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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

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.