By: Rick VanSickle
With Daniel Craig rocking the holiday season with the latest in the James Bond franchise, it’s timely that his sparkling wine of choice, Bollinger Champagne, plays a starring role right beside the actor.
In Spectre, Craig is back for another turn (his last) as Bond, the beloved 007 British superspy made famous by author Ian Fleming. And, yet again, in another brilliant round of product placement, Bond is shown popping the cork on his favourite Champagne from Bollinger, which has released a limited-edition 2009 vintage Spectre cuvée ($229, if you can find it), which happens to be the only vintage 2009 Champagne that Bollinger is releasing.
Now, if you really want to get the full 007 experience, Bollinger has partnered with crystal firm Saint-Louis to create the magnum-sized Spectre crystal ice bucket, a two-piece, 2-foot-tall, 30-pound, $9,500, extravagant monument to the spy’s impeccable style.
Bollinger and Bond have had one of the most enduring marketing partnerships in movie history. Bollinger is featured in almost every Bond movie since Live And Let Die.
The literary James Bond first encounters Bollinger in the book Diamonds Are Forever, when Tiffany Case sends a quarter-bottle to his cabin on the Queen Elizabeth.
Here’s a partial list of Bollinger Champagne appearances in the movies:
- Live and Let Die: James Bond (Roger Moore) orders Bollinger Champagne, slightly chilled, in his San Moniquan Hotel room.
- Moonraker: A bottle of champagne can be seen in a cooler with Bollinger written on it, in the Apollo Airways airplane that crashes in the pre-title sequence.
- Octopussy: Octopussy pours herself a glass of Bollinger Tradition R.D. when she meets Bond in her room (Bond has a vodka made from Martini vermouth and Smirnoff vodka, shaken).
- A View to a Kill: Bollinger 1975. Plenty of Bollinger Champagne flows at the party at Zorin’s horse castle, Château de Chantilly.
- The Living Daylights: Bollinger R.D. 1975. Bond (Timothy Dalton) gets a bottle of Bollinger at Harrods for General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) who exclaims delightedly: “Champagne Bollinger R.D. The best!”
- Licence to Kill: Bollinger R.D. 1979. Bond orders Bollinger RD when he arrives with Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) in his suite in the Hotel El Presidente in Isthmus City.
- Goldeneye: Bollinger La Grande Année 1988 — the bottle can be seen in the built-in cooler in Bond’s Aston Martin DB5.
- The World Is Not Enough: Bollinger La Grande Année 1990. Bond and Elektra share a bottle of Bollinger in Elektra’s palace room.
- Quantum of Solace: Bollinger La Grande Année 1999 — Bond and Agent Fields drink Bollinger in their room at the Andean Grand Hotel (we only see the cork of a Bollinger bottle next to the Eco Park Charity Fundraiser invitation).
Oh, if only we could all sip expensive Champagne while ridding the world of bad-ass spies with a Bond-girl forever at our side.
But, alas, there is only one man capable of that task, and his name is Bond, James Bond.
But do not despair, we can help with the sparkling side of things (the spy vs. spy game, and Bond girl, that’s your business) as you get prepared to welcome in the New Year with some pretty delicious bubbles that come not from France, the home of Champagne, but right here in Canada.
We’ll start with some B.C. bubbly and make our way east.
The first time I tasted a sparkling wine from Summerhill Pyramid Winery it was about eight years ago following a week of judging wines in the Okanagan Valley. It was the Cipes Arial 1998 and it blew me away. Never had I tasted an aged vintage sparkling wine like that from a Canadian wine producer.
It was simply gorgeous; complex, delicate, with warm baked bread, yeast, and soft citrus notes that stood as a powerful statement that said Canadian sparkling wines had arrived. I was lucky to try that same wine this past spring at the winery with Ezra Cipes during a visit to the Okanagan and was even more impressed after eight years of aging.
Summerhill is synonymous with sparkling wines, it is a huge part of its identity, right up there with its organic approach to growing grapes and the estate’s pyramid, where all the wines made at the estate spend at least 30 days to age.
Summerhill is Canada’s largest certified organic winery, B.C.’s first Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard, and Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine.
With Summerhill’s strong and deep sparkling wine program, it’s no surprise that the winery introduced three new sparkling wines in time for the holiday season.
Sparkling wines account for 7% of the world wine market, which represents a 40% increase from just a few years ago.
Summerhill, with eight different bubbles currently available, is not a follower, but has to be considered a Canadian leader and trendsetter.
Here’s what to look for from Summerhill, plus a couple of other nice B.C., Niagara and Prince Edward County bubblies:
|Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Blanc de Blanc 2010 ($35, 92 points) — A lovely nose of apple, pear, lemon chiffon and toasty/brioche notes with subtle lime undertones. It is crisp and bright on the palate with a soft mousse that delivers lemon, apple and freshness.|
|Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Blanc de Franc 2011 ($35, 89 points) — This has a gorgeous, unique nose of raspberries, cranberries, herbs and rosemary that’s lively and fresh. It’s quite delicious on the palate with a melange of savoury, earthy red fruits and herbs.|
|Blue Grouse Paula 2012 ($28, 90 points) —The nose shows brioche, pear, sweet citrus, biscuit and green apple. It has a vigorous mousse on the palate with energetic bursts of green apple, fresh pear, floral notes and lemon-lime on the finish.|
|Haywire The Bub 2013 ($30, 90 points) —It pours with a generous mousse and shows aromas of baked bread, brioche, green apple, lemon and grapefruit. It’s toasty, yet fresh, on the palate with apple, a touch of ginger, piecrust and round with citrus accents.|
|13th Street Grand Cuvée Blanc de Noir 2007 ($59, 93 points) — A gorgeous and generous nose of lemon and brioche, green apple and fresh baked bread with creamy vanilla and toast accents. It’s built in an austere style with chiselled acidity and a fine mousse that tickles the palate and gives way to fresh apple and lemon flavours.|
|Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2014 ($80 for 375 mL, 94 points) — The nose is a gorgeous mélange of orange marmalade, honeycomb, peach and mango. It has a rousing mousse on the palate to go with sweet, compoted fruits, fresh and delicate notes of pineapple, tangerine and peach and a luxurious texture.|
|Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling 2009 ($30, 91 points) —The nose shows lovely and inviting brioche, toast, lemon-lime, grapefruit and apple notes. A soft but persistent mousse delivers an array of bright lime, green apple and creamy pear notes|
|Featherstone Cuvée Joy 2011 ($35, 92 points) —This is a delightful, yes, joyful, wine with a nose of brisk lemon, baked apple, toast, citrus and interesting yeasty-bready notes. Perfect tiny bubbles tickle the palate with a lovely melange of citrus, toast and creamy notes.|
|Hinterland Les Etoiles 2012 ($39, 92 points) —The nose shows grapefruit, pear, brioche, toast and smoky-flinty notes. It’s racy on the palate with a healthy, persistent stream of bubbles that accent flavours of fresh grapefruit, pear, citrus and that vein of flinty minerality.|
|Hinterland Blanc de Blanc 2011 ($39, 92 points) —It’s fresh and perky on the nose with lemon, biscuit, apricot, lime, grapefruit and creamy pear with leesy-vanilla-mineral accents. It’s nicely aged but still bright and cheerful on the palate with citrus, brioche and pear flavours.|
|The Old Third À la Volée Sparkling Wine 2011 ($59, 94 points) — The nose is seductive with yeasty-bready notes, citrus, lemon, apple blossoms, pear and soft vanilla. It shows precision on the palate, driven by racy acidity and verve with a persistent mousse that lifts the lemon drop and citrus profile.|
Have a great New Year, everyone, and a toast to 2016!