Friday, May 27, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - Shaken Not Stirred

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌  This week, we find some wines to pair with a trio of Bond films - James Bond films.

One of my favorite moments in the TV series, The West Wing, is when the topic of James Bond arises and the president complains that Bond likes his martini "shaken, not stirred."  He points out that the act of shaking the cocktail chips the ice and creates a drink that is watered down.  The character opines that Bond is "ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it."

In 1967’' You Only Live Twice, Sean Connery as Bond is offered a martini the other way around, "stirred, not shaken," by mistake.  He courteously accepts the offer rather than point out the error.  He also courteously accepts the offer of a tricked-out car, a bunch of cool gadgets and the chance to bed several beautiful women in the film.  Courteous guy, that Bond.

The movie is set in Japan as Bond tries to keep World War III from breaking out in space.  Besides getting to see Bond cavorting in a new, exotic setting, we also get to meet Blofeld.  Donald Pleasence plays the villain who is trying to turn the Cold War hot.  We were this close to getting Toshiro Mifune as Tiger Tanaka, but he was already contracted to do another film.  Too bad.

Bond courteously accepts a bottle of Dom Perignon 1959 - "Well, if you insist" - a wine that shows up repeatedly over the course of the spy series, although he also had an affinity for Bollinger bubbly.  The latter can be had for around $50, the former for a couple hundred.  For a vintage that would impress Bond - you couldn't actually be thinking of a non-vintage bottle - the price escalates quite a bit.

From Russia With Love was the second Bond film, from 1963, following the big success of Dr. No.  Connery gets more fantastic locales - Istanbul and Venice - more great chase scenes and a suitcase full of those fancy specialty items from Q.  

Dr. No's success prompted the desire for a sequel, with double the budget.  Was it worth the money?  Well, if you insist.  Bond movies typically get lukewarm response from scribes, but the paying public always has Bond money burning a hole in their pockets on opening day.  Popcorn is an additional charge.

Russian wine?  In this political climate?  Nyet.  Let's go to Ukraine for some Angel Bomon Rosé sparkling wine.  It utilizes a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, so I'll let you tell me how it tastes. It might be easier to locate a Ukrainian vodka for your martini - but stir it, no matter what Bond says.  

Let's jump ahead to 1987 for The Living Daylights, the first of a pair with Timothy Dalton as Bond.  Pierce Brosnan almost took over for 12-time Bond Roger Moore, but he was involved with NBC's Remington Steele.  Ratings were flagging, so Brosnan was interested.  However, the Bond talk sort of resurrected the show and Brosnan's contract got in the way.  After the talk died down, Steele lost the hearts and minds of viewers and Brosnan got only a handful of additional episodes before the axe fell.  In Hollywood, as in the old USSR, it was "death to spies" time.

Dalton certainly has his fans, but "favorite Bond?"  Connery and Moore make for tough competition.  Dalton probably gets a run for his money from the '80s pop band A-ha, the Norwegian group who did the synth-drenched theme song for The Living Daylights.  It takes all kinds, so I'm sure there are those who think Dalton is the best Bond and A-ha's take is the best Bond theme.  I'm just as sure, however, that if that entire fan club got together all at once they could hold the meeting in a phone booth, assuming they could still find a phone booth.  Make me choose, I'm taking Dalton's Bond over A-ha's Bond theme every day.

In this film, Bond gives a defecting KGB general a bottle of Bollinger’s RD, which stands for recently disgorged in English.  It means that the removal of the yeast collected in the bottle's neck after the secondary fermentation happens late in the aging process.  It is said to preserve the freshness of the wine.  At several hundred dollars per bottle, it had better be fresh.  As Steve Martin said in The Jerk, "No more of this old stuff."  They must not know who they're dealing with.

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