^p^p ^p The Hanes Wine Review

The December 2014 Edition

[PDF Version Available Here]

Another “just under the wire” effort by Hanes. A December review released in December, there really is a Santa Claus. So, what did 2014 bring in hindsight? Duh, prices keep going up. Hanes is beginning to experience for the first time wineries followed for years closing up shop due to retirement or finances. Hard to accept there will be no new vintages when we all seemed young and hopeful. It’s like Derek Jeter retiring, isn’t he still a rookie? Sigh. In domestic wines the push continues to be “sustainable” or “organic” or at least “balanced and food friendly” as there is a general move away from big, alcoholic wines. But it is not necessarily the case that this new breed [sic] really tastes any better and (a) they are not cheap and (b) Hanes suspects there is still lots of manipulation going on in the winery above and beyond any laudable vineyard practices. In the end most people want wines which taste good to them and we shall see if there are sufficient buyers to support these leaner, less fruit driven domestic wines.

Otherwise, Australian wines are still in the doldrums and do not appear any closer to a renaissance. Not seeing that great expected surge in popularity for Portuguese dry table red or white wines even as the prices generally remain attractive. Spain has had a little pop in popularity. South Africa, no one gives a damn. The explosion in quantity of grower Champagne houses has done nothing to moderate pricing, so much for supply and demand. Sales for Chilean or Argentinean wines appear flat as far as Hanes can tell, still mainly playing in the $8 to $16 range aimed at value shoppers. Honestly, 2014 just was a year where not a lot of exciting new developments occurred in the world of wine. Albeit, those who make their living from creating/reporting news would likely beg to differ.

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This month’s big winners... Christ’s 2013 Gelber Muskateller was well worth the $25 and wins the “Gelber Muskateller of The Year” award for Hanes. Next year we need to make sure there is a second entrant. It’s difficult for Hanes to accept that most of the best Zinfandel wines are now more than $30 if not more than $40 but if price is no object then the 2012 Lagier Meredith “Tribidrag” for $45 is a quite nice Zin with excellent personality. Jura wines are still where it’s at, albeit the baseline is typically $30 and then up. Two 2012 wines from the Trousseau grape are worth exploring, that of both Overnoy-Crinquand and Puffeney. Lovely, lovely. With the latter, get with it more quickly as Puffeney is retiring and has sold his property. Some library releases might become available but basically this is the beginning of the end for acquiring and tasting Puffeney wines, some of the most respected in the history of recent Jura winemaking. Ar.Pe.Pe gets positive press for their wines from Lombardy, Italy and with good cause. Their 2012 basic Rosso di Valtellina is not cheap at $34 but has excellent energy and spunkiness. Having not so much enjoyed Baudry’s “La Croix Boissée” Chinon Blanc in the past there was reluctance to purchase the normal Chinon Blanc bottling. But that was unfounded as the 2013 version was a delightful Chenin Blanc and now Hanes must consider whether or not to spend another $26 to acquire a bottle to age. Decisions, decisions.

The best $20 and under picks... This might be a little late for recommendations under $20, but the Beaujolais Nouveau from Jean-Paul Brun was very good. Remember to look for this producer in mid-November 2015 when the new vintage is fresh and right off the plane or boat. Otherwise, the Lauverjat 2013 Sancerre was enjoyable and fresh and still only about $14, a decided value these days. Hanes always has a special place in his heart for Cederberg’s Bukettraube wine and the 2013 shows again why. Bright, fun, tingly, all those good things and at $16 a good investment of your hard earned coin. If it can be found. Just at $20 we can count the 2013 Nigl Grüner Veltliner “Freiheit” bottling as a value and it is a competent, moderately complex entry level example of the grape.

And the disappointments... Love it when Hanes gets to attend soirees where non wine geeks bring wine. Thus an encounter with the 2012 Holloran “Stafford Hill” Pinot Noir from Oregon. Nothing there worth a second look but did get a first look which otherwise would have never occurred. Costs about $20. Rarely does Hanes encounter a Texier wine he does not like yet so it went with the 2012 Syrah from Saint-Julien en Saint-Alban. Not enough fruit, too much greenness. Such is life, you lay down your $25 and see what the fates bring you. The 2012 Ueberroth Vineyard Zinfandel from Turley is by no means a bad wine and gets a superlative “score” from Hanes but it is still not the best vintage of this most favored bottling and could have had more oomph to it. But the Turley “house style” has been moving away from big, brash wines for some time now, which is not really for the best. Likewise, Hanes is a perennial fan of the Lagier Meredith Syrah from Mount Veeder, however, the 2012 vintage comes off as a bit “hard” and lacking in generosity. Have to consider it a dud just based on the roughly $50 price tag but the Château Le Puy “Marie-Cécile” Sémillon from Bordeaux should have delivered more verve and sense of place with that sort of cost. That’s what Hanes is saying, yo.

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All contents of this electronic mail are copyright 2014 by Marc Hanes. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any format without written prior permission is prohibited.

Unlike those other professional reviews, Hanes only will share what he likes if it is currently available in stores for immediate purchase. If these wines are not to be found in some of your local stores, they suck and that's not Hanes's fault.

If you are interested in reading tasting notes by Hanes on the older (or non-imported) wines he has recently consumed, these notes are gathered here: Older Wine Hanes Has Recently Consumed

If you are interested in reading tasting notes by Hanes on beer he has recently consumed, these notes are gathered here: Beer Chugged by Hanes

Here's the order in which Hanes humbly provides the wine review information:

Winery/Producer Name
Region of Origin, Appellation, Brand Name/Wine Style, Single Vineyard (if any applicable)
Grape Type
Vintage Year, Price Hanes Paid (if available), Alcohol Percentage (if available)
Tasting Notes, Hanes's Numeric Score (on the traditional, yet inane, 100 point scale; which for Hanes truly begins at around 80 points and more or less ends around 94 points)

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And here’s Hanes’s wine reviews for December!


Lagier Meredith
Napa Valley, Mount Veeder, Tribidrag
2012, $45.00, 15.2%
As much flat black as purple in the core, either way it yields to a dried blood red coloration past the core, understated and without saturation. Menthol, mountain pine, black licorice infused nose, metallic earth and boot leather lend some bottom but it stays high pitched throughout the experience, cleansing feel rather than alcoholic burn, cranberry, red cherry fruit scents, ends up like gnawing on a beef jerky. In the mouth it’s full-bodied, smooth and semi-sappy, clings firmly. There is a brawny burst of white grapefruit during the attack which sets the general tone. The tannin has power but restrains itself to allow flow in the cherry, plum, boysenberry fruit. Floral and piney, has lift no doubt. Tangy and sour while smooth, the oak is subtly present, vanilla and caramel swirls. It really gets taut at the finish, very nice nervosity. 91

Sonoma Valley, Bedrock Vineyard
2012, $36.00, 15.3%
The core is purple but not deeply so, further out it’s an alternation between red and pink magenta, overall not all that saturated nor glowing. At first the nose is floral perfume, coconut oil and butterscotch, the blackberry, boysenberry fruit kind of an odd afterthought, even the smoky beef notes seem more forward, overall compact and not especially expressive. Medium to full-bodied, sort of high-toned, mentholated for sure, floral and moderately earthy. Not producing citrusy notes, however, comes across as possessing decent acidity in support of moderate tannin. The blackberry, cherry, elderberry, plum fruit not juicy but has lasting flavor. Here the oak is not as overpowering, caramel, vanilla and toffee in low doses. It makes a bigger splash when first opens and then slowly pulls back with more air time. 90

San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles, Ueberroth Vineyard
2012, $48.00, 16.4%
The purple hue holds down the core and then segues to a straight up blood red through the rims, no magenta, no pink, no day-glo highlights. When first opened the caramel popcorn, coconut and butterscotch dominate the nose then the juiciness of the blueberry, raspberry, boysenberry fruit breaks on through, at once presents a mentholated lift and beef jerky notes, youthfully muscular without clumsiness. Medium-bodied, adds weight from the attack through to the finish, this perhaps due to the steady accrual of tannic punch. Jellied sweetness to the raspberry, blueberry, cherry fruit, adroitly supplemented by coconut custard, vanilla fudge and caramel. The menthol to eucalyptus relieves excess heaviness. The gamey, leathery notes take a step back on the palate. Leaves you wishing it was a bit more “over the top” for sheer fun factor. 90

Bedrock Wine Co.
Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast, Griffin’s Lair Vineyard
2012, $37.00, 14.5%
Given the glow in the purple core it’s not opaque, the rims a beet red color with a likewise strong glow, quite visually entrancing. There’s sufficient cured beef, iron and dried blood to give you momentary pause while enjoying the nose, over time it remains the cherry, blackberry fruit, sweet white citrus and caramel to toffee notes which make the most lasting impact, the floral element moderately muted. Medium-bodied, its smoothness contributes to palate weight and coverage. That said, there is a drying tannic effect which leaves a dusty residue behind, not a stems and seeds sort of tanning. More floral here but the caramel, toffee, butterscotch elevates even more. Ripe and round blueberry, boysenberry, black cherry fruit avoids sugariness. Not getting much beef, leather but the earthiness is okay and there’s a kick of white grapefruit at the end. Maybe it’s kind of chubby now and needs to sleek down to show the proper angles. 88% Syrah, 12% Viognier. 89

Lagier Meredith
Napa Valley, Mount Veeder
2012, $48.00, 14.5%
Fully saturated purple core yet not quite opaque, deep magenta red rims, lively glow and quite clean. Minerally nose, dry and angular presence, pressed flowers, fallen pine needles, horse hide, dollop of molasses and caramel help to tease out the blueberry, blackberry, dark cherry fruit scents, spreads nicely as it lifts. Medium-bodied, tannic and dry, somewhat stern character although there is more than adequate blackberry, boysenberry, cherry fruit, just bound up. Dried orange peels, cedar, potpourri, cumin spice, it all marches with determination more than joy across the palate. This noted, no underripeness nor overt flaws. And the consistent savoriness keeps it alive. If the fruit can hold on until the structure softens it should prove a well balanced wine. 89

Monterey County, Santa Lucia Highlands
2012, $30.00, 13.2%
Semi-opaque purple core, wide ruby red rims, full saturation throughout. Floral nose, muddy earth, wet leather, most violets, clearly it meant to soak into the nostrils, bright blueberry, blackberry, cherry fruit scents, a forest breeze component gives it lift to avoid clunky heaviness. Medium-bodied, muscular lift has it thrust into the mouth, aided mostly by rambunctious acidity. Nuances of pine, lavender pretty up the plum, cherry, blackberry fruit. Rather than soak in it tightens up through the mid-palate, linear and direct. Does have an aspect of bell pepper styled greenness along with leatheriness and a hint of olive. Shows potential for medium term aging. 88


Willamette Valley, Stafford Hill
Pinot Noir
2012, $19.99, 13.5%
Ruby-purple in color, dark but not opaque, slightly on the dull side, more of a pure sunset red around the rims. There’s a smoky, burnt edge to the nose, the ripeness of the cranberry, raspberry fruit cannot mask the tartness, tree leaves and bark, tea leaves, after some time sniffing it the oak more or less knits into the experience. Light to medium-bodied, has a puckering mouth entry, acidic in spades but this also comes by way of a dill-like sour oaky side. Its fizzy texture is a bit perplexing, but it is not an off, compromised bottle. The fruit is nondescript cherry, Italian plum, raspberry. More bark, tree leaves, there’s little embellishment to support any latent sweetness. You need to actively look for a reason to like it. (Composite Cork) 86


Overnoy-Crinquand, Domaine
Jura, Arbois, Pupillin
2012, $31.99, 12.8%
Vivid cranberry color yet has a flat matte for all of its transparency and extension through the rims, soft glow to it. Rips through your nostrils with white grapefruit zest, layers this on top of muddy earth, wet leather, driftwood and pinch of white pepper, the cherry, raspberry scents are hard candy in nature but shy from the spotlight, has a broad lift which is not always friendly. Medium-bodied, dry and tacky in texture, that brawny white grapefruit tries its best to wet the tongue. Peppery, stony, earthy, not minerally. Succinctly ripe rhubarb, cherry, raspberry fruit. Underneath the turbulence is a fluffy florality. It fills out and softens marginally through the finish. Undeniably energetic, love how it scrubs the palate. 90

Puffeney, Jacques
Jura, Arbois, Cuvée Les Bérangères
2012, $33.99, 13.0%
Cloudy crimson red core segues to more magenta along the rims with some pink edges furthest out. In the nose mud, merde and cowhide interplay with strawberry and raspberry jam scents, waft of lemon to orange zest, spreads more openly via a floral breeze, while enjoyable to sniff it arguably needs time to knit it all together and lose some overt funk. Full-bodied, thickly layered texture on the tongue with just above average acidity and mild tannin. The lemon curd and strawberry, cherry, raspberry fruit reduction are solid from attack to finish. Meadow grasses and wildflowers present, on the primary side though. At times you get some additional sweetness from cinnamon or tea leaf accents. Fills the palate, unevolved resulting in blunt ending. 90

Lapierre, Marcel
Beaujolais, Morgon
Gamay Noir
2013, $25.99, 12.0%
Light purple to red-magenta colored core, the rims take on only a vague pink hue, most color lost there. The nose comprised of strawberry and raspberry jam, orange zest, floral perfume, the stony earth and mud build into a strong supporting funkiness, overall there’s a moderate impenetrability to it. Medium-bodied, a touch lighter than expected, as a result the acidity and tannin sort of run the show. You get more grapefruit than orange citrus here. Has stone and dried earth notes, only a light suggestion of minerals now and then. As it opens it smoothes out and extends into a more polished finish. In the end more zesty than sweet, although in no way lacking in raspberry, strawberry, red cherry fruit. Seems like a moderate ager. 89

Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun), Domaine des
Beaujolais, Beaujolais Nouveau l’Ancien Vieilles Vignes
Gamay Noir
2014, $14.99, 12.0%
Pinkish-violet color, crystal clear and close to transparent while well-hued. Crunchy cherry, cranberry, raspberry scents in the nose, stone shards, dried grapefruit pith, hint of mud but clean overall with minimal sugariness. Medium-bodied, taut with very good acidity, ratchets up the sour grapefruit to lemon citrus, biting. The cherry, blackberry, cranberry fruit is still tart but overall darker fruit complexion. The tannin comes through at the finish. Stony, less earthy here, contributes to general hardness. Close to no trace of carbonic maceration until a glimmer of banana you get retronasally. 88

Texier, Eric
Rhône, Saint-Julien en Saint-Alban
2012, $24.99, 14.0%
Squeaky clean and resplendent garnet red to sort of purple colored core, more a pure red at the rims, for all of its shine seems a touch older than it is. In an odd manner the nose takes up space in the nostrils but the depth of scents does not match this, only a basic level of stone, inert earth, cherry to mixed dark berry fruit, dried orange pulp, pressed flowers, rubbing alcohol, just not much going on no matter how many times you sniff it. Medium-bodied, the mouth entry has lots of liqueur-like sweet mixed berry to cherry fruit but, alas, it tapers off very swiftly so that past mid-palate all that is left is stemmy greenness. Stone not minerality. Sour white grapefruit and underripe oranges. Acidity has power, tannin less so but meaner attitude. Too much pucker at the end to relax much. 86


Baudry, Domaine Bernard
Loire, Chinon
Chenin Blanc
2013, $25.99, 12.0%
Dark golden color which pools deeply into the glass, high sheen to the surface too, fat right on through to the rims, very solid and dense looking. Good salinity to the nose, fleshes out with vanilla custard, honey, mandarin orange and beeswax and finally green apple, pear to apricot scents, does not allow its heft to impede nimble movement, ends with oil slick notes. In the mouth it is full-bodied with excellent strength to the acidity, salivating attack. Here the stone and mineral water elements come to the fore, likewise there’s an attractive tartness to the tangerine, orange, lemon citrus. There’s a lot of florality which gets lost in the shuffle. The high wattage extends to the peach, apple, apricot, pear fruit, all snap and pop. Some honeyed sweetness at the end. Energy to spare. 91

Lauverjat, Karine
Loire, Sancerre
Sauvignon Blanc
2013, $13.99, 12.5%
White straw of color, pools into the glass, the solid layering does not interfere with the surface shine, has more visual impact than you might at first recognize. The nose is crushed seashells and chalk with a breezy floral aspect, deceptively soft given its above average penetrating punch, favors green apple and pear over peach, apricot scents. Medium-bodied, sets itself squarely and doesn’t put up with shit, the acidity steadily sucks most of the moisture out of your mouth. While the florality is even larger here, all violets and roses, it is the lemon, orange citrus which pairs best with the textural kick of that acidity. Apple, pear to peach skin favored most, perhaps fling with red cherry. The saline, minerally qualities fill the finish, welcomingly tart. Really, hard to imagine asking more for a Sancerre at this price point in this day and age. (Composite Cork) 89

Janvier, Pascal
Loire, Coteaux du Loir
Chenin Blanc
2013, $17.99, 12.0%
Flat white to yellow hay color, fully clear by the rims, solid block appearance more than reflective shine. In the nose the honey, orange and grapefruit pith, peach to apricot pit, pineapple fruit is not much of a match for the sauna stone, wet smoke and tar elements, comes at you with blunt force, no anger but puts pressure on you right quickly. Full-bodied, you feel the density on the tongue right off, the acidity ratchets up the grip quite a bit. Tart pineapple, nectarine, papaya, star fruit to apricot fruit matches well with the lemon, orange citrus. The smokiness has an acrid to bitter quality as well. Glimmer of florality at the finish line. Tough minded juice but honest and if you appreciate unbridled power, this is up your alley. (Composite Cork) 88

Luneau-Papin, Domaine Pierre
Loire, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Domaine Pierre de La Grange Vieilles Vignes
Melon de Bourgogne
2013, $13.99, 12.0%
Palely glowing golden straw color, transparent without much shine, for what’s there looks solid in the glass. Mint, pressed flowers, lemon water and wet chalk infuse the nose, soft contours this even with just the most basic of peach, apple, apricot fruit scents, demure to the point of nonexistence. Full-bodied, more thick than heavy, has some nimble lift but it never feels light. Honey, licorice, lilacs make for a pretty framing of the entry, then comes mineral water, quinine and stone. More concentration than sweetness in the peach, apricot, pear fruit, lasts well into the finish. The acidity is relaxed, not absent, not aggressive. Has that old vines laconic demeanor, pleasurable in a well acquainted comfortable sense, no surprises. 88

Gahier, Michel
Jura, Arbois, Les Crêts
2010, $21.99, 12.5%
Super cloudy, filmy golden glow, fills the rims, mild green tint adds distinction. Smoky nose, more earthy than doughy, tar and cement, orange marmalade, more punch than juiciness in the pear, green apple, peach fruit scents, gains heft as it warms some. Full-bodied, strong acidity with big overall tang, yeasty but not quite doughy in a sweet, baked goods manner. Tar, sauna stones, cement back in force. Although caramel and honey do soften the mid-palate. The cinnamon is slight, muted baking spice presence. Sour lemon to orange citrus and the pear, apple, pineapple fruit stays keen-edged. Switches gears fairly often and that fruit has sneaky length. At the same time, not always friendly as if that were its nature. 88

Breton, Franck
Loire, Montlouis sur Loire, Coulée des Muids
Chenin Blanc
2010, $20.99, 13.5%
Darkened gold color, looks like apple cider, average luster, the color fills into the rims, looks marginally older than it is. Firm nose of lanolin, beeswax, honey, orange peel and snappy apple, pear, peach fruit scents, warms into lilacs-led floral notes, stream water and white pebbles, warmer it also seems richer with a poached aspect to the fruit and develops a nuance of rubber. Full-bodied, the acidity is above average but not withering. Sweeter, honeyed attack dries out via grapefruit, orange citrus. The stone, chalk a strong, silent partner. Adequate pear, apricot, apple, peach, kumquat fruit. Angular enough to require your focus. Unsure that the fruit level is sufficient for aging. 88

Puy, Château Le
Bordeaux, Vin de France, Marie-Cécile
2013, $49.99, 11.5%
Muted orange core, empty rims, dull overall with slightly below average surface shine. The nose features clove, cinnamon spice and apple juice notes, supported by pear and peach skin accents, streamwater, honey, light floral dimension, overall more fresh than interesting and not particularly longlasting. Medium-bodied, dry and somewhat tacky, lemon juice, mint, you get some vanilla pudding as it settles into the mouth. Basic array of wet limestone or chalk, doesn’t seem all that terroir driven. The acidity is average so it starts to slow down past the mid-palate. Smooth and fluid feel on the whole, apple sauce, pear and underripe peach fruit. Floral finish. Grows on you even though you can’t explain why. 88


Ar.Pe.Pe, Societa’ Agricola
Lombardy, Rosso di Valtellina
2012, $33.99, 13.0%
Bright scarlet red core, vague purplish tint, even more brick red around the rims, while slightly washed out in terms of hue depth still brightly shiny. Smoky, focused nose with cherry pits, hint of strawberry fruit, no lack of matted straw, brown dirt, stones, has big personality but little resonance in terms of broad length. In the mouth it’s light-bodied, the acidity has good kick. Grassy, stony, spotlight on the orange to grapefruit citrus zest. The fruit mainly sour cherry, raspberry to cranberry. Elements of dried rose petals, licorice, saddle soap, leather, rugged in a still mannered fashion, even when offputting you find something pretty about it. Tightly coiled but does unwind towards the finish, no real change in feel even with bottle open for a couple of hours. 90

Cavallotto, Fratelli
Piedmont, Dolcetto d’Alba, Vigna Scot
2012, $16.99, 12.5%
Straightforward purple-red core, takes on a vaguely pinker tint around the rims, clean overall. The nose has punch due to the tart cherry fruit scents, these laid over a foundation of leather, dried mushrooms and earth, not complex and more brawn than nuance. In the mouth it is medium-bodied with string framing acidity. The cherry to blackberry fruit is more sour than sweet, persists fully through the finish. The orange spice, tea leaf, tree bark does not prevent the cherry, mixed berry fruit from staying center stage and adds moderate complexity. The structure keeps it fresh to the end and makes sure you keep noticing it is there. 88


Christ, Weingut
Gelber Muskateller
2013, $24.99, 12.0%
Full yellow hay color, good density, has a noticeable amount of fizz clinging to inside of glass, pales some around the rims, the surface shine can get lost given how solid it looks below. The nose has weight and moves with authority, however, the constituent elements are more inherently light in nature, rose petals, orange blossom, peach, cherry, apple fruit, stream water, better for its lack of complexity, just a steady, enjoyable message. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied, average acidity and overall structure. Citrus dominated, tangerine, white grapefruit to blood orange, tangy upfront and sweeter on the back end. Floral as well, borderline perfumed, yet it is a florality which adds to focus rather than diffuses. Not much stone or mineral stuff going on. The peach, apricot, pear, cherry fruit builds steadily, you hardly notice it until it fills the finish. No “wow” factor but still a wow wine. (Screwcap: VT) 90

Nigl, Weingut
Kremstal, Freiheit
Grüner Veltliner
2013, $19.99, 12.0%
Pale to washed out, the glow keeps the green-white straw hue alive, transparent throughout. Creamy texture to the nose softens the white grapefruit notes, good deal of anise, flowers and a milder vanillin aspect, the wet stone and slate fit in behind the peach, apricot fruit, taking some time to warm and allow the white pepper scents to develop. Medium-bodied, has form contours, the acidity is in the “plus” range. The white grapefruit citrus is huge here, to a lesser extent lemon and sour orange. The white pepper bolder here, same for the minerality. Texturally, there is some creaminess here as well but minor, albeit shows some whipped cream flavors. Without being flashy displays a solid core of apricot, pear, peach, yellow apple fruit. A feisty little drop of wine. (Screwcap) 89


2013, $15.99, 12.5%
Deeper than usual golden hue, solid from core to rims, clear enough but distorts your vision under the surface, leaves minute fizz against the glass sides. For as sugary as the nose is, it is likewise taut and aggressive featuring kumquat, passion fruit, pineapple, nectarine fruit and pink grapefruit and tangerine citrus, light element of chalk or stone dust, the more you sniff the smokier it gets. Medium-bodied, crazy strong acidity, the likes of which you rarely see these days and a better wine for it. There’s a whipped cream and caramel sweetness which momentarily softens the mouth entry. There is as well a confectionary quality to the lime, tangerine, grapefruit citrus. But that acidity remains relentless and the tang in the papaya, pineapple, cherry, passion fruit stings until the end. It’s like staring into the sun, it hurts but you start laughing too. (Screwcap: Savin) 90