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The 2009 wine, at $4,500 a bottle, was a lot cheaper than the 2015 will be.

Loïc Pasquet is probably the most controversial winemaker in the world. He specializes in making wine the way it was made before the phylloxera epidemic wiped out most of France's grapes in the 19th century. His ungrafted vines bear rare varietals like castets, mancin and pardotte, and he ages his wines in amphorae rather than oak barrels.

Where it stands: In 2015, 500 of Pasquet's precious autochthonous vines were destroyed by vandals who cut them down to the roots; a couple of months later, Pasquet was found guilty of defrauding the European Union of more than $650,000 that he received in aid and grants for promoting his wine, mostly in China.

Driving the news: Pasquet has announced that his 2015 vintage — just 550 bottles in total — will sell for €30,000 (about $34,000) per bottle. He claims that the difference between his wine and his neighbors' is "the same difference as between a 2CV Citroën and a Ferrari."

  • There will be no 2016 vintage, partially because of the vandalism, and no 2017 vintage either, because of frost damage. The 2018 vintage, the first to see no wood at all, might well exceed the 2015 in price.

Why it matters: Pasquet has been extremely successful at selling his wine in Russia and China. There's no other wine quite like it in the world, and it's made in such low quantities that he can effectively name his price. The kind of people he's selling to will see no measurable impact on their net worth after dropping $270,000 on a six-pack of Liber Pater. Instead, they will simply convert money into happiness. It's a well-known phenomenon: The more you spend on a wine, the more you enjoy it.

Go deeper: The rise of non-alcoholic beer

Go deeper

Gunman kills 8 people in shooting at FedEx facility in Indianapolis

A screenshot of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Genae Cook during a news conference Friday morning. Photo: Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department/Facebook

A gunman opened fire at a FedEx warehouse facility in Indianapolis late Thursday, killing at least eight people and wounding multiple others, authorities said.

Details: "The alleged shooter has taken his own life here at the scene," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Genae Cook said during a news conference early Friday.

Dems race to address, preempt stimulus fraud claims

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Biden officials are working to root out the systematic fraud in unemployment and Paycheck Protection Program claims that plagued the Trump administration’s efforts to boost the economy with coronavirus relief money, Gene Sperling told House committee chairmen privately this week.

Why it matters: President Biden just signed another $1.9 trillion of aid into law, with Sperling tapped to oversee its implementation. And the administration is asking Congress to approve another $2.2 trillion for the first phase of an infrastructure package.

8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden close to picking Nick Burns as China ambassador

Nicholas Burns. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat, is in the final stages of vetting to serve as President Biden’s ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Across the administration, there's a consensus the U.S. relationship with China will be the most critical — and consequential — of Biden's presidency. From trade to Taiwan, the stakes are high. Burns could be among the first batch of diplomatic nominees announced in the coming weeks.