Bond. James Bond. For a boy, there’s no cooler character in literature and film than this British secret service agent with a license to kill. He has the suave demeanor, coolest cars and gadgets, and he always gets the girl...or more often than not, several per movie.
The writer, Ian Fleming was no slouch either when it came to the foods and drinks that his character ate and drank throughout the stories. The now classic Vesper Martini was created in the first book, Casino Royale. A combination of gin, vodka, Lillet, and a lemon twist, the boozy cocktail packs a punch, and to have more than one of these alcohol bombs and still shoot straight, you’d have to be a pro like 007 himself.
In addition to Bond’s famous Vesper and Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred, in nearly every book and movie Bond is sipping Champagne, often accompanied by Beluga caviar. Roasted grouse, stone crab claws, fried chicken, roast beef, and many other foods described in fine detail appear in the books as well. It’s clear that Bond was quite the gourmand and connoisseur of the finer thing.
With the newest film on hold, I wanted to take a trip back to the past to honor the late, great, original bond actor, Sean Connery, who showed us the smoothest rendition of the character throughout the years in his portrayal of 007. Time to crack open some bubbly, and pair food, wine, and film together, Bond-style.
Following James Bond’s taste for Champagne, I selected Franck Pascal “Reliance”, a blend of 70% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 5% Chardonnay. The estate itself is a patchwork of fragmented plots in the Vallée de la Marne. Of the twenty parcels in five different villages, Pinot Meunier makes up 70% of the plantings, with Pinot Noir, and a small amount of Chardonnay, comprising the rest. Biodynamic agriculture is practiced in the vineyards, and fermentation takes place by native yeast with no added SO2.
The Reliance cuvée, though non vintage, rests on the lees for six years before disgorgement and has zero dosage. In the glass, it is a pale, sleek gold. Miniscule bubbles persistently stream upwards and notes of yeast, floral pear, and a savory herbaceous nuance fill the flute. On the palate, the minerality shines through in a clean, honed, and structured manner. Paired with rye blinis, crème fraîche, salmon roe, and a classic Connery Bond film, the evening undoubtedly takes on an air of elegance. The only thing missing is an Aston Martin DB5 fully loaded with all the spy gear, but I supposed the Champagne and salmon caviar will do for now. Cheers