Tuesday, April 30, 2019

It's time to give in to canned wine! (featuring Santa Julia Chardonnay, Malbec Rosé, and Tintillo)

Santa Julia Chardonnay, Malbec Rosé, and Tintillo

Canned wine is becoming a big thing and it completely makes sense. It's undeniably the enclosure that keeps wine that you want to drink fresh the freshest. That's how you want your rosé, right?  That's how you want your Pinot Grigio, right? Fresh? And it keeps it pretty refreshingly cold in a cooler when you want to do some illegal drinking on the beach. I live on Cape Cod so this is a very important benefit to the product.

But what about red wine that you don't want to chill and chug? Well, first of all, remember that you don't have to drink it from the can. You can pour it into a glass like you do from the bottle.

Furthermore, the key word to the phrase "ages like a fine wine" is fine. The vast majority of wine produced in the world is meant to be consumed within the first 3 to 5 years and then it starts to decline. Canned wine is definitely intended to be consumed young and the container keeps the fruit characteristics fresher and more lively than bottles do.

So the can is perfect for New World reds in the average consumer's price range because those are generally all about the fruit. Pinot Noir specifically has shown great results from being contained in a can, but also Merlot blends seem to work well too. I'm about to try a Malbec Bonarda blend that was actually made with the intention to be chilled, so that works out perfectly for the can as well!

It's always the young people who start new innovating trends like this, and in this case the young people are very concerned about the current state and future of the environment. Whelp, aluminum is one of the most, if not the most, recyclable materials on the planet with 100% recyclability. Aluminum is also lighter than glass, and that cuts down on carbon emissions during transport. Yes, the environment is absolutely a factor in the canning trend for both wine and craft beer, both in consumer concern and producer concern.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Wine Quickie: Veramar Vineyard "Pink Chicken" Rosé 2018


Ahhh, the first signs of Spring! Robins and Rosé! Virginia's Veramar Vineyard is part of the Bogati Family Wine Group and I've reviewed many of their wines. Their "Pink Chicken" Rosé is made of 100% Chambourcin and it sure is delicious and lively! It's a fuller bodied Rosé with a rich mouthfeel and high acidity. There's aromas and flavors of juicy watermelon, lime, grapefruit, and a pinch of sea salt. On the finish it transitions into a lot of strawberry candy bringing a touch of sweetness, and lime bringing mouthwatering tartness. This is a fun Rosé for those who want more expressiveness, juiciness, and body out of their pink wine.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bas Armagnac Artez Reviews: Three little brandies perched by my doorstep


Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing two wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France, and three Armagnacs by Bas Armagnac Artez. I've already reviewed the wines; Rouge 2014 and Rosé 2017, but now I'm sipping on some Armagnac.

Tariquet alambic
TARIQUET ALAMBIC
IMAGE CREDIT: distilling.com
Armagnac is a brandy from the Armagnac region in Gascony, France, which is just south of Bordeaux. I hate to bring up Cognac every time I talk about Armagnac but it's the easiest way to explain what Armagnac is. Instead of being distilled multiple times like Cognac, Armagnac is distilled just once. Being far less commercial than Cognac, often it's distilled from a still that is brought around from house to house in a wagon called a tariquet alambic. Higher quality Armagnac are distilled in stills called alquitaras. Because of things like this and it's other rules that separate it from its brandy brother, Armagnac is generally more rustic than the elegant Cognac.

Lifted from the tech sheet of these Armagnacs with some edits by myself: Artez is a small Armagnac producer who owns 12 hectares (30 acres) located in the Western part of the Bas Armagnac ("low Armagnac", the western subregion), also known as the First Cru. Even though the eaux de vie (the distilled brandy before it's aged in oak) have been produced at this distillery for many decades, a new owner took over the family business about 20 years ago. The uniqueness of Artez is to produce mostly single varietals Armagnacs, a very rare specialty which requires special skills from the distiller and cellar master.

This little 3 pack of different Armagnacs by Artez will run you about $50, and that's a pretty good deal! So let's crack them open and don't worry about a thing! Because everything little thing's gonna be all right!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Wine Quickie: Acquiesce Ingénue 2018


I had this during a virtual tasting and I missed the specifics of the blend, and it's not like it's easy to look up because this wine hasn't even been released yet. But it appeared as though I was the only one there who wasn't a fan. There's a lot of tropical fruit like pineapple and banana and mango, which I'm not opposed to (that's not 100% true because my first order as world ruler would be to abolish flat head screws, and second to abolish mangoes), but working with other aspects of the wine such as its flat full body, lack of acidity, and lack of character, it just didn't work for me. Everybody else who commented seemed to love it but I just don't want a glass of this.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut Euphorie de Rosé 2017



Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing two wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France,and three Armagnacs by Artez. I've already reviewed the Rouge 2014, today I'm doing the Rosé 2017, and on Sunday I'll be sipping on some Armagnac.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

The 2017 Euphorie de Rosé is a Cotes de Gascogne that's 100% Syrah and has an ABV of 11.5%. I reviewed the 2016 vintage in May of last year.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wine Quickie: Prie Vineyards Carignane 2016


This Carignane out of Lodi is made from fruit off of vines planted in 1900, and dude... it's awesome. It's rather "Zinny", for the lack of a better word, but lacking the things that I don't like about Zinfandel. Its overall character is spicy with candied/dried fruit but still silky and elegant, with descriptors of cranberries, strawberries, leather, and oak. The tannin is soft and dusty, while the acidity brings a nice uplift to the finish. This is a great food wine, especially with grilling season upon us. Outstanding!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Wine Review: Domaine de Magnaut L'eden Gascon Rouge 2014


Thanks to Heavenly Spirits I'm reviewing two wines by Domaine de Magnaut out of Gascony, France, and three Armagnacs by Artez. This is the Rouge 2014, on Thursday I'll do the Rosé 2017, and on Sunday I'll be sipping on some Armagnac.

Paul Scott of Heavenly Spirits says: Domaine de Magnaut is a family owned winery in the Armagnac Tenareze region of Gascony. They also produce Armagnac and Floc. Jean Marie Terraube and his wife run the winery and four diverse vineyards. They harvest Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (for rosé), gros and petite Manseng in all four vineyards. Most of their production is sold from the winery. They are Designated "vigneron Independant".

The 2014 L'eden Gascon Rouge has an ABV of 13% and is 100% Merlot, and you should know by now how much I adore Merlot! So let's taste some Gascony Merlot!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Wine Quickie: Ingénue m2 Vermentino 2018


Vermentino is not really something that I traditionally get excited about. But I'll always get excited about trying wine from places you would never expect it would come from. And this is a Vermentino from Lodi, Calfornia, so that is exciting! And it's pretty friggin' awesome! It's ultra light yellow in color but medium bodied with lower acidity than I expected. Yet it's crisp and clean with light notes of orange, lemon thyme, and spearmint. The orange finish seems to go on forever, which is great because I wish oranges would go on forever and I get sad when I finish one. I really liked it, but my wife liked it even more. So the rest of the bottle is hers.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Distill Wars Episode VIII: Tequila Throwdown! Cuervo Gold vs Camarena Reposado vs Patron Reposado


Welcome to probably the most dangerous episode of Distill WarsTEQUILA!

Back when I was younger I loved tequila. In my early 20's I'd even do some shots just to fall asleep while I transitioned from being a night owl to having to be at work early in the morning. Then in August of 2006 an entire pallet of Jose Cuervo Gold tipped over coming off of a truck and smashed. A lake of Cuervo on concrete baking in the August sun in 100 degree weather all day. Just imagine that. For a long time I couldn't even smell tequila without wanting to purge my lunch.

But those days are done and I'm over it. And here I am with three tequila nips, about to find out which one is better, and most likely black out in the process.

Wallet weight-in
Camarena Reposado: $2.00
Jose Cuervo Especial Gold: $2.50
Patron Reposado: $6.00

The Jose Cuervo is a Gold Tequila while the others are Reposados. So Jose Cuervo is up against some tough competition because it's just a silver tequila that's had caramel coloring added, while the Reposados have actually spent time in oak to earn that color. Can the underdog Cuervo overcome the odds? Pffffft. Not likely.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Wine Quickie: Justin Bogaty Winemaker Series Rosé 2018


The Bogati Family Wine Group is a very good friend of the blog and I've reviewed many of their wines. But today rather than writing a full review, I'm just enjoying the new vintage of their JB Rosé, which is a winery and tasting room exclusive. And holy Jolly Rancher! There’s sour apple, watermelon, and strawberry candy all over this, with a wonderful cracked stone minerality. It’s a fuller bodied rose that’s super juicy and a little sweet with bright acidity and tartness. I am really loving this rosé from Virginia.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Recipe: Ribeye with chimichurri


This recipe was provided by Amayala to pair with their 2017 Malbec, which I did a little wine quickie on the other day for Malbec World Day.

INGREDIENTS:

36 oz ribeye on the bone

For the chimichurri:
2 large tomatoes
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
6 bail leaves
3 oregano bunches
4 crushed garlic cloves
3 tablespoons white vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground chili
Salt and pepper

PREPERATION:

1) Chimichurri

Remove the seeds from the tomatoes and dice. Chop parsley, basil and oregano. Mix diced tomatoes with herbs, garlic, ground chili, salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.

2) Ribeye

Before marinating, score the fat on the ribeye. Marinate the meat in the chimichurri sauce for two hours.

Light and heat the charcoal grill (gas grill can be used instead). Season the steak with salt and pepper. Directly on the flame (or on high heat), sear ribeye on all sides for approximately 5 minutes. Move steak off direct flame to warm area of the grill (or turn flame down to med-heat). Cook until meat reaches internal temperature of 125°F for about 30 minutes.

During cooking, turn steak periodically, and brush with a bouquet of rosemary and the chimichurri sauce.

Remove from heat and let meat rest for 20 minutes.

3) Serve

Thursday, April 18, 2019

TippsySake.com Saké Box #1


Tippsy is basically a wine club for Saké. You can shop around on their site and buy the Saké that you want or you can subscribe to the Saké Box, which is delivered to your door every month with three different Saké. And you, my fellow Wine Stalkers, can use promocode SAKECLUB to get $10 off your first order. So if you like your Saké then go check it out!

To learn more about the history of Saké, read my latest article called Just Brew It, Part One: A brief history of Sake. Because of time, I couldn't make just one big Saké article so the real detailed stuff on how Saké is made will be in Part 2: Making Saké , which should come out in either May or June.

So here we go! Let's try some Saké! First chilled neat and then on the rocks! Don't forget to check out Tippsy  and use that promocode!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wine Quickie: Amalaya Malbec 2017


It's Malbec World Day so I'm here with a Malbec! It's purple in color with aromas of grape juice, back olives, vanilla, and cinnamon. On the palate it's medium bodied with a rather watery mouthfeel, grainy tannin, and unbalanced acidity. There's flavors of black cherries, grape juice, chocolate, and vanilla. The finish is the strongest aspect of this wine and my favorite part because it's big in alcohol and the character of the fruit and spice really intensifies. Overall, this is good. It's not something to hate on but also not something to put your devotion on. It's a serviceable Malbec for the price, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Battleship and Submarine Bottle Stoppers???


I am a grown-ass child.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Wine Quickie: Mettler Estate Grown Pinotage 2016


Pinotage was created in a lab in South Africa and it really has remained a South African thing. However, this is a Pinotage out of Lodi, California of all places! And man is it good! For color it's a dark ruby red with vibrant purple edges. It's medium bodied with soft tannin and balanced acidity with notes of black cherry sauce, black coffee, earth, vanilla, and other baking spices. Then it finishes with black cherries and little bitter but it totally belongs with the character of this wine. This is very much a surprise and a sleeper star of Lodi wine. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Just Brew It, Part One: A Brief History of Sake

A brief history of Sake

Sake brings me right back to 2004 when I was 24 years old and played my most memorable EA Sports NHL franchise season ever. I took the Columbus Blue Jackets, made them even worse, played on the hardest setting, sucked hard for a big chunk of the season, barely made it into the playoffs, and won the Cup in seven games in each playoff series... all while drinking Gekkeikan Sake in a mug on the rocks.

That's not how you think a history of Sake article would start, right? Hey. That's how I learned to appreciate Sake, and now I love it. Recently I had one that goes for $450 retail and it was INCREDIBLE. I just got a package from Tippsy, which is basically like a wine club dedicated to premium Sake, containing three Sakes that I'll be reviewing this coming Thursday. (This was Tippsy Sake Box #1, and there's since been a follow up with Tippsy Sake Box #2)

Even though Sake has the "rice wine" nickname due to its final product similarities with wine such as profile and alcohol percentages, technically it's a beer because it's brewed and made from grain, and in this case the grain is rice. Bud Light, which uses a significant amount of rice in it's production, actually does have a slight Sake flavor.

Sake runs deep in the culture of Japan and Japan runs deep in the culture of Sake. But it actually didn't originate there and it's certainly not staying there. Sake began in China, the indigenous land of rice. And, in today's world, you might be surprised to buy a bottle of Sake that you assumed was Japanese until you flip the bottle over to find that it was actually made in Oregon.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Wine Quickie: Amalaya Blanco 2018


This refreshing white is 85% Torrontés and 15% Riesling out of Salta, Argentina. It's medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel, vibrant acidity, and features white flowers, peaches, pears, lemon zest, grass, and seasalt. The Torrontés is the clearly the dominant grape in overall profile but the Riesling really rounds it out to make it a very satisfying crowd-pleaser. Thumbs up!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Wine Quickie: Michael David Inkblot Cabernet Franc 2016


I do love me some big sticky Lodi fruit by Michael David. They make "stress relief" wine. Come home from a long, tough day and pop open a bottle of Michael David wine and suddenly everything is just fine. The Inkblot Cab Franc is purple in color. On the nose there's a cloud of very fine black table pepper over aromas of blackberries, tomato leaf, mint, and violets. On the palate it's medium bodied with a rich mouthfeel and dusty tannin. There's flavors of big concentrated blackberries, caramel, chocolate, green peppers, and spices. Good stuff, man. I love it. Plus the label reminds me of Watchmen.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Wine Review: Colomé Auténtico Malbec 2017


Malbec World Day is on the 17th of April and I've got five wines from Argentina to review leading up to the big day. I'll doing full reviews on Colomé wines with their 2018 Estate Torrontés, their 2016 Estate Malbec (which I'm reviewing right now), and their 2017 Auténtico Malbec. And I'll also be doing some quickie reviews of Amalaya wines, starting their 2018 Blanco and ending with their 2017 Malbec on Malbec World Day itself. Both Colomé and Amalaya are owned by Hess Family Wine Estates.

Bodega Colomé is one of the oldest working wineries in Argentina, and home to the highest vineyards in the word (expect for recent plantings in Tibet). Based in the Calchaqui Valley, high in the Salta region of northwestern Argentina, Colomé was established in 1831, with vineyards planted at high elevations on original rootstock imported from Bordeaux. Vines from these historic plantings are still bearing fruit today.

The vineyards for the 2017 Auténtico Malbec are over 100 years old and 7,500 feet above sea level. It's produced using old winemaking techniques and doesn't see any oak at any point. Instead, it's aged for 10 months in stainless steel tanks and then 10 months in the bottle. The ABV is 14.5%

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wine Quickie: LangeTwins Aglianico Rosé 2018


You all know that I have sexual feelings for Aglianico. Aglianico was shipped over by the Greeks from Turkey to Italy where it found its true home 2,500 years ago. And here is a Rosé made by that same variety out of Lodi, California. And guys, it's beautiful. Strawberry all day with rhubarb, pink grapefruit, cream, and a bright acidity that all comes together to become a wonderful experience. This falls within the lines of a perfect rosé for me, and I'd love to drink it all summer!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Yes way, Rosé: How the category exploded!

Rosé didn't just explode on the scene in the United States overnight. It took a while. As in, it took a while for us to understand that not every Rosé is White Zinfandel, Mateus, or Lancers. For the longest time we saw pink wine and thought it was sweet sugar wine because of the popularity of what was on the shelves and lack of exposure to other pink wines. And what is probably the #1 thing that I hear the most every single day from customers? "I don't like sweet."

So here's the deal. If it says "Blush" then chances are you've got a sweet, sugary pink wine. Something crazy like 98% of bottles labelled "Rosé" made in the world are technically dry. Tavel in Rhone Valley has been making Rosé forever. And it's not like the popular Provence style that everybody loves now is anything new to the French. But the great masses of wine consumers in the US are just catching on. So what happened? 

I'll tell you what I think happened just by simple observation throughout my years in the industry. It was an outstanding effort in successful long-term sales pitching.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Recipe: Braised Lamb with Roasted Vegetables


This recipe was provided by Colomé to be paired with their Estate Malbec, which I reviewed yesterday. It's ridiculously easy to make and looks freakin' amazing!

INGREDIENTS:

For the lamb:
1 leg of lamb (5 lbs aprox.)
Salt, pepper, rosemary and olive olive

For the roasted vegetables:
2 carrots
2 beets
5 oz green beans
5 oz small red potatoes
3 oz onion
Lemon zest

PREPERATION:

1) Lamb
- Heat oven to 325-350 degrees.
- Prepare the leg of lamb by cutting the sinew and the end of the bone. Make several cuts ½ inch deep along the leg. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes on each side, basting throughout, until lamb is golden brown.

2) Vegetables
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut all vegetables into same size pieces.
- In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt, and lemon zest. Mix well and spread on sheet pan.
- Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

3) Serve

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Wine Review: Colomé Estate Malbec 2016


Malbec World Day is on the 17th of April and I've got five wines from Argentina to review leading up to the big day. I'll doing full reviews on Colomé wines with their 2018 Estate Torrontés, their 2016 Estate Malbec (which I'm reviewing right now), and their 2017 Auténtico Malbec. And I'll also be doing some quickie reviews of Amalaya wines, starting their 2018 Blanco and ending with their 2017 Malbec on Malbec World Day itself. Both Colomé and Amalaya are owned by Hess Family Wine Estates.

Bodega Colomé is one of the oldest working wineries in Argentina, and home to the highest vineyards in the word (expect for recent plantings in Tibet). Based in the Calchaqui Valley, high in the Salta region of northwestern Argentina, Colomé was established in 1831, with vineyards planted at high elevations on original rootstock imported from Bordeaux. Vines from these historic plantings are still bearing fruit today.

Four estate vineyards are blended to make the 2016 Estate Malbec, but it is 100% Malbec. Colomé vineyard (65%) gives the wine its complexity and weight, the El Arena vineyard (25%) gives elegance and freshness, while La Brava vineyard (5%) brings intense ripe fruit, and finally the Altura Maxima vineyard (5%) brings floral and mineral notes with find grain tannins. It spent 15 months in French oak barrels and 6 months in the bottle before release.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Beer Quickie: Birzeit Brewery Shepherds Blonde Pilsner Lager (Palestine)


I love experiencing different things from different places and today I'm lucky enough to drink some beer from Palestine! It's bright amber in color and really just an excellent example of a crisp and refreshing blonde lager with notes of fluffy white bread, caramel, and lemon meringue. I like my beers either malty or bready, and this one features both. And the slightly bitter finish plays great with the malt. Simplistic, easy drinking, poundable. It's available through Terra Sancta Trading.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Video Unboxing: Funko Pop! Game of Thrones #71: Tyrion Sitting on Iron Throne



Ten things to know about Kosher wine

Guest Post by Vicki Garfinkel, VICKIGJ PR.

Bayonne, NJ, April 5, 2019 -- With the Jewish holidays just around the corner (PASSOVER starts April 19th), many people choose to serve wines that are kosher-certified. So, just how different is kosher wine from the non-kosher stuff?

“When it comes to taste, there’s no difference between kosher and non-kosher wine,” says Jay Buchsbaum, Executive VP Marketing and Director of Wine Education at Royal Wine Corp. — the top kosher wine purveyor in America. “In fact, many kosher wines are award winning - beating out their non-kosher competitors for top varietal prizes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and rosés as well.

There’s a common ‘urban legend’ that wine is rendered kosher after being blessed by a Rabbi – that is incorrect. For a wine to be made kosher there are strictly supervised purity guidelines that need to be followed from the moment the grapes enter the winery to when the wine is bottled,” adds Buchsbaum.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Wine Review: Colomé Estate Torrontés 2018


Malbec World Day is on the 17th of April and I've got five wines from Argentina to review leading up to the big day. I'll be doing full reviews on Colomé wines with their 2018 Estate Torrontés (which I'm reviewing right now), their 2016 Estate Malbec, and their 2017 Auténtico Malbec. And I'll also be doing some quickie reviews of Amalaya wines, starting their 2018 Blanco and ending with their 2017 Malbec on Malbec World Day itself. Both Colomé and Amalaya are owned by Hess Family Wine Estates.

Bodega Colomé is one of the oldest working wineries in Argentina, and home to the highest vineyards in the word (expect for recent plantings in Tibet). Based in the Calchaqui Valley, high in the Salta region of northwestern Argentina, Colomé was established in 1831, with vineyards planted at high elevations on original rootstock imported from Bordeaux. Vines from these historic plantings are still bearing fruit today.

The 2018 Estate Torrontés  is 100% Torrontés from the La Brava Vineyard estate at 5,500 feet above sea level in the Upper Calchaqui Valleys of Salta, Argentina. Everything was done in stainless steel and it spent 3 months aging in the bottle before release. I reviewed the 2015 vintage back in 2016.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Clearance Wine Quickie: Fattoria Paradiso Vigna delle Lepri Sangiovese Riserva 2009


Phew! This is supposed to be a quickie so the long-ass name of the wine is enough! Jeez! This is a Sangiovese di Romagna that is now officially 10 years old and it's still drinking just fine. It's medium bodied with tart cherries, blueberries, leather, and cigarette box. There's some surprise strawberry on the finish along with lively acidity and nice chalky tannin still going strong. Very good deal at the discounted price!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The scroll of truth!


Monday, April 1, 2019

April Wine Pick: Chono Single Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Chono Single Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

April is going to be an awesome (and strange) month on the blog! Malbec World Day is April 17th so I've got plenty of Argentinian wines to review leading up to the day. I'll talk a little about the popularity of rosé. Then there's going to be Sake, wines from Gascony, Armagnac, canned wine, recipes, and more original memes. Also, Distill Wars will be making a glorious (and dangerous) return with Tequila.

Oh yes. It's going to be a fun month. And it all kicks off with my Wine Pick!

The Chono winery is named after the Chono tribe of Chile, of which there is not much information available. Charles Darwin said they were one of the bravest native tribes and the only to resist being conquered by the Spaniards. In 1946 writer Benjamín Subercaseaux Zañartu claimed that they were still surviving as an uncontacted tribe.

Chono the winery was founded by Alvaro Espinoza in 2004. Their goal is to make wine from Chile’s most interesting appellations. Each farm is carefully selected, allowing the different varieties to express themselves at their best with all of their varietal character and fruit potential.

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