The next James Bond film, the 25th, won’t be released until April 2020, but spoiler alert: Bollinger is unveiling a new Bond-themed limited-edition bottle.
To mark a 40-year partnership between the brands, the famed Champagne house will soon start selling an exclusive Bollinger 007 Limited Edition, priced at $230 per bottle. It will also be the first time that Bollinger is releasing the 2011 vintage from the company’s wine cellars. The wine is sourced from a single grand cru vineyard in Aÿ-Champagne, France, and was vinified in oak barrels before being aged for seven years under cork.
“It has a very unique taste—a little like James Bond in taste,” says Charles-Armand de Belenet, Bollinger’s general manager. “A fantastic balance of power and elegance.”
De Belenet says that the new Bollinger 007 Limited Edition, which honors Bond’s upcoming 2020 film, No Time to Die, is particularly special because it is made completely from Pinot Noir grapes. Typically, Champagne is a blend of three types of grapes: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
The wine’s aromas are described as honey and hard candy—both evoking the richness of a Pinot Noir. It is golden in color with glints of copper, offering rich notes of stewed fruits that result in a round texture. And while Bollinger won’t reveal how many bottles will be released this upcoming holiday season, the house did say that the Champagne will be “an extremely-limited edition run globally.”
“What is very special [about this wine] is the texture,” says de Belenet. “We call it a kind of creamy texture, and it has a great minerality in the finish.”
Bond’s relationship with alcohol is almost as legendary as his adoration of watches, cars, and gadgets. But like the fictional character’s famed promiscuity, his taste in booze is equally indiscriminate. He’s sipped on a Belvedere vodka martini, thanks to a partnership with Moët Hennessy, in 2015’s Spectre; toasted with a shot of Macallan Scotch in the same film; and gulped a Heineken in 2012’s Skyfall, along with many, many, many other drinks. In fact, Bond has enjoyed so much alcohol on camera that a study published last year advised him to seek professional help owing to his “severe chronic alcohol problem.”
Bollinger, however, has had a special bond with the spy since the early ’70s, when Roger Moore—who played Bond at the time—ordered Bollinger on-screen in 1973’s Live and Let Die. The Champagne has appeared in 14 Bond films, including 1989’s Licence to Kill, 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, and 2006’s Casino Royale.
The relationship, as described by Bollinger, was built on a gentleman’s agreement between the Champagne house and the Broccoli family, which still owns the film rights to the Bond property, following an enjoyable dinner between the two parties in the Champagne region of France. No money was exchanged, but since 1979, Bollinger has been the “official” Champagne of Bond.
For the past decade, Bollinger has capitalized on the close link between the two brands by releasing limited-edition bottles to celebrate Bond’s upcoming films. Spectre’s bottle was a 2009 vintage encased in a black cooling box that insulated the bottle and kept it chilled for up to two hours once removed from the fridge. No Time to Die’s bottle, meanwhile, has a Bond-style design on its case and a sleeve listing all the Bond films ever released.
While Bollinger is a positively French brand, de Belenet says the Champagne has also enjoyed a “touch of Britishness” beyond the connection to Bond. This goes as far back as the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria and her family so adored the wine that she awarded the prestigious Royal Warrant to cofounder Jacques Bollinger in 1884.
But my main nagging question ahead of the launch of No Time to Die: Will Bollinger actually get a coveted product-placement scene with Bond (or even some secondary character)?
De Belenet politely demurs on sharing the inside scoop. He says that for 40 years Bollinger has enjoyed consistent visibility in the films but that the Bollinger team never knows if the brand will make the final cut. Just like everyone else eagerly anticipating the film, de Belenet says, “we have to wait.”
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