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SA wine in new Bond book

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From the October issue of GQ: As a figure of popular culture, special agent James Bond captures the imagination in many ways: he’s debonair of dress, good at one-liners, irresistible to women, handy with any sort of weaponry, gets to drive the coolest cars and, of course, always vanquishes the villain.

For wine geeks, there are plenty of moments in the James Bond movies and books with particular appeal. A favourite of mine occurs in the 1971 film Diamonds are Forever, when Mr Wint and Mr Kidd, two henchmen of Bond’s arch-enemy, Blofeld, arrive at his suite disguised as dinner stewards. Bond links the smell of Wint’s aftershave to a previous misadventure and quickly realises that something is wrong. When they present the wine – a Mouton Rothschild ’55 – Bond tricks them by saying: “The wine is quite excellent. Although, for such a grand meal I had rather expected a claret.”  Mr. Wint replies that the cellars are unfortunately poorly stocked with clarets, at which point Bond exposes the villain’s ignorance, replying that Mouton Rothschild in fact is a claret. All hell breaks loose…

007 fans will be glad to learn that a new Bond novel by US thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver launched earlier this year. Called Carte Blanche and set in South Africa, it sees our hero enjoying various local wines. The scene which will no doubt me most referenced is when Bond opts for Warwick Three Cape Ladies in his efforts to seduce the lovely Felicity Willing: “… a red blend from Muldersvlei in the Cape. Bond knew its reputation. He took out the cork and poured. They sat on the sofa and sipped. ‘Wonderful’ he said.”

The 2008 of this wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage, and spent 32 months in French oak, 40% new. It shows plums, black cherry and vanilla on the nose while the palate is medium-bodied with fresh acidity and firm tannins which make for a very dry finish. It cost R115 a bottle from the farm.

Bond also gets to quaff icon bubbly Graham Beck Cuvée Clive 2003 (“as good as anything you’ll get in Reims” in his opinion) as well as Rustenberg Peter Barlow Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ordered with a large rib-eye steak for two. As has become well established over the years, Bond has expensive taste – the current-release 2005 vintage of Cuvée Clive selling for R450 a bottle and the Peter Barlow 2005 for R375.

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