The back story
When we think of James Bond and a certain alcoholic libation, we think of the martini — shaken, not stirred, of course.
But the British secret agent of literary and cinematic fame, best known as 007, is also all about the bubbly. Specifically, Bond is a fan of the Champagne produced by Bollinger, a French house with roots going back to the 16th Century. And now with “No Time to Die,” a new Bond movie (and the 25th picture in the Bond canon), premiering this month in the U.S., the producer is celebrating its connection with a special release.
The tie-ins between Bond and Bollinger go back long before the era of Daniel Craig, the current cinematic Bond who is stepping down from the role after this picture. Bollinger is first mentioned in Ian Fleming’s Bond novel, “Diamonds are Forever” (published in 1956) and the Champagne first made its way on film in “Live and Let Die” (released in 1973). Eventually, Bollinger became a kind of official Bond Champagne, with appearances in other Bond movies.
In the process, Bollinger has indeed often released bottles in conjunction with Bond pictures. With “No Time to Die,” it’s the Special Cuvee 007 Limited Edition, featuring a non-vintage Bollinger Champagne. But it’s not all about the liquid. In Bond fashion, the bottle comes in a sleek, spy-worthy package.
Regardless of how the bottle is received, the new Bond movie is already generating plenty of buzz — and many positive reviews. It has an 82% favorability rating among critics on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The Atlantic magazine called it “sprawling, and sometimes shockingly counter to tradition for the series. But it’s also hugely effective.” It also singled out Craig for a “legacy of playing Bond not just as a reliable institution, but also as a flawed human.”
As to whether Bollinger has a role in the new Bond film, the Champagne producer is staying mum. We guess we’ll just have to see the film ourselves.
What we think about it
We can be a bit curmudgeonly about products with movie and music tie-ins — why not let the product speak for itself? — but we make an exception with Bollinger and Bond because of the long, historical partnership. The good news is that the liquid inside the bottle is the real deal — a deliciously fruity Champagne that has a bright, clean taste. Cyril Delarue, a sixth-generation member of the Bollinger family, says you should pick up “pear, brioche and spicy aromas, along with notes of fresh walnut.”
How to enjoy it
The Bollinger team says this bottles pairs well with food — think any type of fish, though especially sushi and sashimi. Or have it with a selection of charcuterie. We also think it’s enjoyable on its own — perhaps paired with a screening of your favorite Bond movie at home.