Is your life feeling a little empty? Do you wish you too had the lifestyle of Beyoncé and Jay-Z? Well that’s not possible, but you could buy a little piece of their lifestyle by seeking out a golden-hued bottle of Armand de Brignac ‘Ace of Spades’ Champagne for a mere €295 from CelticWhiskeyShop.com.
Of course if you want it in a box it will cost you an extra €30 (€325), and if you have a lot of friends you need the 30 litre ‘Midas’ edition for around €70,000.
If you prefer fashionable Rosé Champagne there is an Ace of Spades Rosé for €450 but personally I think you should instead opt for Dom Pérignon Lady Gaga Limited Edition Rosé 2006 – exclusive to Brown Thomas at €380. A bonus is that it comes in a beautiful bottle, as does the limited edition Dom Pérignon X Lady Gaga 2010 (€210) – one of the best of DP’s recent vintages.
The other Rosé Champagne you should know about is Brad and Angelina’s ‘Fleur de Miraval’ at €399 (available from TheCorkscrew.ie) – they may not be together but their brand lives on in liquid form.
Celebrity endorsement has been around as long as celebrity for the simple reason that it works – it shifts units. One of the earliest was Queen Charlotte endorsing Josiah Wedgewood’s ‘Queen’s Ware’ pottery in 1767 – who wouldn’t want to drink their tea out of the same cups as the queen?
Celebrity alcohol brands are a more recent phenomenon and there are now far too many to mention so please don’t be upset if I forget to mention your favourite celebrity. There is an old saying that ‘to make a small fortune in wine, you need to start with a very large one’ and celebrities are thus perfectly positioned to develop a wine hobby, particularly as they like to live in sunny climates where grapes grow.
The first modern wine with a celebrity connection that I can trace is Inglenook Estate which was purchased by film Director Francis Ford Coppola with the profits from his film The Godfather in 1975.
Inglenook had always been considered a fine estate but Coppola’s timing was fortuitous as just one year later in 1976 Californian wines were given a massive boost by their success in the ‘Judgement of Paris’ tasting where Californian wines triumphed over many of France’s most famous wines.
Coppola has put in the work (and money) however, and his ownership of the estate is purely incidental as the wines stand on their own merit.
Coppola grew up in a wine loving household so a winery makes perfect sense but other celebrities have come to winemaking by accident. You might remember Cliff Richard blind tasting his own wine on Channel 4’s ‘The F Word’ and calling it ‘insipid’. To be fair to Sir Cliff, he tasted it against a rich £400 Bordeaux – few wines would have passed that test.
Sir Cliff had bought his Algarve estate mainly for its sunny location and only then decided to revive the vineyard. His winemaker David Baverstock already had an excellent reputation for his Alentejo wines just a few miles to the north and Sir Cliff’s ‘Vida Nova’ wines have been credited with helping revive the wines of the Algarve.
Rosé all the way Rosé sales have been on an upward trajectory for over a decade now and a small bit of the credit has to go to Brad and Angelina who bought their 400-hectare Château Miraval estate in Provence in the mid-2000’s.
The Pitt-Jolie’s were smart and brought in winemaker Marc Perrin who is a bit of a celebrity himself (in the wine world – his family estate is Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). A nicely designed bottle, a classic floral, fruity Provençal Rosé and a little bit of celebrity fairy dust from the owners, and the wine was an immediate hit – it has even featured on the wine page of this newspaper and retails at €30.
Some other celebrities with Rosé include Sarah Jessica Parker, Kylie Minogue, John Legend, Post Malone, Graham Norton, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Jon Bon Jovi, Ian Botham, Sting, and John Malkovich.
Most of these are simple link-ups with existing producers brokered by consultants with the celebrities having minimal input, however Sting and John Malkovich own the estates where their wine is made. Sting and his wife Trudie Styler’s Tuscan estate wines are widely available especially their flagship wine ‘Time to Dance’ – the range is solid if perhaps a little unexciting.
John Malkovich’s wines are imported by Grape Circus and Sheridans Cheesemongers and are from his organic estate in Vaucluse on the Côte d’Azur. Malkovich and his partner Nicole Peyran planted vines on their estate in 2008 and they are bottled under the Les Quelles de la Coste brand. The wines are good and there is even an intriguing Cabernet Sauvignon-Pinot Noir blend (60-40).
So love of wine, love of money, and diversifying your brand are some of the reasons for Celebrity wines but revenge was said to be Jay Z’s motivation. The story goes that he bought a controlling interest in Armand de Brignac Champagne shortly after the owner of Cristal Champagne implied that he did not entirely approve of his Champagne’s huge popularity with rappers.
In the video for his song ‘Show Me What You Got’ Jay Z is shown rejecting a bottle of Cristal from a waiter, but later accepting a bottle of Ace of Spades – a short while later his purchase of the brand was made public.
In 2021 Jay Z sold a 50% stake to Möet Hennessy, and thankfully he leaves the winemaking to Cattier who are one of the oldest Champagne Houses founded in 1763, the original creator of the brand. I confess I’ve not tasted Ace of Spades but it is from top-notch vineyards, aged properly and has received good reviews from wine critics – however almost all question the extravagant pricing.
Speaking of questionable pricing Cameron Diaz has not received good reviews (from the public or the wine critics) for her pre