.

2006 brought further recognition to the house with the creation of the prestigious ‘Armand de Brignac’ Champagne, which is otherwise known as ‘Ace of Spades’ Champagne due to its logo. Initial buzz surrounding the luxury brand began in the music industry thanks to interest from hip hop star Jay-Z. The range has gained many accolades since its debut.

Today, the 13th generation of Cattiers uphold the traditions and excellence that they inherited from all generations that have come before.

The estate is surrounded by Premier and Grand Cru vineyards in the heart of Montagne de Reims. Pinot Noir dominates here, producing crisp and aromatic wines. Cattier also places special emphasis on Pinot Meunier, using a high proportion in all cuvées to create more fruit-forward styles.

The utmost care and precision is upheld during every step of the winemaking process. All plots and grape varieties are vinified separately to allow for meticulous and consistent blending. Rules of the region dictate that maturation of each bottle lasts a minimum of 15 months. The Premier Cru Brut and Premier Cru Rosé spend at least four years down in Cattier’s cellars – some of which are amongst the deepest and oldest in Champagne – allowing wines to develop gracefully and undisturbed at a constant temperature.

The results are unmissable.