photography by Elizabeth Lavin
The distinguished world of high-end Champagne seldom sees feuds worthy of coverage on BET. But after an exec with Louis Roederer, maker of the oft-referenced Cristal brand, made comments in 2006 that angered hip-hop impresario Jay-Z, the rapper went on an embargo of Cristal Champagne, once a staple of the hip-hop elite. Luckily for thirsty video extras, Armand de Brignac (MTV fans may know it better as “Ace of Spades”) was all too happy to have the company’s blingtastic gold bottle showcased in such clips as Jay-Z’s “Roc Boys (And the Winner Is …)” and “Show Me What You Got.” The distinctive design of AB’s vessel stems from the 18th century, when the ace of spades symbol was incorporated into the French royal coat of arms. It also recalls a time when kings were anointed in the Montagne de Reims Terroir of Champagne.

Armand de Brignac Brut Gold is a blend containing 33 percent each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes, and is produced in a boutique vineyard that has been owned and cultivated by the Cattier family since 1763. It’s less sweet, bold (hello, brut), with a complex, fruity palate worthy of a toast in a hip-hop video or fizzing in a crystal flute aside a Wedgwood plate setting. And, regardless that Jay-Z is spurning “Cris” in favor of the Ace of Spades, chances are good that Champagne lovers, whatever their musical leanings, are going to become familiar with this rapper’s delight.

Available for $275 at Goody Goody Liquors, 3316 Oak Lawn Ave. 214-765-6878.