'Grande Cuvée is no more, but one of the great champagnes of recent times has not gone quietly into the night. Its final vintage just keeps getting better, returning for yet another rousing encore this year. At a full 15 years of age, Grande Cuvée has grown into an iridescent gleam of yellow straw. Its core of white fruits of all kinds remains rock solid, supported by thick orchestral scoring of toasty complexity and reductive, flinty gunpowder. Tightly wound and enchantingly focused, it unravels in freezeframe slow motion to reveal delicate layers of nuance, all the while tightly hugging rails of crystallinepure acidity. It rises on the finish with outstretched magnificence, an epiphany of relentless persistence underlined by consummately finespun, deepset textural presence that froths and foams with seasalt minerality. Billecart’s resolve to redirect its top fruit to Nicolas François Billecart, at onethird of the price, is certainly noble, but Grande Cuvée will forever be missed. Farewell, old friend.'