Posts tagged ‘Corison Cabernet Sauvignon’

Cliffs Wine Picks – My Top 10 Wines of 2013

 

Here are the top wines I sampled or drank in 2013.  It was a hard task since narrowing the list down to only 10 wines since I had tasting notes on well over 500 wines this year.

 

These wines were selected based purely on how much I enjoyed them.  Unfortunately, since most of the wines I open have been in my cellar for a number of years, they are not available to purchase today in the normal retail market.  Some are probably available on the auction sites, like WineBid.  If you are interested in any specific wine, let me know and I can help you track down a bottle.

 

I have another list that will come out in the next week or two of only wines that I purchased in 2013 that cost under $20.

 

 

top10

 

 

10 – 2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi – $50.99

I bought this wine after trying it at a tasting event at a local store.  I liked it at that time, but knew it would be immensely better with some extended cellar time.  I was able to ignore the bottle for the better part of a decade.  It’s time to see if the wait was worthwhile.  I should note, I am generally more of a Barbaresco fan than Barolo.

This is listed at 14.0% alcohol by volume and is sealed with a natural cork.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color with a slight brick tint.  The nose on this wine is absolutely stunning, full of black cherries, minerals, roses, violets, mint, licorice, tar, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the fruit and savory elements take turns strutting their stuff with the savory notes eventually grabbing the show with the fruit providing nice background sweetness.  The finish is very long with some earthiness entering the picture.  No hurry on this one, it improved constantly until the bottle was prematurely empty.  (95 pts)

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

2000 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Costa Grimaldi

 

 

 

9 – 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard – $38.00

This will by my first bottle of wine from the winery using grapes from the outstanding Monte Rosso Vineyard.  Owner/wine maker, Morgan Twain-Peterson was able to secure grapes from the same block his father Joel used to create the outstanding wines for his old winery, Ravenswood.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep purple color.  The stunning nose is full of brambly berries, minerals, violets, fresh ground black pepper, toasty oak, vanilla, melted licorice, freshly ground dark roast coffee, and a touch of dark bittersweet chocolate.  This full bodied gem has moderate to solid tannins and very nice acidity.  On the palate, layers of fruit, spice, and savory elements take turns engulfing the taste buds, trying to out do each other.  The finish is extremely long and again reveals new layers every few seconds.  This is obviously on the young side and even though it will last in the cellar through the end of the decade, it is absolutely stunning right now.  (95 pts)

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard

 

 

 

8 – 2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala – $35.00

I opened this wine to participate in an online winechat about the wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.  Everyone has heard of Ridge, but there are loads of other wineries in the region making outstanding wines.  As I’ve said in the past, I think Big Basin is one big score from one of the major wine reviewing periodicals away from appearing everyone’s radar.  I’ve been a big fan of Big Basin’s Syrah wines and blends for a few years.  I would highly recommend checking them out.  This is mainly Syrah with a small percentage of Cabernet in the blend. I believe I read this is made up of 6.5 barrels of Syrah and 1 barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby to purple color.  The explosive nose is full of blackberries, cassis, smoke, dark bittersweet chocolate, charred meat, melted licorice, vanilla, warm baking spices, and violets.  This is full bodied with moderate to solid ripe tannins and good acidity.  The wine grabs hold of your palate unleashing wave after wave of lush fruit, spice, and savory notes in unrelenting layers.  The finish is very long, almost seeming to never end with very nice fruit slowly giving way to dark chocolate and then nice meaty elements and earthiness.  The extra time in the cellar has been rewarded in this case.  There is no hurry on this one, it should hold for at least a few more years.  (95 pts)

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

2007 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala

 

 

 

7 – 2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon – $34.50

One of my favorite, value priced, Napa Cabernets.  Every vintage Cathy Corison seems to put out a wine that is a lot better than the competition at the same price point.  The winery never seemed to be a media darling, but the changes at the Wine Advocate lead to a new person reviewing the wines, and he seems to appreciate the wines a lot more.  These aren’t wines meant for immediate enjoyment, they need a few years in the cellar to help them transform into something magical.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The nose is one of those I can sit and just smell and be happy, at least for a little while then I have to take a taste.  The rich and sophisticated nose has cassis, cherry, melted licorice, dried herbs, well worn leather, spice box, tobacco, minerals, and just a bit of smoke.  This has a medium body, ripe, mostly integrated tannins, and very good acidity.  This has nice, rich and spicy fruit on the palate with dried herbs, tea leaves, and a touch of earthiness adding considerable depth and complexity.  The finish is very long and lingering with the spicy fruit and dried herbs seeming to last forever.  This was a killer bottle of wine that is in its prime drinking window.  This should last for at least a couple more years in the cellar, but if you have multiple bottles, give one a try now.  (94 pts)

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

6 – 2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley – $30.00

This is quickly turning into one of my favorite wines.  I bought a case and this is the third bottle I have opened.  This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, and 6% Petit Verdot.  The number in the wine name indicates the percentage of Cabernet Franc in the blend.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby to maroon color.  The outstanding nose has cassis, cedar, dried herbs, licorice, baking spices, smoke, tobacco, minerals, dark bittersweet chocolate, and cherries.  This had medium body with fairly solid, ripe tannins and very nice acidity.  The palate has a wonderful blend of fruit and savory elements with everything in balance and harmonious.  The long, lingering finish has nice spicy cassis and dried herbs with just the right amount of spicy oak adding to the profile without being too obtrusive.  I love this wine.  (95 pts)

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

2007 Jacob Franklin Mon Chou #50 Napa Valley

 

 

 

5 – 2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard (SRP $65.00)

This was a winery supplied sample.

Ferrington Vineyard is home to our only Anderson Valley Chardonnay site as of 2012.  Located near Boonville, on the same side of Hwy 128 as Deer Meadow, Ferrington was originally planted in the late 1960s.  The 70 acre site is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer on decomposed sandstone and clay soils.  In 2010 we entered into a contract to purchase about two tons of Robert Young clone of Chardonnay, and the first vintage yielded just over 100 cases.  Ferrington was purchased by the Schoeneman family in 1997 and it has since become one of the most sought after sites in Anderson Valley.  We gained access to Pinot Noir from this site starting in 2012.

 

Technical info

The grapes were harvested for this 100% Chardonnay on October 18, 2010.  This was barrel fermented and aged sur-lie for 14 months in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new.

The final alcohol is 14.6%.

 

Tasting note

The wine is a very light yellow to golden color.  The very exotic and inviting nose has apples, flinty minerals, lemon curd, lime zest, Asian spices, hazelnuts, and a touch of toast.  This has medium body and tart, citrusy acidity.  Bright apples and citrus greet the palate with minerals, spice, hazelnuts pouring in over the top and from all sides.  The finish is very long with the spicy, citrus driven, fruit and spice seeming to never totally fade away, leaving a nutty, lemony note.  This is incredibly young at this time and will improve with some cellar time.  One of the best California Chardonnay wines I’ve ever had the pleasure to drink.  This is stunning.  (95 pts)

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard

2010 La Rochelle Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard

 

 

 

4 – 2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man (SRP $35)

This was another winery supplied sample.  All of the wines from Northwest Totem Cellars were outstanding, but this one stood out as having that “something” that made it special.

This is a blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot from the Columbia Valley.  This has 14% ABV.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a nice deep ruby red color.  The enticing nose has blackberries, cherries, warm baking spices, leather, white pepper, minerals, violets, vanilla, dried herbs, and just a touch of cedar.  This has medium body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  This wine is delicious on the palate.  Nice berries and cherries start the show but are quickly joined with sweet vanilla, spices, and a touch of dried herbs.  The finish is long and nuanced with layers of fruit and savory notes finally giving way to a nice closing note of dried herbs and cherry.  For a very young Bordeaux blend it is stunning, with perfect balance.  I’m sure this will be better with some cellar time, but it will be hard to resist.  (95 pts)

2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man

2009 Northwest Totem Cellars Low Man

 

 

 

3 – 2008 Saxum Broken Stones – $75.00

Saxum.  There are more expensive wines coming out of California, but is there a more popular mailing list out there?  I remember a glitch in their system allowed people to place their orders before the actual e-mails were even sent.  The wines sold out almost immediately.  Since that time, the wines have gone up in price considerably but still sell out.  This wine is a blend of 79% Syrah, 13% Grenache and 8% Mourvedre.

The wine has 15.6% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork and a wax seal.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The intoxicating nose is full of blackberries, minerals, black pepper, blueberries, dried flowers, toasted Asian spices, roasted herbs and vanilla.  This has a full body, moderate to solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate spicy, mineral driven fruit grabs hold and slowly relents to allow black pepper and roasted herbs to slip though.  The finish is very long and layered with a nice candied violet note coming into the picture.  This is on the young side but absolutely stunning with some air.  (96 pts)

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

2008 Saxum Broken Stones

 

 

 

2 – 2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – $60.00

I guess you can call this a Social Media relationship.  I learned of Jean Edwards Cellars via Twitter.  I read their Tweets and started following them, luckily they followed me back.  Over the last couple of years we have exchanged jokes and Tweets about just about everything.  I was finally able to order a few bottles of their wine, and after giving a bottle a good 15 minutes to recover from the trip half way across the country, I popped the cork.  I am now a big fan and I spread their name to anyone who will listen to me.  I highly encourage you to check out their website and join their mailing list.  These are two very nice people making some of the best wine in the Napa Valley.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The absolutely stunning nose has cassis, melted licorice, dried herbs, cedar, wild flowers, tobacco, and warm baking spices.  This has medium body, fairly solid silky tannins, and very nice acidity.  This is rich and plush on the palate with cassis and baking spices up front with dried herbs and spicy oak coming in on the back end.  The finish is very long, seeming to never totally disappear and full of rich fruit and spice.  This has the balance to age gracefully for several years but it is absolutely irresistible today.  (96 pts)

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

2007 Jean Edwards Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard

 

 

 

1 – 2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra – $37.00

I had a bit of this wine several months ago at a friend’s house and thought it was outstanding, but didn’t take an official tasting note.  Since I have a few bottles, it seems like a perfect time to open one and spend an evening with it to see how it tastes.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky, purple color.  The spellbinding nose has charred meat, blackberries, smoke, roasted herbs, blueberries, black pepper, vanilla, licorice, minerals, Asian spices, and dark chocolate.  This has medium to full body, ripe and velvety tannins, and good acidity.  The palate on this wine is out of the world with the berries, roasted herbs, and black pepper slowly giving way to spicy, meaty elements and dark chocolate.  The finish is extremely long and highlights the spice, meat, and roasted herbs.  This is the complete package.  Outstanding!  No hurry on this one, it has years of life ahead of it.  (96 pts)

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Liandra

 

 

 

Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.

 

If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.

 

Cheers!

 

This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

Breaking news from Klout:

Klout

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

Cheers!

Jan 18, 2013 to Jan 20, 2013

 

 

2004 Carlisle Two Acres – $32.50

 

My comments

I decided it was time to open a Carlisle to celebrate their newest offer hitting the inbox earlier in the week.  I’ve been a big fan of this wine for several years.  This is a blend of 85% Mourvèdre, 12% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignane, and 1% Alicante Bouschet from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.

 

Winery history

We are a small Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and petite sirah).  While we like our wines to be bold, rich, and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, pleasure.

 

Rich.  Lusty.  Hedonistic.  These are some of the descriptors we often hear applied to our wines.  However, we also hear the words elegant, balanced, complex.  Yes, through hard work in the vineyard and winery, we believe you can have it all, the best of both worlds.  Our approach to winemaking is simple, yet difficult.  We prefer to intervene in nature’s process as little as possible but we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to maximize the quality of each wine we produce.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The intoxicating nose has cherries, plums, earthy underbrush, violets, leather, smoke, tobacco, dark chocolate, and a touch of licorice.  This has a medium to full body with fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate the earthy cherries and plums lead the way with dried herbs and spice providing the follow up.  The finish has decent length but is losing some of the richness and oomph and a touch of alcohol is beginning to poke through.  This still tasted very nice, but I think is has started on the downhill path.  (90 pts)

2004 Carlisle Two Acres

 

 

 

2008 Tre Donne Barbera d’Alba d’Arc – $14.24

 

My comments

This was a new wine for me.  This was one of several wines the local wine store brought in just for a blow out sale.  I’ve been a big fan of Italian Barbera wines for a number of years.  These wines generally have nice, bright, red fruit with some spicy earthiness and a boat load of acidity.  These are generally one of the most food friendly wines around.

 

Winery history

As much as Alessandro Lequio loved his daughters, in staying with Italian traditions, there was no way he was going to hand over the family vineyard to women.  (According to his wife, Donna Bruna, Alessandro actually cried for half-an-hour when their third and final child, Daniela, was born!)  Four generations of fathers had handed the estate down to their sons, and even though he hadn’t had a boy, Alessandro would be damned if the family business was going to be run by the fairer sex.  “Marry a good winemaker,” he would tell them.  Just as stubborn as their father, the sisters all staunchly refuted this notion, and assured him that he would be handing the estate over to them one day… In the end (and presumably tired of arguing), everyone agreed to a “do-or-die” wager, and literally bet the ranch; deciding he could trick them into failure, Alessandro agreed to give the gals everything if they could pass three years of his rigorous tests, culminating in a single vintage of wine which he, himself would judge.  To everyone’s surprise, the Sisters never gave up, and moreover, they actually won more awards in their first year of production than Alessandro had in his entire career!   True to his word, their papa changed his tune and turned the estate over to his daughters.  He was so deeply impressed, he even allowed them to change the name to “Tre Donne”–which means “Three Women.”

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a touch darker than ruby red.  The elegant nose has black raspberries, melted licorice, warm baking spices, dark chocolate, a touch of mint, minerals, and some subtle earthiness.  This has medium body, soft, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate has rich, spicy berries up front with more spice, mint and earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish has decent length with the fruit turning a bit more tart and a faint herbal note coming into the picture.  A bit fuller body and darker fruit than your usual Barbera.  This would be good with a big, meaty pasta sauce, but may be too big and have too little acidity for a lighter marinara sauce.  Different, but enjoyable.  (90 pts)

2008 Tre Donne Barbera d'Alba d'Arc

 

 

 

2009 Pierre Amadieu Côtes du Rhône Roulepierre – $8.95

 

My comments

I grabbed a six pack of this wine after having a sip at a tasting.  At the time, I noted it needed a year in the cellar.  Well, it’s been 13 months, time to pop one.  This is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah.

 

Winery history

Our history begins in 1929 when my grand father decides to bottle and trade under the signature Pierre Amadieu his wine coming from the 7 hectares (17 acres) of vineyard in Gigondas passed on by generation to generation.  He is then one of the firsts to print the name of the appellation on his bottles and obtains from 1932 a golden medal in the National Agricultural Concours of Paris.

 

I am presently on the head of the company and I am in charge of winemaking and maturing.  I work with my uncle Claude who runs the vineyard.  Together we follow the familial way of thinking by respecting soils and traditions in order to make you share wines faithful to the quality ambition of our grandfather and by adding a note of modernity in order to delight the most demanding and the most curious palates.

 

I am not a follower of over-extracted wines and often “heavy” to taste; my ambition is rather to obtain well-balanced wines with a Burgundy fineness.  Through the maturing I try to reveal all the elegance and the richness of our protected terroirs located on the heights of the appellation Gigondas.  From vines to the bottling patience and observation are required.  Today appreciated all over the world, every vintage reserves its subtleties which I am happy to subject to your appreciation.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby red color.  The open and inviting nose has blackberries, black cherries, minerals, dried herbs, spices, black pepper, and a bit of earthiness.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate spicy, peppery, mineral laden fruit takes center stage with dried herbs and some earthiness coming in on the back end.  The finish is a touch short but very flavorful.  A bit of additional cellar time may help the finish fill out a bit.  This was an absolute steal for the $9 I paid.  (89 pts)

2009 Pierre Amadieu Cotes du Rhone Roulepierre

 

 

 

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon – $34.50

 

My comments

One of my favorite, value priced, Napa Cabernets.  Every vintage Cathy Corison seems to put out a wine that is a lot better than the competition at the same price point.  The winery never seemed to be a media darling, but the changes at the Wine Advocate lead to a new person reviewing the wines, and he seems to appreciate the wines a lot more.  These aren’t wines meant for immediate enjoyment, they need a few years in the cellar to help them transform into something magical.

 

Winery history

Winegrower Cathy Corison produces artisanal Cabernet Sauvignon that speaks of place, sourcing great benchland vineyards between Rutherford and St. Helena in the NapaValley.

 

The Corison Winery, in its timeless Victorian-style barn, is situated in the heart of Cathy’s beloved Kronos Vineyard.  With eight acres planted exclusively to St. Georges rootstock, Kronos is a historic treasure.  As one of the last old Cabernet Vineyards in the NapaValley, it is one of the few vineyards to have produced world class fruit continuously for more than four decades.  Farmed organically and growing on gravelly loam soils, the gnarly old veterans produce scant yields that result in wines of rare concentration and refinement.  They are juicy with blackberry and plum fruit and complex with a mineral note and exquisite violet perfume.

 

Cathy Corison’s wines are noted for their consistency and impeccable balance.  Powerful and elegant at the same time, they grace the table and enjoy a long, distinguished life.  The 2012 harvest marks Cathy’s 26th vintage of Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep ruby red color.  The nose is one of those I can sit and just smell and be happy, at least for a little while then I have to take a taste.  The rich and sophisticated nose has cassis, cherry, melted licorice, dried herbs, well worn leather, spice box, tobacco, minerals, and just a bit of smoke.  This has a medium body, ripe, mostly integrated tannins, and very good acidity.  This has nice, rich and spicy fruit on the palate with dried herbs, tea leaves, and a touch of earthiness adding considerable depth and complexity.  The finish is very long and lingering with the spicy fruit and dried herbs seeming to last forever.  This was a killer bottle of wine that is in its prime drinking window.  This should last for at least a couple more years in the cellar, but if you have multiple bottles, give one a try now.  (94 pts)

2003 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

***** Shameless Self Promotion *****

 

Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOvQTeGR3-c

 

 

 

Music Corner – A new addition

Some favorite songs/videos (known to pair with good wine)

 

Eric Burdon & War – Spill The Wine

 

Canned Heat – On The Road Again

 

Steppenwolf – Born to be Wild

 

Marshall Tucker Band – Can’t You See

 

Neil Young – Imagine

 

 

 

 

Mailing Lists

 

It was busy earlier in the week with Saxum, Loring, and Carlisle hitting the inbox.  The mailing list action is just starting to heat up. 

 

 

Wines bought or received this week

 

Picked these up at the local wine store:

(6) 2007 Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Blanc @ $6.44

(3) 2006 Sterling Vineyards Merlot Three Palms Vineyard @ $20.89

(1) 2005 Falesco Montiano Lazio IGT @ $28.49

(1) 2008 Tre Donne Barbera d’Alba d’Arc @ $14.24

(1) 2008 C.G. di Arie Petite Sirah Estate Grown @ $15.19

 

 

 

Remember to support your local wine store!

 

 

 

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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.

 

 

Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.

 

 

All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.

 

 

 

Cheers!

 

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