‘Bolly’ for Bond . . . James Bond, That Is
I always wanted to be a Bond Girl, but alas I am a wine nerd. I have seen every James Bond movie at least a dozen times each. When Encore channel airs its James Bond marathon, I’m glued to the TV. According to www. bigshinyrobot.com, fellow Bond fans and myself can join its challenge to watch “every single James Bond movie in 30 days” before the next franchise installment, “Skyfall” opens in theaters Nov. 9.
So what is the result of being a wine nerd and a movie lover? Not only do I notice characters drinking wine, but I notice what wine and what glass they use. I have even paused movies on DVDs to study this, pressing my nose to screen to make out wine labels. I take note of all the wines James Bond drinks. I told you I was a wine nerd.
This month, with the 50th anniversary of the release of the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” I thought it would be appropriate to revisit his favorite wine—champagne—to celebrate.
Tattinger Comtes de Champagne In the novel, “Casino Royale,” Bond drinks Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs ’43. The Tattinger house flavor profile is that of toasted notes. Comtes is always a vintage champagne, i.e., only made in years when the wine is truly exceptional and warrants having the year noted. The Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is composed of 100% Chardonnay, and Comtes de Champagne Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. According to Tattinger’s website, a small amount of the wine is aged in new oak barrels giving the wines toasted aromas and flavors. This champagne is aged for 10 years before being released for sale.
Dom Pérignon When “Dr. No” premiered in 1977, Dom Perignon starred as Bond’s “champs” of choice. Dom Pérignon is a brand that is well known around the world and might be becoming ubiquitous, no doubt with the help of the Bond series. In “Goldfinger” and “The Spy Who Loved Me,” Dom Pérignon appears. However, to us viewers, figuring out the vintages and flavor style of Dom Pérignon can be intimidating. The house makes a vintage brut Champagne every year, unless the house decides a particular year not to. See? Simple. But all you have to know is that one vintage can be dramatically different from the other and its popularity comes from its consistent quality, rareness and boldness, no matter the year. Since the beginning of production, almost 90 years ago, Dom Pérignon has only been released a third of that time over the period. Bottles aged for seven years bare a green label. Those wines aged longer have a black label.
Bollinger Bollinger aka “Bolly” if you are British, can be found in “Moonraker” (1979). In the first ever Bond film, as 007 tries to escape, he grabs a bottle of Dom Pérignon to hit a guard. “That’s a Dom Pérignon ’55 – it would be a pity to break it,” says Dr. No. “I prefer the ’53 myself,” responds Bond. ￼In "The Living Daylights" Bond partakes in BOLLINGER R.D. ’69 champagne. R.D. stands for “recent disgorgement.” This means recently bottled but not recently aged. Bollinger is only released on demand, so the consistency can vary widely in R.D. But that is what makes drinking R.D. exciting. You don’t know what you’ll get from bottle to bottle, and it’s probably why Bond drinks it.
Bond can also be seen drinking Bollinger Grand Année. This champagne is also one of the house's “prestige” champagnes, i.e., most expensive and of the highest quality of this Champagne house. Bollinger uses exclusively Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. So, the house style of this champagne is yeasty/bready aromas with citrus and nutty flavors.
In “Casino Royale,” Daniel Craig as James Bond orders Bollinger La Grande Année from room service. Grand Année is champagne that is only made by Bollinger in exceptional years when the grape harvest is of an outstanding caliber. The recent vintage, 2003, has received high ratings (but then again, Grand Année always does). Grande Année is made Golden (white) or Rose. Bollinger’s non-vintage, entry level, champagne is called “Special Cuvee.”
With several Bond-approved champagnes to choose from this list, why not forget the martini “shaken, not stirred” and pop open one of these to celebrate the return of Bond next month and 50 years properly? I will be. Cheers!