To many James Bond fans, 007’s signature tipple is a “shaken, not stirred” martini. But the world’s pre-eminent secret agent has quite an affinity for fermented grape juice, ranging from bubbly to fortified.
To wit: “I’d say it was a 30-year-old, fined and indifferently blended, with an overdose of bons bois” is how Bond describes a brandy in “Goldfinger.”
With the 24th 007 film, “Spectre,” opening on Nov. 6, it seems appropriate to give all of its predecessors their own wine. Something fitting in some way, shape or form, something to sip while binge-watching this amazing oeuvre. In chronological order:
“Dr. No”: Dom Pérignon makes its first of eight appearances in the franchise’s films, served by the title character in triangular flutes, no less. But since Dom costs $200, give or take, let’s go with the winery’s “second label,” the tasty $50-ish Moet & Chandon Brut.
“From Russia With Love”: Our intrepid hero disses a villain (the superb, almost unrecognizable Robert Shaw) with the line: “Red wine with fish. Well, that should have told me something.” But one red wine that plays beautifully with fish is the Lamoreaux Landing Finger Lakes Cabernet Franc ($17).
“Goldfinger”: For me (and countless others), this is the perfect Bond film: nonpareil villain, thug and “Bond girls.” So we need a near-perfect wine; let’s splurge and go with the always-stellar Chateau de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($120).
“Thunderball”: A personal aside: My dad was in this movie, as one of the underwater warriors (never have been able to pick him out). His favorite wine, at least in his later years, was the super-juicy Estancia “Pinnacles Ranches” Monterey Chardonnay ($11).
“You Only Live Twice”: This underrated effort was shot mostly in Japan, so sake is the order of the day, even though Bond erroneously claims that it should be “served at precisely 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit.” A great intro to this rice wine is the Rihaku Wandering Poet ($17 for a half-bottle).
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”: This is the first of two 007 movies in which the spy truly falls in love, so let’s go with something romantic, pink bubbles: the very-berry-ish, refined Schramsberg Brut Rosé ($40).
“Diamonds Are Forever”: My favorite Bond wine moment ever is when he uses two assassins’ ignorance about Bordeaux to out and wipe out the dastardly duo. So the tippling tout is the earthy but elegant Chateau D’Argadens Bordeaux Superiore ($16).
“Live and Let Die”: This semi-mess at least introduced the luminous Jane Seymour, who is a huge wine fan and actually had her own California pinot-noir vineyard for a time. Perhaps the best introduction to Cali pinot is the vibrant, delicious Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County ($25).
“The Man With the Golden Gun”: Villain Francisco Scaramanga had three breasts, so (and pardon the reach) the choice here is Ridge’s robust Three Valleys zin blend ($24).
“The Spy Who Loved Me”: Speaking of reaches, this one introduced the redoubtable henchman “Jaws,” a gargantuan with steel teeth. As Jed Steele is one of my favorite people in the biz, I’ll go with his herby, spicy red Shooting Star Washington Blue Franc ($14).
“Moonraker”: Here the franchise and its star make the switch from Dom Perignon to Bollinger. To celebrate, pop a bottle of one of the best values in bubbles, the Gruet Brut Blanc de Noirs ($17).
“For Your Eyes Only”: My favorite of the Roger Moore era, this was shot largely in Greece. Bond sipped a Theotaki Aspero, but I’ll go with another white, the pure, sweet-and-tart Domaine Skouras Moscofilero ($17).
“Octopussy”: The climactic scene takes place at a circus, not unlike the one found on the label of Michael David Petite Petit ($18), a rich, rambunctious red blend.
“A View to a Kill”: The plot centers around a scheme to set off an earthquake that would destroy Silicon Valley, so let’s go with a fabulous winery from that area, Mount Eden and its luscious but rustic pinot noir ($60), and a way better accompaniment than this often lame and ludicrous movie deserves.
“The Living Daylights”: The overdue transition away from Roger Moore finds Timothy Dalton oft ensconced in Austria, home to some of the world’s best white wines. Need convincing? Start with the Lenz Moser Niederösterreich Grüner Veltliner, a steal at $13 for a liter bottle.
“License to Kill”: We’ll stick with geography here, as the franchise finally plants a plot in Latin America. Good time to check out an Argentine red from a winery with Twin Cities owners, the Famiglia Meschini Premium Malbec-Syrah ($12), a deep, dark 50/50 blend.
“Goldeneye”: Bond sips one of his few U.S. table wines, the Charles Krug Napa Chenin Blanc. As that wine has been discontinued, check out another chenin, the super-tasty Dry Creek Clarksburg ($12, often a lot less).
“Tomorrow Never Dies”: OK, stay with me here: The nefarious villain (has there ever been a non-nefarious villain?) is Elliot Carver, a megalomaniacal media mogul modeled after Rupert Murdoch, who’s from Australia, so we’ll go with another red blend, Peter Lehmann’s spicy, complex “Layers” ($15).
“The World Is Not Enough”: Few if any “Bond girls” can compare with Sophie Marceau in terms of sultriness or Frenchness, so a powerful red from the country’s steamy southwest fits: Chateau d’Aydie Madiran ($28).
“Die Another Day”: With so much of this shot on snow and frozen water, what could be more appropriate than a Minnesota ice wine? Winehaven’s “Slippery Slope” ($35), Cannon River’s “Winter Ice” ($29) and Alexis Bailly ISIS ($39) are luscious and pure as the driven you-know-what.
“Casino Royale”: On the way to Montenegro, Bond and Vesper Lynd enjoy a Bordeaux from Château Angélus. A less expensive offering from the same appellation, Christian Moueix St.-Estephe ($30) is worth seeking out.
“Quantum of Solace”: Since we’re back in South America, and a lot of this movie can leave viewers parched, the super-refreshing Yali Wetland Sauvignon Blanc’s endless finish is just the ticket, and so is the price ($12).
“Skyfall”: Continuing a trend in the Daniel Craig era, this is the grittiest Bond film to date, so an earthy, smoky Spanish red is in order. Something like the Lo Nuevo Sorbo a Sorbo Calatayud Old Vines ($12), which lingers, well, grittily on the palate.
“Spectre”: Not screened yet, but if you go see it in a theater serving wine, be sure to ask if they have anything from the ’007 vintage.
Bill Ward writes at decant-this.com. Follow him on Twitter: @billward4.