A Champagne that’s been blinged up to the max

Matthew Jukes breaks with tradition to feature a wine he doesn't truly love. In fact, he finds it quite ridiculous.


NV Armand de Brignac, aka Ace of Spades, Demi-Sec, Champagne, France (£360, HarveyNichols.com).

This is the first wine I have featured on this page, in the ten years I have been writing this column, that I don't actually love. This might sound odd, but I have broken a rule of a lifetime to bring to your attention a truly arresting, terrifyingly expensive, off-dry Champagne which is genuinely worthy of comment.

Armand de Brignac is a range of prestige cuve Champagnes that are made by the 11th generation Cattier family. Each bottle is finished, by hand, with eye-catching (gob-smackingly garish) polished French pewter labels. These luxuriously appointed bottles are then tucked into lacquered boxes, which are blinged-up to the max! Knownas Ace of Spades, because of its logo, Armand de Brignac was acquired by US rapper Shawn "Jay Z" Carter in November 2014 and I am led to believe these wines are consumed in great quantities by celebs.

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I opened a sample bottle for four wine experts and a random friend who just happened to be passing. Our anonymous friend loved the flavour akin to a mildly spirity, vinous, Red Bull. The wine pros couldn't move on quick enough, but it certainly makes an impact on the palate! But the attention from everyone who passed our table was astounding, with people taking photos and cooing over the insanely over-specced packaging.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).

Matthew Jukes

Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.  

Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.

He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website, www.matthewjukes.com.

Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’.  He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner. 

Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy.  His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.