It’s a line that’s almost as famous as the character himself; the famous dry martini, “shaken, not stirred”, served in a champagne goblet to the legendary Bond.
James Bond. Agent 007: whose dramatic evolution in his latest adventure, Carte Blanche, sees him supplant his famed martini with Cuvee Clive, the top shelf bubbly from Graham Beck Wines, in the closing scenes of the book.
It’s not as though the about-face is completely counter to character. Bond has, after all, always favoured the sexier things; his choice of car, now a Bentley, matching his choice of – other things; and in his choice of drinks at least, he’s in good company.
Graham Beck bubbly was the official toasting tipple at Barack Obama’s post-nomination private party; his prior South African counterpart, Mr Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela, having popped the cork on a bottle of Graham Beck Brut NV at his inauguration 14 years earlier. Carte Blanche author Jeffery Deaver chose to go straight for the top of the range, including Cuvee Clive as the bubbly of choice for the “rebooted” Bond – now in his late twenties, and a veteran of war in Afghanistan.
Some staunch Bond fans may miss the nuances behind the Cuvee Clive – the implications of the five years the wine spent fermenting in bottle, its elegant, delicate flavour and mousse, the years spent perfecting the wine – though the name Graham Beck may ring a bell for its following.
Undoubtedly best known for its quality sparkling wines, Graham Beck’s still range is amassing awards at a rate of knots, bringing to bear the vision of Graham Joshua Beck as he stood some 20 years ago on the flood-depleted soils of what is now the Graham Beck Robertson estate. Much has changed in the interim – his wine range recognised globally for its quality, the Graham Beck bubbly synonymous with special celebrations, and an expanded cellar now set to handle over 2 million bottles of premium quality Méthode Cap Classique.
No doubt it would tickle the iconic Mr Beck to know that the premium wine that he pictured way back then would make it into the annals of literary history – via none other than the legendary Bond: a man with whom he could well relate for his love of the finer things. Certainly if it was his to suggest a wine to the super-spy, Cuvee Clive would have been top of mind.
By Pieter Ferreira