Cocktail of the Week

Drinking like Jay-Z with the Ace of Spades

Armand de Brignac is big-deal bubbly

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Don’t judge the bubbly by the bottle. Ace of Spades is more than high-dollar hype.
E.C. Gladstone

You’ve probably heard about Ace of Spades Champagne, Jay-Z’s bubbly of choice. Maybe you’ve even noticed it being served with gusto at Tao, where a flying “Bottle Fairy” delivers it personally (for an even $1,500—and don’t forget to tip!). But to prove it’s more than a bottle of hype, rep Lauren Fernstrom of Armand de Brignac (that’s the Champagne’s proper name) recently poured some for a select Vegas crowd.

And we’re not the only ones who’ve enjoyed a glass. In 2010, the blind tasters at Fine Champagne magazine scored Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV highest of all Champagnes—better than 2000 Dom Perignon, 2002 Roederer Cristal, even 1998 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill (a big deal in bubbly circles).

Produced by the Cattier family, the Brut Gold is made from the classic combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, blending several vintages for consistency. And every aspect of the process is done by hand (including attaching the four pewter “labels”).

Softly yeasty, round and floral, ADB Brut Gold certainly has more depth and a longer finish than your average Cristal or Dom (to this taster’s palate anyway), so even if it costs more, you’ll be tempted to take your time with it. Armand de Brignac also makes an all-Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs and sweeter Rosé. And for those wanting to trump Beyoncé’s boy, a select vineyard bottling Clos Yons will soon be available by request.

In the meantime, find the metallic bottles at Tao Group venues, XS, Chateau, Haze, Gallery … and for a slightly lesser markup at Carnevino, STK, Delmonico Steakhouse, Beso and Double Helix (which will gladly deliver it to your hotel room).

Tasting Notes:

Blanc de Blancs NV: Uncomplicated but not unsophisticated, this 100% Chardonnay cuvee has fast, fluffy bubbles and notes of citrus, nectarine, apricot and soft wood. Almost virginal.

Brut Gold NV: A vegetal, barely earthy nose opens up a remarkably dry experience of big bubbles buoying grapefruit, then Asian pear and a yeasty, creamy finish. Stays with you like a trusted friend.

Rosé: Made of the same grapes as Brut, but in different percentages (50% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay), this ruby-pink wine greets you with a strawberry, near-honeysuckle nose opening to floral, lemon, juicy cherry, green apple and pear notes over creamy bubbles and a woody finish. Might be the most satisfying experience of the three. And the bottle is pink.

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