By: Michael Tommasiello By: Michael Tommasiello | September 8, 2021 | Food & Drink
You may remember that the international man of mystery takes his martinis shaken, not stirred—but what of his champagne?
Of course, a man with a License to Kill must also have an incredibly-elevated champagne palette. In anticipation of the forthcoming James Bond movie No Time To Die, historic champagne house Bollinger teamed with the film to create a limited edition run of cuvee just in time for the film's Oct. 8 premiere.
The Bollinger Special Cuvee 007 Limited Edition comes in a gift box package that features the silhouette of James Bond alongside his Aston Martin DB5. Famed celebrity photographer and longtime Bond collaborator Greg Williams took the shot.
We sat down with Cyril Delarue, a sixth generation member of the Bollinger family, to learn more about the partnership and why 007 drinks Bollinger.
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How did this collaboration come about? Why Bollinger for 007?
Bond is the quintessential partner for Bollinger as the two share many values in common: excellence, authenticity, elegance. It was only natural that the most British of champagnes and the most British of secret agents should come together.
Champagne Bollinger first appeared in Ian Fleming’s novel Diamonds Are Forever, and then the Broccoli family [who produce the Bond films] selected Bollinger to be featured on-screen in 1973’s Live and Let Die. That served as the starting point to a long-term friendship between the two families.
It was over dinner during a visit to the Bollinger estate in the late 1970s, that Albert “Cubby” Broccoli asked whether Bollinger would like to become the official Champagne of James Bond. A simple handshake signified the start of this partnership, which began with 1979’s Moonraker and still continues today after 40-plus years.
Has the house done anything like this previously?
Champagne Bollinger started to produce limited edition bottles in 2008, timed to the release of Quantum of Solace, then for Skyfall, Spectre, and now No Time to Die.
No Time to Die will be the 25th Bond film and the 16th film that Bollinger will have a presence [in] as the official champagne of Bond. No Time to Die is the fourth Bond film that Bollinger is producing a limited releases for.
What differentiates Bollinger from other champagne houses?
Our philosophy at Bollinger is, “if it is good for the wine, we do it.” As one of only three remaining family-owned Houses, we can preserve labor-intensive practices that we believe are necessary to produce extraordinarily distinct, powerful wines. Each element of Bollinger’s winemaking approach is special, but the magic really comes to life when taken all together.
At the most basic level, quality control starts in our own vineyards. Bollinger is one of the largest private landowners in the region with more than 400 acres, most of which are Grand or Premier cru, providing roughly two-thirds of the house’s needs. At Bollinger, at least 60 percent of fruit must come from our own vineyards. This reflects our approach of always focusing on quality and not quantity.
Additionally, Bollinger has earned the reputation as the “House of pinot noir.” This most difficult-to-grow grape makes up about 60 percent of our plantings and is always at least 60 percent or more in each champagne. Pinot noir is the powerful backbone of all Bollinger champagnes; lending intoxicating aromas with a refined structure and silky texture.
Another big differentiator is that we are the only remaining producer in the region that still has its own cooperage, enabling us to keep a stock of more than 3,000 oak barrels to produce our wines. All vintage wines are 100% percent barrel fermented—both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation—which is something no other major producer does.
Another incredible practice maintained by Bollinger is storing reserve wines that are aged up to 15 years in magnum bottles that will be added into the final blend of the non-vintage wines. No other estate does this. Each of these magnums age under cork and are disgorged by hand, an incredible endeavor that requires seven months to complete every year.
All vintage wines are also aged under cork, not crown capsule. Each bottle is then hand-riddled, and then hand disgorged. We hope this incredible amount of work comes through in each bottle of Bollinger that is opened and enjoyed.
If you’re ready to sip like Bond, the Bollinger Special Cuvee 007 Limited Edition is now available for $79 wherever fine liquors are sold. Learn more at Bollinger’s website, and catch No Time to Die in theaters Oct. 8.
Photography by: Greg Williams;Courtesy Bollinger