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With the James Bond movie Spectre being released today, no time could be better to drink Bollinger. The most suave spy in the world has been sipping on Bollinger since Moonraker in 1979. While we can’t all drive a fully loaded, customized machine gun having Aston Martin, we certainly can chill down a bottle of Bolli! The 2004 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne ($109) is as good as Champagne gets; all barrel fermented and full of masculine, Pinot Noir power and high class elegance. We even have a few bottles of the limited 2009 Bollinger "James Bond 007" Brut Champagne ($195) in stock for the diehard fan of Bond & Champagne!

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Entries in Cognac (3)


Champagne Friday: French 75

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Friday, September 12, 2012

French 75

With summer drawing to a close, the citrus zip and aged cognac depth of the French 75 cocktail has a lot of appeal. This drink, which legend says was named after a French canon that shot 75 millimeter shells, is a powerful one, and should be treated with respect.

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne My wife Cinnamon is the real family mixoligist, and she prepared everything in the short demonstration video above. Unfortunately, I could not convince her to get in front of the camera and make the drink! We discovered this cocktail together at Coco 500 in San Francisco, where they make it with Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne. This cocktail is a great one to riff off of, and we have made many tasty variations on the theme at home. For a long time I was a partisan to making it with gin, while Cinnamon preferred Cognac.

Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne One thing that has remained constant is the Champagne- we always use the tail end of a bottle that has been sitting in the fridge door with a stopper in it. I find that Blanc de Blancs tend to balance the Cognac’s aged savor, and the Pinot Noir styles add depth to the gin variation. For the video piece, we used the Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne which worked perfectly with the new Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac. This Ferrand is a great ingredient, and works far better than much more expensive (and far more subtle) Cognacs. The 1840 Formula is made in the three star style from the 19th century, and is a full 5% higher in alcohol than standard Cognac. It is also oilier and weightier with lots of flavor- it won’t get lost in a mixed drink.

 I hope you’ll try this out the next time you would like a stiff cocktail. It is a great one!


Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof CognacFrench 75

2 parts Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac

1 Part Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 Part simple syrup

2 parts Champagne (Blanc de Blancs if you have one open)

Lots of fresh ice

Lemon rind for garnish

We use an ounce per part for ours- and that makes a pretty big aperitif.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake thoroughly and pour into a rocks glass filled with more fresh ice. Top with Champagne, and stir if you like (I do!) finally garnishing with lemon rind.


A toast to you!


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Food-Pairing Friday: Winter Citrus

Photo courtesy of Todd and Diane at

It's another gray morning here in Southern California. And even though the sun was out part of this week, the frequent showers, and the sky's steely shroud are beginning to wear a bit on me. I'm sure my friends in Oregon and all the East Coasters getting pummeled yet again by snow have very little sympathy for my Vitamin D-deprived whine, so I'll keep it brief and get straight to the remedy: winter citrus.

The extra rain here in L.A. has been good for a few things. It's helped pull us out of years of drought, and it's been great for the citrus trees that grow up and down the coast. My favorites are the tangerines. About the size of a Hacky Sack, these easy-to-peel fruits have skins the color of a crossing guard's jacket and juice that appears to be lit from within, tangerines have the power to turn they grayest of days into orange-colored bliss. Tangerines are sweet, with a tang that can be a subtle whisper or like little pin-pricks on your tongue, depending on the variety. To find the best ones, if you don't have a tree in your yard, go to the nearest farmers' market to taste the many options. The fruits make a fantastic energy-filled afternoon snack, complement the anise flavor of fennel perfectly in a crunchy salad, and they play nicely with spice, too.

But I think our friends Todd and Diane over at White on Rice Couple put their homegrown tangerines to the best weekend welcoming use in their Double Tangerine Cocktail, which uses fresh tangerine juice, fresh lemon juice, ginger simple syrup and Cognac. I would tweak the recipe a bit and sub the ginger simple syrup with regular simple syrup so that I could use the Domaine de Canton Ginger & Cognac Liqueur (750ml $31.99), which has plenty of ginger heat along with the subtle nuances of a top-notch Cognac.  If you'd rather invest in an unflavored Cognac, I recommend the Ferrand Reserve Grande Champage 1er Cru du Cognac (375ml $28.99), with its notes of apricot, dried flowers and licorice.    

Have a great weekend.

Leah Greenstein


Wine Wednesday: Turkey on the Brain

I have a love/hate relationship with Thanksgiving. I love the concept--an entire day devoted to gratitude, friends and family --and I love the food...mostly. You see, for me the problem with Thanksgiving is that there's too much food. Don't get me wrong, I love a big family feast, but the modern Thanksgiving meal often seems a little disjointed, a bunch of random dishes made to satisfy one person or another, all piled on a plate, but not always complementary. That makes finding the right Thanksgiving wine as hard as proving what the Pilgrims actually ate. Too bad America's best known historic oenophile Thomas Jefferson never weighed in on the subject.

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