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    Jay-Z’s Champagne maker is planning an even more exclusive brand
    • October 12, 2023

    Tara Patel | Bloomberg News (TNS)

    The small French winemaker behind Jay-Z’s Champagne is laying the groundwork for the launch of another luxury brand, aiming to replicate the success of the rapper’s Armand de Brignac “Ace of Spades.”

    Family-owned Maison Cattier has stored bottles to age in its cellars of what will be called Champagne de Lossy, according to Alexandre Cattier, the 13th-generation head of the firm that traces its roots back to 1625. Sales are still at least a couple of years away, he said.

    Yet even at this early stage, promotion of the high-end label is gearing up. A bottle was featured inside a custom-built Rolls-Royce Droptail that costs upwards of $30 million and was unveiled in August in Carmel, California. Champagne de Lossy now also has a website and an Instagram page.

    “The brand will be even more exclusive than Armand de Brignac,” Cattier said in a telephone interview. “Sales will be more targeted.”

    He declined to provide details about the identity of his business partner in the endeavor, saying only that the owner of the Rolls-Royce wanted a Champagne brand to match the car’s dark red finish. Photos show an opaque red bottle with a black and silver label.

    Cattier’s plans for Champagne de Lossy are part of a trend for higher-end labels in the French region, with an increasing number backed by celebrities. In addition to Jay-Z’s Armand de Brignac, Brad Pitt has the Fleur de Miraval rose and Leonardo DiCaprio backs Champagne Telmont. Actor Morgan Freeman is promoting Laurent-Perrier’s Grand-Siecle cuvee, while former NBA star Tony Parker reportedly invested in Champagne Jeeper.

    Cattier will be competing in a more crowded market than in 2006 when it introduced the Armand de Brignac brand. First sold in opaque gold bottles and nicknamed the “Ace of Spades” for the shape of the label, it was promoted by Jay-Z, who had started boycotting another brand called Cristal.

    The rapper eventually acquired the Armand de Brignac brand, although Cattier still makes the Champagne inside the bottles. In 2021 Jay-Z sold a 50% stake to luxury juggernaut LVMH. The Brut Gold version is listed by online distributors at around $400 a bottle.

    The region east of Paris where Champagne is produced has about 370 maisons and 16,200 grape growers. LVMH is the biggest producer, owning such brands as Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon, Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot.

    Cattier, a minnow compared with LVMH in terms of production, is based in the village of Chigny-les-Roses. That’s about a mile away from a grand manor called Chateau de Rilly, the contours of which are featured on the “de Lossy” label.

    The links between the brand, the chateau and the family date back around half a century, Cattier said.

    In the 1970s, his grandfather bought buildings in the village of Rilly near the chateau and where Champagne de Lossy was originally produced. While the brand was passed on to another producer at the time, it hasn’t been used for at least a decade. Cattier has now acquired it for a revival, he said.

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