Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Where The Boys Go (May 3, 2018)

Raveneau, Chablis, 2015

The history of Chablis in a nutshell is that it was perceived for decades as an outlier of the Cote d'Or, the source of a very marketable brand (due to an easily pronounced and remembered name) for the negociants, the identity of the actual Chablis producers and afterthought at best. Until foreign importers discovered producers like Raveneau - and the rest is history. Except history is never limited to just one chapter and the current chapter is the one where the competition has caught up with Raveneau. I would be able to tell you exactly how far they've caught with him if I could still afford Raveneau, or if I could even get an allocation, but going over old notes and memories, I'm pretty sure that Droin and Henri, at least, are on equal footing, at times arguably even better. Henri certainly makes a village Chablis that punches above its weight, unlike the Raveneau 2012 Chablis, for example. The 2015 is even weaker, because it was hard to make classic Chablis in 2015. This is not as lean and linear as I'd expect from Chablis, with hints of tropical fruit.

Thierry Germain, Domaine des Roches Neuves, Saumur, Clos Romans, 2015 

At one point during dinner, someone asked, which famous person in the history of wine would you have liked to be? And I immediately said Kermit Lynch, because living on the West Coast, travelling all over Europe from the 70's and onwards and discovering new wine regions seems like a golden life. Well, Lynch carries Germain and based on Lynch's track record, this has to have been a bad bottle or a bad vintage. A bad something, anyway, annoyingly bad, one dimensional and oxidized, unbalanced, starting ouu ripe and finishing sour and thin.

G Guinaudeau, Bordeaux Superior, Acte 2, 2010

Sylvie Guinaudeau and Jacques Guinaudeau own the legendary Chateau Lafleur in Pomerol. They also own Chateau Grand Village in Fronsac, which as far as I can figure out is where the Acte 2 comes from. The debut vintage was 2009 and labelled Acte 1 and the number is updated with every vintage. You can guess what the 2010 was named. This is not very complex but so balanced and tuned that it its placidness is redeemed by its craftsmanship.

Haut-Bages-Liberal, Pauillac 5me Cru, 2000

This isn't a very dramatic wine, but, probably due to the great vintage, it is very balanced and poised, the elegant grit of Pauillac married to the elegant finesse of Saint Julien,

Radio-Coteau, Sonoma County, Timbervine, Syrah, 2006

Blue fruit, bacon, a freshness that belies its fucking 15.2% abv. The alcohol becomes tiring, eventually, yet the wine's depth and complexity are undeniable.

Banfi, Brunello di Montalcino, 1997

My group is prejudiced against Tuscany. Although some of us, and I won't name names, will make an exception for Tuscan reds made of Bordeaux grapes. Thus, this was served blind to see what we would make of it. I liked it, it didn't knock me out, but I had it pegged as a good, rustic blend of Bordeaux and local grapes I couldn't quite identify (obviously, I was wrong).

Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertain, Vieilles Vignes, 2007

The kind of wine that makes for a successful night, it has the vitality and initial oomph of a Grand Cru, albeit without any of the complexity, just Gevrey sauvage and that sense of completeness that elevates a wine. The acidity, that feels like biting into a freshly picked apple, doesn’t hurt. And neither does the forest floor. 

Dobogo, Tokaji Aszu, 6 Puttyonos, 2006

Hugh Johnson calls this a benchmark Aszu, and he should know. This is complex and multilayered on both nose and palate, the botrytis providing a whirlpool of flavors lifted by ample acidity.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Champagne Road Trip

What is your favorite wine region?

The old desert island question is puerile and annoying. If you put a pistol to my head and made me whittle my wine purchases to the bare minimum, I really don't know what I'd do, but Champagne would still be in the top five along with Burgundy, Mosel, Rhone and Bordeaux. I'm almost sure I'd drop Bordeaux long before Champagne, but hell, why should I have to choose?

But if I get to choose another road trip with the missus, I'd head straight back to Champagne, visit any of the ten to twenty houses I missed this time, buy a dozen bottles and pay for the overweight and have lunch at Relais de Sillery every day the chef isn't out fishing.

Larmandier-Bernier, Vertus 

Larmandier was the first stop on our getaway to Champagne and Paris. I hardly ever go on the wine route and visit wineries, especially not abroad. It’s one of my biggest regrets in a life otherwise regretless. Or, if not exactly regretless, a life where regrets are easily cast aside.

Vertus was a ghost town when we arrived. I know the town, the region, the country, was AWOL celebrating the anniversary of V-Day, but we simply felt trapped in dimension devoid of human life. Lack of humans I can handle, but the even more terrible downside of the situation was lack of open dining establishments. The impromptu cure: an impatient wait for the local Carrefour branch to open and a roadside picnic. Fed and rested, we were now ready for Larmandier.  

To paraphrase William Burroughs, tasting Larmandier is seeing through to the bottom of every glass. There may be better Champagnes, but none with Larmandier's clarity and purity.

Here was what I got out of a twenty minute tasting of their six wines, a tasting that underlined and reinforced all I learned about the lineup over the last two years:

Latitude n.v. is lithe, happy and toasty, the Longtitude n.v. more somber, suggestive of darker minerals. The Rosé de Saignée 2015 (technically a n.v.) is very autumnal, by which I mean the Pinot shows leaves rotting on the forest floor just as summer fades and the first rains hit. Terres de Vertus 2011, always Larmandier's most mineral wine, explodes in your mouth. Les Chemins d’Avize 2009 is very complete and again very winey and comes off as the most elegant wine. In both, the character of the fruit is stronger than the character of the autolysis effects. On to the Vieille Vigne du Levant (formerly known as Cramant), as expected it is the fuller and most flavor packed of the lot. We tasted the 209 and 2008,. The 2009 is much readier than the 2008, which would surprise no one following the vintage reports. I'll sum briefly: the Vertus is the most mineral, wiry and wild, the Avize the most elegant, the Cramamt the most complete and complex. And someone should just market them as a three pack because choosing one over the other a wine geek’s Sophie’s Choice.

On the way back to our B and B at Epernay, I stopped at the local legend of a wine store, Jean Silvatori. It's  a great little store, stocked with both grower champagnes and major houses, non-vintages through vintages and premium bottlings - as well as choice selections of still Champenois and Burgundies. I picked up bottle from a great grower at a decent price of approx 30 euros and we drank it in the garden that evening. 

Paul Bara, Bouzy Grand Cru, Grand Millesime, 2010

Tasting out of crappy flutes is not a good way to hunt for aromas, but as far flavors are concerned, this is a very transparent wine, with broad flavors where the salinity and acidity manage to contain blatantly bold fruit. Bouzy is one of the warmest crus in champagne and this sees a dosage of 8 mg. In the bad flute it feels a little blunt, but on the other hand, its punch has a lot of acid power to it. Only the V-Day clampdown kept me from getting another bottle to ferry back home for a second round with decent stemware.

The continued national obsession with the V-Day celebrations forced a break from actual wine tastings the next day and I filled the void in the itinerary with a pedestrian romp at Pommery. All touristy and superficial flash, it's the kind of marquee brand designed to depress the earnest Champagne lover. The following day, though, was very busy, starting off with a visit to one of the the first grower Champagnes I'vd ever bought.

Gaston Chiquet, Dizy

I’ve never been able to really pinpoint the character of the Chiquet wines in easy, catchy copy. But after talking with Nicolas and reading over my notes, I think the key is that they artful and practical. The Chiquet family are all about expressing their terroir with careful, artifice-less craftsmanship. This is quite evident in the Nicolas Chiquet's offhand comments about his decisions and considerations in the vineyard and winery. A key decision that exemplifies their approach is to not release a Special Club in 2012, a vintage widely regarded as one of the best in recent decades (alongside 1996, 2002 and 2008) because 2012 made for wines too intense for what Nicoals is looking for.

So much for philosophy, but at the end of the day, I prefer to talk about flavors and aromas. In Chiquet's case, that translates to clear fruit flavors with minerals and sauteed mushrooms pulsating beneath. I would have assumed that this would be expressed best with the Special Club, but the 2011 vintage that we tasted was rather demure and delicate and felt stylistically removed from the rest of the lineup (albeit highly recommended). Even though Special Clubs are always no-brainers (expensive but always top value for your dollars), for me, the true representatives of the house style are the Cuvee de Reserve (2011 based in this case) and the Millésime Or, Premier Cru, Brut, 2008. The first more about truffles in mid palate, the latter ripe fruit with a mineral backbone. Lower down the food chain, the Tradition n.v. is always a useful wine, but the real fun begins with the Blancs d'Ay, Brut, Grand Cru, n.v. Sourced as is it is from Ay, a Pinot town, it is different than anything from the Cotes de Blancs, less tense, the Chardonnay fruit evoking Chassagne rather than Puligny, if the Burgundy pigeonholes are any help.

Pierre Peters, Le-Mesnil-Sur-Oger

Even if Peters was just another grower, he'd still be a grower from a town legendary for having no ordinary wines. As it is, the family has been  bottling wine for generations and carving out their portion of world fame in the last few decades. Cuvée de Reserve Brut is very fruity and floral; although at the core you can see the resemblance to fellow Cotes de Blancs grower Larmandier, it is markedly different, mainly due to more overt yeastiness. A very complex nv that will need four-five years more in the cellar. The Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut (pure 2014 but not aged long enough to be sold as vintage) is much more reserved and mineral laden, and while it may not need more years than the Reserve to show its potential, I expect it will always show better. In fact, I suspect the 2008 or 2012 versions maybe even match the actual vintage wine, the l'Esprit. We did taste the l'Esprit 2013 and it was a tough call. The l'Esprit was more Champagne-y and even more yeasty. Is it more complex or was that a mirage sprung of the flattering brioche aromas conjured by the yeast? The Rose For Albanne is a an assemblage of still red wine bought from friends with a blend of various vintages of BdB wines, it is almost sherbet fruity on the nose, yeasty on the palate, close to an extreme at this stage of its life.

The house's flagship is the single cru Chetillons, one of the grandest of this Grand Cru village's vineyards. Chetillons 2011 is still all chalk and yeast, unbridled power for now, a long distance and tangent away from a 2011 like the Chiquet Special Club (just a warning against generalizing on the vintage).

Fabienne Peters served the Chetillons 2008 last and prefaced it with the best tasting note ever:

"You probably don't want to spit this."

We did not.

Open for a week, its mousse on the decline even stoppered, it was all nuances of mushrooms and broth, its past and future trapped for an eternity in our tasting glasses.

Bruno Paillard, Reims

I had no experience with Paillard prior to the visit. They're not imported to Israel, I'd never bought them abroad and none of my friends had ever brought a bottle to a tasting. I'd read about them in Peter Liem's book about Champagne and simply took a chance and sent off an email. Alice Paillard wrote back and invited me over for a visit and it all worked out quite well. Alice is a terribly charming and attentive host, walking me and a group of Italian restaurateurs through a tour of the winery and a barrel tasting and on to a short, yet instructive, tasting of the latest release. She's the kind of wine lover who can provide fruitful insights on any wine you'd care to share with her.

The house's wines are very finely expressed, elegant wines, almost the opposite of what I expected from a relatively big house. For once, a big house's inbred hype rings true. Elegance and complexity reign over power, and even the relatively big boned vintage BdB is a marvel of efficiently expressed complexity. I really wish I'd brought some back to Israel, but, low cost airline, only one checked in luggage, yadda yadda yadda.

Premier Cuvée Extra Brut n.v. (disgorged 9/17): a delicate nose with citrus, light minerals, then spices. With loads of finesse, albeit without obvious complexity at this point, this is patently not just a brand, but rather a delicate wine made with care.

Rose Premier Cuvee Extra Brut n.v. (disgorged 10/17): even though initial sniffs don’t show a lot of red character, eventually I get light strawberries and spices. On the palate, it creates a trompe l'oeil of sweetness and spiciness embracing the same elegant body.

Blanc de Blancs ,2006: blossoms, chalk and light toast on the nose.  Where the nv’s were delicate, this is more assertive and broad, brimming with chalk. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

R. Lopez de Heredia (May 1, 2018)

Lopez de Heredia is an is an uncommon Rioja property. Most Rioja wineries don't mention vineyard names on their labels. It's just not part of the wine culture. Heredia is one of the venerable household names that not only has three separate brands demarcated by vineyard of origin, but its top vineyard, Tondonia, has become so synonymous with Heredia that many think it’s actually the name of the winery.

Heredia is very much a classic Rioja bodega. Almost to an extreme. Very traditional, low tech winemaking techniques, a winery full of mildew and fungus, very long barrel aging. They make Gran Reservas only in grand years, which sadly is not always the norm in Rioja.

The Red Crianza Flight

Cubilio, Crianza, 2008

Cubillo is a vineyard that makes only Crianza, as though Bosconia and Tondonia are too precious to waste on the workhorse wines that most people drink. This shows savory, relatively simple red fruit and vanilla, soft tannins, juicy acidity. Very classic in form and character, after some airing it shows hints of smoked meat.

Cubilio, Crianza, 2005

This is more mature on the nose, naturally, even evocative, with notes of balsamic vinegar. The palate is not much more evolved, it even feels youthfully sweet. Most of the wines were opened just before being poured, per the winery's recommendation. Given the large number of bottles tasted, we did not have enough time to give the wines enough time to develop in glass.

The Red Reserva Flight

The Reservas are aged long enough to be considered Gran Reservas by Rioja law.

Tondonia, Reserva, 2001

I'm uncomfortable making judgement on this. I got light TCA immediately, and while I may be wrong on a lot things, I always get TCA. I've drank the 2001 in the past, so I know it's good and the proof is that even the TCA couldn't obscure the lovely crushed fruit and mellow, mature complexity.

Tondonia, Reserva, 2002

2002 is considered such a bad vintage that for the past six years I've seen the same bottle of Artadi Pison 2002 up for sale at 50% discount at the Tel Aviv Wine Route branch with no buyers. Nonetheless, this is very good and shows exactly the mellow complexity I expect from a mature Reserva. 

Tondonia, Reserva, 2005

Because the TCA issue, this turned out to be the best of the lot, the aromatics the most elegant and complete. Like all the Reservas, It is still on the fat and sweet side. I’d let my bottle rest another 5-10 years. Having said that, it was a hedonistic delight with the jamon.

Bosconia, Reserva, 2005

The winery rightfully claims this is Burgundian in style, hence the bottle shape. I prefer it to the Tondonias, at this point at least, the body being a little leaner, the aromatics more in the direction of cooked vegetables and balsamic vinegar. 

The Weird Solo Flight

Tondonia, Gran Reserva Rosado, 2000

Nail polish remover and barely alive on the palate. I drank the same wine five years ago and enjoyed the experience, but even though it was released around 2010, I don't think even the winery meant for it to be drunk this old.

The White Flight

The white wine flight was my favorite. Rioja whites are not my immediate choice, but these I enjoyed a ;ot.

Gravonia, Reserva, 2004

An oxidized, herbal style. If you accept the style, and I do, it’s really a lovely, expressive wine. 

Gravonia, Crianza, 2007

This is a very appealing contrast. It's less oxidized, which allows the minerals to take center stage and tones down the sweetness of the fruit. 

Tondonia, Reserva, 2004

The best of all worlds. A fresher style, despite the age, with fine focus. Just a hint of oxygen, but mostly about minerals. 

Tondonia, Gran Reserva, 1991

Harnessed wildness and a great wealth of mineral aromas and intensity of lime and saline flavors. This is my third bottle. The second was just nice, but the first time, and now this, are truly, unquestionably unique experiences. An Iberian Corton-Charlemagne.

The Grand Flight

Tondonia, Gran Reserva, 1994

And the reds have arrived. This is regal and fresh in the nose, focused on the palate, tannins, acidity and fruit well balanced, with no fat. 

After the three decade mark, there are no great wines, only great bottles. For the final flight, Eldad brought out two bottles from bodegas I don’t think exist anymore. Along with a bottle from Tondonia, these were relics from a bygone age, harvested around the time of A Hard Day's Night and released after the Beatles broke up.

Grand Condal, 1964

The nose would not appeal to everyone, with the fruit deep in the outfield and showing iron, rust, sea water. Alive in the palate, with savory sweetness, fruit married with brine, tannins still there. Not very complex, the enjoyment is derived from how aged has transformed the fruit.

Agessinmo, 1964

Maderized, but still alive - although the Grand Condal has survived the havoc of Time much better. I don't really have a lot to say about it.

Tondonia, Gran Reserva, 1964

Teetering on the brink of death, initially there are nice notes of cigar box, but lacks oomph and conviction. And then the oxygen takes over.

Tondonia, Gran Reserva, 1981

Wine Of The Night and it knows it, with the tempered savoriness of virile middle age. A better show than a bottle two years ago, which proves my point about this being a game of great bottles and not great wines.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Might As Well Face It, You're Addicted To Wine - Apr. 2018

Tzora, Shoresh, 2016*

When you drink such a young wine at this level of quality, all you can really get at first is a sense of the balance of the prerequisite elements (fruit, tannins, acidity), but the soundtrack can be mute. Or overwhelming. Which is how good wine tasters make their reputation, by amplifying or filtering the soundtrack for the audience. I'm not good enough to give you an easy comparisons with previous vintages (although it's a safe assumption it would be a better wine than the 2015, given the weather conditions of that year). I can tell you a few things, though. One is that you get the dust and earth and minerals that are the trademark of this quality red - although you do need a couple of hours of airing to get to it. Secondly, that "balance of the prerequisite elements" which I mentioned above is fine indeed. Finally, I'd like to share a thought that this wine sparked, although it's not strictly about this wine.

I used to think of myself as an Old World guy. I'm not sure what that means, really. I suppose it means I'm supposed to prefer an austere, rusty nails kind of wine that needs a couple of decades to soften. Nowadays, I think I'm basically a Francophile who likes reserved wines, not necessarily austere wines. And I do love fresh, vibrant youngsters.

If you took a bottle of Shoresh back to the 19th century in a time machine and offered it to the owners of the Bordeaux chateaux that invented the Old World "austere, rusty nails kind of wine that needs a couple of decades to soften" style... wait, they didn't invent it, not really, that was usually the best they were able to make, given the vagaries of the weather and the technology they had. Anyway, if you gave them a bottle of Shoresh to drink you know what they'd say? That this is the wine they'd love to make - if only the weather was better and they could get their workers to harvest the grapes fast enough and clean the barrels well enough - better yet, if they could afford better barrels. 

I guess that's why they blended Hermitage into their clarets under the counter. (Apr. 13, 2018)

160 NIS.

* The white Shoresh 2017 also rocks and as usual is a tasty combination of vaguely tropical fruit and vaguely salty minerals. The end result is not vague at all, though, but delivers a flavors and presence with great precision.

Now on to the rest of this month's wines.

Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre Rouge, 2015 

More delicate than even the lightest of Bourgognes, this would make a Volnay seem like a Pauillac. (Apr. 2, 2018)

A lovely deal at 2 for 300, unless you need obvious fruit extract to feel you've gotten your money's worth.

Château Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, 2009

This is the first tasting note the chateau itself would have you see for this wine on its site:

"Very beautiful deep garnet-red colour with a complex, charming bouquet featuring roasted and toasty aromas as well as hints of black fruit and vanilla"

Why would anyone boast of roasted and toasted aromas and only hints of black fruit? I guess they're trying to lure in American consumers. At least they're honest. The toasted oak bothers me, but there's good acidity and savory fruit in there as well, more than a hint, which may overcome the oak in time. (Apr. 6, 2018)

180 NIS in futures at Wine Route.

Domaine Fourrey, Chablis Premier Cru, Mont de Milieu, 2015 

A humdrum showing this time. Lives up to the Chablis paradigm without any undue excitement, although I found it creeping up towards excitement with age. (Apr. 7, 2018)

Luis Pato, Beira Atlântico, Vinhas Velhas (Branco), 2016 

This is already at what I take to be its peak, where it plays like pineapples roasted with Atlantic salt, savory with only hints of tropical character. (Apr. 8, 2018)

Royal Tokaji Wine Co., Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos, 2013 

This is a minor marvel. Not a great wine, because the acidity is on the low side and the dusty/spicy botrytis jabs without a lot of finesse. But it's such a tasty treat, sheer liquid marmalade really , and what pedigree! An aszú 6 puttonyos at 20 euros is a steal even with no fancy vineyard designation. (Apr. 11, 2017)

Markus Molitor, Mosel, Bernkasteler Badstube, Riesling Kabinett (Green Capsule), 2015 

There is something atypical about the profile here. Its definitely Riesling, the taut acidity bracing the sweetness of the fruit is definitely German, but I'm not sure I'd have gone for Mosel blind. It almost seems like a kabinett version of Grosse Gewaches, rocky aromatic veneer married to a lithe frame. I might have said Pfalz or Baden given its notes of guayavas and salt. (Apr. 12, 2018)

Wine Route, 130 NIS.

Sphera, Chardonnay, 2016

Like its peers in the top tier of Israeli Chardonnays (Lewinsohn, Tzora), this proves that Israel is capable of providing flinty, saline whites. Doron Rav Hon has been very consistent throughout the entire lineup since day one and the wines are always very balanced and pure. Most need a year or two to take the edge of an initial bitterness, though. (Apr. 14, 2018)

Guimaro, Galicia, Ribeira Sacra, 2016 

The bare facts: Guimaro means "rebel". It is a twenty year old winery from one of those Spanish hinterlands whose recent rise to fame is so new it makes Priorat seem as ancient as the Cote d'Or. It is the lovechild of one Pedro Rodríguez. This is the unoaked, entry level red, made of Mencia, which some claim shares the same DNA as Cabernet Franc. And it is actually as lithe and moreish as as any young Loire red. A wholesome wine, winsome for its lightness, pure red fruit and sheer pleasure factor. The Wine Advocate, aka Public Enemy Number 1, scored the 2015 vintage a 91. Maybe the old man wasn't such a villain, after all. (Apr. 16, 2018)

Fat Guy - the introductory price, 75 NIS, was also a pleasure.

Guimaro, Ribeira Sacra, Finca Meixeman, 2015

This is the first single vineyard wine Rodriguez made and it is rife with flowers. Floral and athletic, but not quite gelled yet. I feel disappointed after the regular Ribeira Sanca and I can't really pinpoint why, besides a generic "too young". (Apr. 26, 2018)

195 NIS.

Prunotto, Barbaresco, 2012 

Is Prunotto underrated? Overlooked? I almost never see Prunotto mentioned in articles about Piedmont. Or on my Facebook feed. Only one friend has ever brought a bottle to a tasting. This is lovely, structured without being severe, fairly complex even at this young age. It's just well made, without pretension. It's in a good place,rusty and savory, playing off dust and spices more than fruit. I should really try and find a cru, now.

P.S. The cork is gorgeous, too. (Apr. 17, 2017)

HaKerem, 155 NIS.

Zarate, Rías Baixas, Albariño, 2016

Albariño crops up so often in my online wine reading material that I have already pegged it as the hipsters' darling. Why else would even Wine Route start importing it? Zarate, the latest addition to  Eldad Levy's portfolio is even better, marrying the green apples, lime and understated exoticism of the best of the Iberian whites with salty, marine aromas. (Apr. 19, 2017)

80 NIS.

Verónica Ortega, Bierzo, Quite, 2016

Bierzo also seems to be trendy these days. But forget trends and think about this: an entry level wine made of sixty year old vines? That's not something you run into a lot. This is very fresh and vivid, a marriage of fruit and minerals that reminds me of Beaujolais - although the specifics of the saline flavors on the finish and the silky texture have no parallel in that area of France. (Apr. 21, 2018)

79 NIS.

Vitkin, Grenache Blanc, 2016 

I'd heard rumors this was the best Grenache Blanc from Vitkin yet. This is true.Very true. Intense aromas of flint and matchsticks patched unto peaches and lemons, the palate echoing that, with a hint of sensual fat counterpointing a touch of quinine. (Apr. 24, 2018)

There's a red too, you know.

Vitkin, Grenache Noir, 2015

The debut was a tough act to follow, and no one considers 2015 a good vintage in Israel anyway. It doesn't have the cool, floral flair of the 2014, but rather more typical candied fruit and earth. Also, it's shorter than the 2014.  (Apr. 27, 2018)

Christophe Mignon, Champagne Brut Nature, n.v.

100% Pinot Meunier by a Vallee de la Marne producer. Chalk and flowers and a mushroom broth that always seems to me to come from Pinot. The fruit is ripe enough to feel full even with zero dosage, but that ripeness doesn't really coalesce with the acidity right now. I don't think that has to do with the quality of the fruit or winemaking, but is rather a matter of age. This 2012/13 blend just needs a couple of more years. I was impatient to try it out and it had been a couple of months since my last Champagne, so... (Apr. 25, 2018)

40 euros.