Champagne’s Sparkling Pairing With Hot Dogs, James Bond

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Source: Bollinger via Bloomberg

The limited edition of Champagne Bollinger's 2002 La Grande Annee. The wine comes in a special box inspired by the new James Bond film, "Skyfall."

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Source: Bollinger via Bloomberg

The limited edition of Champagne Bollinger's 2002 La Grande Annee. The wine comes in a special box inspired by the new James Bond film, "Skyfall." Close

The limited edition of Champagne Bollinger's 2002 La Grande Annee. The wine comes in a special box inspired by the... Read More

Source: Maison Marques & Domaines USA via Bloomberg

Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, winemaker and cellar master of Champagne Louis Roederer, at the House of Roederer in Reims, France. Roederer, whose tete de cuvee Cristal is one of the world's great Champagnes, now oversees 65 hectares of biodynamic and organic vineyards. Close

Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, winemaker and cellar master of Champagne Louis Roederer, at the House of Roederer in Reims,... Read More

Source: LVMH via Bloomberg

Olivier Krug, director of Champagne house Krug, now owned by LVMH, in the company's vineyards near Reims, France. Famous for its multi-vintage Grande Cuvee, Krug this year started putting an ID code on labels that can be used to gain more information about the vintages and disgorgement date of the blend. Close

Olivier Krug, director of Champagne house Krug, now owned by LVMH, in the company's vineyards near Reims, France.... Read More

Source: Bollinger via Bloomberg

The limited edition of Champagne Bollinger's 2002 La Grande Annee, in special packaging to celebrate the latest James Bond film "Skyfall." The wine and box, inspired by the silencer on Bond's gun, debut Oct. 1, 2012. Close

The limited edition of Champagne Bollinger's 2002 La Grande Annee, in special packaging to celebrate the latest James... Read More

Source: Dom Perignon/LVMH USA

Filmmaker David Lynch with the new label and packaging he designed for a special "The Power of Creation" limited edition of 2003 Dom Perignon. The wine and its companion, the 2000 Dom Perignon Rose, for sale this summer, go on sale for a suggested price of $169 in October. Close

Filmmaker David Lynch with the new label and packaging he designed for a special "The Power of Creation" limited... Read More

Source: LVMH USA via Bloomberg

The new packaging for 2000 Dom Perignon Rose, designed by filmmaker David Lynch. The wine will go on sale next month for $309. Close

The new packaging for 2000 Dom Perignon Rose, designed by filmmaker David Lynch. The wine will go on sale next month for $309.

Source: Champagne Louis Roederer via Bloomberg

Bottles of Champagne Louis Roederer's prestige cuvee Cristal, created for Czar Alexander II of Russia, are riddled by hand in the company's cellars in Reims, France. The family company is turning to biodynamics to create wines with more finesse. Close

Bottles of Champagne Louis Roederer's prestige cuvee Cristal, created for Czar Alexander II of Russia, are riddled by... Read More

As I sip the latest release of Krug Grande Cuvee (MC) and chew some salty nuts at Eleven Madison Park, company director Olivier Krug compares making the Champagne to his grandmother’s ratatouille.

“Champagne is more complex when you blend many ingredients,” he says.

Entering the new label ID code on the Krug website, I find out what those are. This accesses more backstory, like the fact that this particular release of Grande Cuvee ($150) contains wine from 121 vineyard plots and 12 vintages from 1990 to 2004, and information on when it was disgorged.

Revealing numbers like these is a big change. Until recently, most of the region’s grandes marques kept information about their non-vintage-dated blends secret.

Major Champagne house Roederer is touting its 10-year relationship with biodynamics, a risky uber-organic form of viticulture increasingly popular among small grower producers.

“When you don’t take risks, wine becomes standardized,” cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon says. That’s tiny grower- producer talk. We are at a July tasting of seven vintages of Roederer’s prestige cuvees Cristal and Cristal Rose.

Biodynamics, Lecaillon says, give the wines more finesse and fruit, even in difficult vintages like 2005. I guess so.

That just-released vintage of Cristal ($200) is rich and full, with plenty of chalky tang and none of the earthy taint I’ve found in some producers’ 2005 bottlings. Lecaillon calls his 2005 fizz “a blue sky without any clouds.”

Perfect Rose

The 1996 Cristal Rose is just about perfect, creamy and silky and supremely complex. It should be, at $700 per.

Of course, no big Champagne house is abandoning image consciousness. Based on this summer’s launches, pairing your bubbly with an avant-garde designer or celeb is definitely de rigueur.

Dom Perignon tapped film director David Lynch, creator of the weird, addictive TV series “Twin Peaks” and 2001 thriller “Mulholland Drive,” to package 2003 D.P. ($169) and 2000 D.P. Rose ($309) “The Power of Creation” limited editions. (They go on sale next month, though the regular bottlings of the same wines are already on retail shelves for less.)

Lynch’s surrealistic D.P. bottle and box have a glowing, almost creepy, hallucinatory look. The exotic 2003 Dom Perignon, from a vintage so hot that 15,000 people died in France, is rich and powerful, but I much prefer the creamy, glamorous 2002 ($140).

Bond’s Bollinger

James Bond and Bollinger are still a classic pairing -- he’s been ordering the brand on screen since the 1973 film “Live and Let Die.” I’m not a fan of the specially designed of the special 2002 “James Bond 007” La Grande Annee bottling ($200) being released next month for the opening of the new Bond movie “Skyfall.”

The box is intended to evoke the silencer on Bond’s Walther PPK handgun. Unless you’re a Bond collector, go for the sexy, rich, elegant wine in the regular bottle ($100).

A huge global survey released in August by research company TNS revealed a worldwide appetite for indulging in Champagne and sparkling wine more regularly. What’s holding people back, said chief researcher Jan Hofmeyr, is cost.

Champagne has always been pitched and priced as an elitist drink, which is why sales slipped during the recession and sparklers like prosecco and Spanish cava are booming.

Yet this summer, Liv-Ex reported global demand for Champagne is thriving, at least for investment-grade names like Cristal, Krug, D.P. and hot seller 2002 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne ($185).

Rosania’s Collection

For the 1 percent, Acker Merrall & Condit offers a Hong Kong sale of U.S.real estate entrepreneur Robert Rosania’s extraordinary Champagne collection on Sept 21 and 22.

It includes plenty of top bottles, like the super rare 1966 Krug Blanc de Blancs (estimate $12,000 to $18,000). The auction house forecasts that the sale will pull in HK$50 million.

Master sommelier Laura Maniec, owner of one of my favorite New York wine bars, Corkbuzz, is trying to give the 99 percent a shot at top bubbles. This summer she began selling every bottle of Champagne on her list at 50 percent off every night from 10 p.m. until the bar closes.

The offer is still on, with a fascinating grower fizz like the classy 2002 Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Brut for $98 instead of $195, or a delicious standard like non-vintage Ruinart Rose Brut for $75 rather than $150.

Kooky Matches

Maniec advocated pairing all these champagnes with everyday food, like French fries (try one with Corkbuzz’s spicy potatas bravas). The bubbles cut through the salt and oil and inspire you to eat more fries, which then requires drinking more Champagne, and so on.

That same taste principle is at work in the latest non- elitist kooky wine match: Champagne and hot dogs.

London’s Bubbledogs wine bar, which opened Aug. 29, offers 13 savory, spicy hot dogs (cost: 6 to 8 pounds each) with refreshing grower Champagnes (from 6 pounds a glass; bottles 32 pounds and up).

I’m not surprised. I’ve always known top French bubbly goes with just about everything.

(Elin McCoy writes on wine and spirits for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer of this story: Elin McCoy in New York at elinmccoy@gmail.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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