First a little about the champagne itself and secondly some important comments on its recent status as the world’s number one.
This great champagne uses only the first pressing of harvested grapes and is thus classified as a ‘Prestige Cuvee’. A prestige cuvee contains only the richest wine from each harvest, enabling the champagne to become much more complex and delicate as it ages. Armand de Brignac owes its light, racy effervescence to the quality of its chardonnay grapes, these grapes come only from villages rated Grand Cru and Premier Cru. The berry driven pinot noir adds strength and boldness and is responsible for the depth of the Armand de Brignac palate and Pinot Meunier brings to the champagne roundness, nuance and fruitiness to the bouquet and taste.
After the grapes are pressed, the Chateau’s oenologues Jean-Jacques and Alexander Cattier create the signature cuvee blend that embodies the quality and uncompromised individuality of Amand de Brignac. A percentage of the finest harvests stored from prior years is added to the newly harvested juice to ensure consistency between bottlings. This blending of top vintages preserves the Chateau’s character and brings the vivacity and excellence of the champagne art to the front.
When the champagne has been bottled and sealed the bottles are stored over 30 metres underground in cellars considered among the deepest in Champagne, these cellars maintain a constant cool temperature conducive to the slow natural aging process that enhances the classical character of Armand de Brignac. The remuage and degorgement process is again traditional, every operation is done by hand with no use of mechanized riddling devices—-uncompromised quality can only be guaranteed by time-honored techniques
Following remuage and degorgement, the blend of wine ia augmented with a special liqueur de dosage, a liqueur made from a secret formula passed down through the family. The liqueur is created from fine cane sugar and a blend of the very best still wines from prior harvests and is aged in oaken casks, which impart subtle accents to the champagne. This step is especially important in maintaining the unique nature of Armand de Brignac, as no other wine in the world includes the same combination of meticulously selected wine vintages from the Chateau’s private terroir. The end result of this long drawn out process is a cuvee of great distinction, a singular example of French Champagne Tradition.
This marvellously complex and full bodied champagne has a bouquet that is both fresh and lively, with light floral notes. On the palate Armand de Brignac has a sumptuous, racy fruit character that is perfectly integrated with the wine’s subtle brioche accents. The champagne’s texture is deliciously creamy, pairing rich depth with a long silky finish.
Yes the world’s number one—-2009 saw the world’s most respected wine critics and sommeliers conduct a rigorous blind tasting of more than 1000 brands of champagne. The results were published in ‘Fine Champagne Magazine’, the only international publication devoted to champagne and an authority on the industry.
Each champagne was rated on a 100 point scale. The process was so strict that, if judges’ scores were more than four points apart, the champagne would be re-tested and re-assessed. When the final results were presented, Armand de Brignac was ranked number one among the world’s best champagnes.
THE WORLD’S BEST CHAMPAGNES
1. 96 points—Armand de Brignac Brut Gold
2. 95 points—2000 Dom Perignon
3. 94 points—1998 Mumm R. Lalou
4. 94 points—2002 Roederer Cristal
5. 94 points—2000 Egerier de Pannier
6. 94 points—1998 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill
7. 93 points—1998 Dom Perignon Rose
8. 93 points—1999 Jacquart Blanc de Blancs
9. 93 points—2002 Roederer Cristal Rose
10. 93 points—Chartogne-Taillet Fiacre
The world is now aware of Armand de Brignac