All special occasions call for a champagne toast, and what better an affair to clink glasses at than the debut of not one, but two new bottles of Armand de Brignac bubbly? On Thursday, Oct. 9, an intimate gathering of brand ambassadors and elite Miami media were among the second group in the U.S. to taste two new releases from the iconic “Ace of Spades” brand of metallic bottled bliss.
The fête kicked off at 7 p.m., where select tastemakers gathered in the Modern Garden of Seaspice to honor the two new Armand de Brignac cuvees. Learning of the 250-year-old champagne house’s Cattier family roots and terrain, guests sipped Brut Gold while sampling grilled octopus bites and goat cheese croquettes. It was then Chief Marketing Officer Bernadette Knight shared news of the exclusive new releases slated for the evening tasting – the Blanc de Noir and the Demi Sec. Of the former, Knight shared that just one bottle of the new assemblage would pop for the sampling, as the remainder was still stuck in U.S. Customs (scheduled to arrive before October’s end).
The Modern Garden, lounge featuring organic décor in light earth tones, hosts a magnificent wooden sculptural tree installation dripping with teardrop bulbs from visionary Santiago Jose Palaez. Accented with dozens of radiant, fuchsia Phalaenopsis orchids and matching backlighting from the bar, the minimal design provided a serene, yet sleek feel, ideal for the dinner showcase.
Chef Benjamin Goldman worked to create an impeccable, three-course menu to pair with different featured sparkling sips. To start, an elegant hamachi crudo kissed with grapefruit and habanero vinaigrette, and topped with a hint of fried garlic and fresh shisho herbs, was complemented by a glass of the Blanc de Blanc, with its refreshing lightness that never overpowered the dish’s balanced cacophony of flavors. Following, an entrée of yellowtail snapper with fresh herbs was perfectly moist and flaky, enhanced by a rich beurre noisette butter bath and a squeeze of aged Meyer lemon. The delicate fish was joined by a poised Rosé (composed of 50 percent pinot noir and 40 percent pinot meunier with a finish of chardonnay).
Following the main course was the star tasting duo. First, came the presentation of the 6-year-aged, 100 percent pinot noir Blanc de Noir, housed in a gun metal-hued, metalized bottle, of which only 3,000 were produced. One swirl, sniff, sip, swish and swallow of the $800 per bottle “crown jewel” revealed hints of earthy almond and rich oak; a refined, yet subtle mouth. “It’s more art than science,” Knight remarked of the process, from blending to bottling.
A sweet finale to the evening’s festivities, the Demi Sec was then dispensed among the table, alongside Goldman’s decadent dessert. A sip of the $360 champagne, alone, revealed a bevy of fruit notes, never overpowered by sweetness, thanks to its lower dosage of sugar. Verona white chocolate mousse with strawberry and raspberry accents and an almond tuile crunch proved the versatility of the wine, which was pleasantly enjoyed both with and without its indulgent accompaniment.