Associated with Wine and Spirits Magazine’s excellent Top 100 tasting last week (full disclosure: I write for them frequently), was an invitation-only sit-down tasting for local sommeliers and wine-industry types of a vertical of Roederer Cristal, the epic Champagne made so notorious by being the choice of wealthy rap stars like Jay-Z (though he famously disavowed the brand after deeming comments made by its producers as racist). Anyway, I managed to finagle an invite myself and joined the fancy folks at the top of the de Young Museum’s tower, enjoying commanding views of the park and the bay.

The Champagne was excellent. I was actually really impressed with it, seeing that I hadn’t had many tastes since I attended a similar vertical way back in 2000 in Texas. On this occasion, we tried vintages 1988, ‘89, ‘90, ‘95, ‘96, ‘99 and 2000. The older ones are holding up admirably and the younger ones show good potential. My picks for drinking today are 1988 and the 1995—if you can get your hands on them, that is. Jay-Z may have drank them all back in the day.