What a week.
The MW Residence Seminar is the most intensive week of wine study that I can think of, and if there is something out there that has got more going on with as much high-level studying situations and tastings – let me know. (Although, I seriously doubt there is anything out there quite like this.)
This week was five straight days of study. Each day started early in the morning (7:45am) getting set for your morning tasting grid which involved 12 x blind practical. Then doing the blind grid for 2.5 hours, followed by an hour and a half review of that grid with multiple MWs.
The afternoons were then filled with seminars on various topics of how to approach and write the essays for the various parts of the MW exams. There were also topical seminars on specific wine regions and or grape varieties, viticulture and vinification, etc. And each evening had some event or tasting, often concluding around 8pm or later.
There is a need for stamina in all of this as well as an ability to collect, absorb and download (although this will mostly be done later) the vast amount of information and data presented. There were motivational speeches, relaxing techniques offered, detailed discussions on essay structure, one on ones with MWs and feedback sessions, mock exams, as well as a tremendous amount of opportunity to interact with top-level industry persons and networking.
My week also involved a 45-minute walk to and from the venue each day. This gave me the opportunity to get some exercise before and to decompress after each day’s sessions.
I began the week by attending a tasting the day before the event. This was the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting, which was focused on the 2015 Vintage across Bordeaux. I concluded the week by attending the MW Annual Bordeaux Tasting focused on the 2013 vintage. In between were a ton of other tastings. Here is a simple run down of all the wines I had the opportunity to review and taste through the course of the six days. I did actually taste each of these wines, and in some cases as noted it was in blind situation.
Unions des Grands Crus de Bordeaux - 2015 Vintage
Chateau de Chantegrive
Chateau Carbonnieux blanc
Domaine de Chevalier blanc
Chateua de Fieuzal blanc
Chateau Latour-Martillac blanc
Chateau La Louviere blanc
Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere blanc
Chateau Olivier blanc
Chateau Pape Clement blanc
Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte blanc
Chateau Beau-Sejour Becot
Chateau Le Bon Pasteur
Chateau La Cabanne
Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery
Chateau Marquis de Terme
Chateau du Tertre
Chateau Gruard Larose
Chateau Leoville Barton
Chateau Clerc Milon
Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse
Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal
Chateau Pichon Baron
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Chateau Cos Labory
Chateau Ormes de Pez
Chateau de Pez
Chateau Phelan Segur
Chateau Coutet blanc
Chateau Doisy Daene blanc
Chateau de Fargues blanc
Chateau Guiraud blanc
Clos Haut-Peyraguey blanc
Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey blanc
Mondavi Winery Hosted Opening Dinner
Hosted by Mark de Vere MW, Peter Marks MW, Nova Cadamatre MW (all of Constellation)
Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay Reserve, Carneros, 2015
Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Reserve, Carneros, 2015
Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2015
Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 1975
Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc Reserve To Kalon Vineyard, 2015
Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc Reserve To Kalon Vineyard, 2000
Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon The Reserve, Napa Valley, 2014
Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Napa Valley, 1981
Robert Mondavi Winery Sauvignon Blanc Botrytis, Napa Valley, 2001
12 x Blind
Domaine Remi Jobard Meursault 1er Cru Genevrieres, 2012
Louis Jadot Macon Villages, 2015
Faiveley Meursault, 2013
Simmonet Febvre Chablis Le Clos, 2014
Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Terroir Series, Awatere-Marlborough, NX, 2016
Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, 2016
Domaine de la Commanderie Quincy, 2016
Santa Rita Estates Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca, Chile, 2016
Montborgeau L’Etoile Savagnin, Jura, 2011
Rocky Road McHenry Hohnen Semillon Sauvignon, Margaret River, Australia, 2016
Mesh Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia, 2016
Moorooduc Estate Chardonnay, Victoria, Australia, 2015
Jackson Family Wines Reception
Matanzas Creek Winery Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley, 2016
Galerie Naissance Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2016
Freemark Abbey Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2016
Gran Moraine Chardonnay, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon, 2015
Stonestreet Upper Barn Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, 2014
Capensis Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa, 2014
Hartford Family Winery, Chardonnay Seascape Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, 2014
Willakenzie Pinot Noir Pierre Leon, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon, 2013
Cambria Pinot Noir Barbara’s Clone 667, Santa Maria Valley, 2015
Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, 2015
Byron Pinot Noir Nielson Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley, 2014
La Crema Pinot Noir 9 Barrel, Russian River Valley, 2015
Arcanum Valdorna, Tuscany, 2014
Lassegue, Saint Emilion 2011
Anakota, Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley, 2014
Verite La Muse, Alexander, Bennett, Chalk-Hill, Knights Valleys, 2014
La Jota Vineyard Co. Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, 2014
Mt Brave Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder, 2014
Cardinale, Napa Valley, 2014
Lakoya Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt Veeder, 2014
12 x Blind
Giusto B Ruggeri Prosecco Extra-Dry, Valdobbiadene, nv
Zonin Prosecco Brut Cuvee 1821, Veneto, nv
Josmeyer Pinot Blanc Mise du Printemps, Alsace, 2016
Hugel Riesling Grossi Laue, Alsace, 2011
Cave de Beblenheim Pinot Gris Reserve, Alsace, 2015
Hugel Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive, Alsace, 2008
Koyal Royale Syrah, Alto Colchagua Valley, Chile, 2010
Stephane Robert Saint-Joseph Domaine du Tunnel, Rhone, 2015
Esk Valley Syrah, Hawkes Bay, NZ, 2012
Brown Brothers Shiraz 10 Acres, Heathcote, Australia, 2014
Solera 1847 Olorosso, Jerez
Blandy’s 10-year Old Malmsey, Madeira
Continuity and (R)Evolution in Italy’s Wines
With Bob Betz MW, Joel Butler MW, Mary Ewing-Mulligen MW
Carpene Malvolti Prosecco 1868 Extra Dry, Veneto, nv
Ca’Del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige, Lombardy, nv
Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Porer, Alto Adige, 2016
Jermann “Where Dreams Have No End” IGT Venezia Giulia, 2014
Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Vecchie Vigne, Marche, 2014
Michele Chiarlo Barbera Cipressi, Nizza, Piedmonte, 2014
Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva di Costasera, Veneto, 2011
Tenute Cabreo Rosso Il Borgo, Tuscany, 2013
Lungarotti Torgiano Rosso Rubesco, Umbria, 2013
Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo NovaSerra, Campania, 2016
Rivera Castel del Monte Riserva Il Falcon, Puglia, 2010
Argiolas Cannonau di Sardegna Costera, Sardinia, 2014
Tasca d’Almerita Rosso dei Conte Contea di Sclafani, Sicily, 2013
Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Rye, Sicily, 2015
12 x Blind
Max Reserve Carmenere, Aconcagua Valley, Chile, 2015
Casa Marin Pinot Noir Litoral Vineyard, San Antonio Valley, Chile, 2013
Chateau Pontet Canet, Pauillac, 2008
Chateau Argadens Rouge, Bordeaux Superieur, 2014
Chateau Bellevue, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, 2012
Les Hauts de Smith, Pessac-Leognan, 2014
Bodegas y Vinedos Monfil (Garnacha), Aragon, Spain, 2016
Yangarra Old Vine Grenache, McLaren Vale, Aus, 2015
M Chapoutier Rasteau, Cotes du Rhone Villages, 2014
Alpha Estate Hedgehog Vineyard Xinomavro, Amyndeon, Greece, 2012
Remulluri Rioja Reserva, Spain, 2010
Bodegas Ortega Ezquerro Rioja Crianza, Spain, 2013
Napa Valley Vintners Association Wines of Place
Ackerman Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombesville, 2004
Ackerman Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville, 2006
Ackerman Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville, 2007
Amici Cellars Missouri Hopper Cabernet sauvignon, Yountville, 2014
Amici Cellars Morisoli Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, 2014
Antica Napa Valley Townsend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Atlas Peak, 2008
Antica Napa Valley Townsend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Atlas Peak, 2015
Antica Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Atlas Peak, 2016
Calla Lily Ultimate Red Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013
Calla Lily Audax Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2013
Hoopes Vineyard Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013
JAX Vineyards JAX Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Calistoga, 2015
JAX Vineyards JAX Y3 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2015
JAX Vineyards JAX Y3 Taureau Red Blend, Napa Valley, 2015
Keenan Winery Mailbox Vineyard Merlot, Spring Mountain District, 2014
Keenan Winery Mailbox Vineyard Merlot, Spring Mountain District, 2007
Keenan Winery Chardonnay, Spring mountain District, 2015
Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon White Label, Napa Valley, 2013
Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Dr Olmo, Napa Valley, 2013
Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Solari, Napa Valley, 2013
Mattihasson Chardonnay, Oak Knoll District, 2016
Matthiasson White Blend, Oak Knoll District, 2015
Matthiasson Merlot, Oak Knoll District, 2013
Prime Solum Brokenrock Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, 2012
Round Pond Estate Proprietary Left Bank Blend, Rutherford, 2014
Round Pond Estate Scholar’s Gate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014
Round Pond Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, 2015
St Supery Dollarhide Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2016
St Supery Dollarhide Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2013
St Supery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, 2013
St Supery Estate Merlot, Rutherford, 2013
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon FAY, Stags Leap District, 2014
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V., Stags Leap District, 2014
Tierra Roja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, 2011
Tierra Roja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, 2012
Tierra Roja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, 2013
Tierra Roja Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, 2014
VGS Chateau Potelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder, 2014
12 x Blind
Vilarnau Cava Brut Reserva, Catalonia, nv
Vilarnau Cava Gran Reserva, Catalonia, 2011
Kopke 10-year Tawny Port, Douro, nv
Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port, Douro, 2012
Costacera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, 2013
Adalia Recioto della Valpolicella, Veneto, 2014
Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes, Bordeaux, 2010
Chateau de Cerons, Bordeaux, 2008
Barbadillo Manzanilla, Jerez, nv
Noe Pedro Ximenez VORS, Jerez, nv
Gerard Bertrand Muscat Rivesaltes, Languedoc Roussillon, 2016
Cave de Rivesaltes Muscat de Rivesaltes, Languedoc Roussillon, 1998
With Doug Frost MW, Matt Stamp MS, Martin Sinkoff, Tim Donegan
Haart Piesporter Goldtropfchen Grosses Gewachs, Mosel, 2016
Haart Piesporter Goldtropfchen Frosses Gewachs, Mosel, 2008
Haart Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spatlese, Mosel, 2016
Haart Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spatlese, Mosel, 2008
A. Christmann Trocken, Pfalz, 2016
A. Christmann Gimmeldingen Tracken, Pfalz, 2016
A. Christmann Idig Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz, 2015
A. Christmann Idig Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz, 2009
Famille Hugel Classic, Alsace, 2015
Famille Hugel Grossi Laue, Alsace, 2011
Famille Hugel Jubilee, Alsace, 2009
Famille Hugel Jubilee, Alsace, 2004
Grosset Alea, Clare Valley, Aus, 2016
Grosset Springvale, Clare Valley, Aus, 2017
Grosset Polish Hill, Clare Valley, Aus, 2017
Grosset Polish Hill, Clare Valley, Aus, 2006
Clemens Busch Marienberg Fahrlay Grosses Gewachs, Mosel, 2013
Mac Forbes Winery RS19, Strathbogie Ranges, Aus, 2017
Von Winning Forster Ungeheuer U 500 Grosses Gewaches, Pfalz, 2013
Famille Hugel Selection de Grains Nobles, Alsace, 1998
IMW Annual Bordeaux Tasting – 2013 Vintage
Chateau Cos d’Estournel
Chateau Cos Labory
Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron
Chateau Leoville-Las Cases
Chateau Marquis de Terme
Chateau De Fieuzal
Chateau Pape Clement
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte
Chateau Certain de May
Chateau de Sales
Chateau La Conseillante
Chateau Cheval Blanc
Chateau La Fleur
Chateau Trotte Vieille
Chateau Coutet blanc
Chateau Doisy Daene blanc
Chateau de Myrat blanc
Chateau Y’Quem blanc
Chateau Filhot blanc
Chateau Haut-Peyraguey blanc
Chateau Latour Blanche blanc
Chateau Lamothe blanc
Chateau Siglas-Raboud blanc
Chateau Suduiraut blanc
Continuing on with the exceptionally high volume of reading and study for my program, this week is looking to be another solid series of tastings and more MW test question research. All getting ready for MW residency in a few weeks as well as the over-all goal of the S1 Assessment in June. I am fortunate to have a variety of resources, generous tasting partners, and co-MW students in various groups to assist and balance the study and discussions.
For the Monday Tasting Group, this week, we have selected to focus on Riesling - any regional style. In preparation for this I have added my notes on Riesling to the Cultivar page under Study Resources. I will be adding to this later in the week with specific tasting notes from Germany (trocken wines from Mosel, Pfalz and Rheingau), as well as Austria and Alsace. We are generally focusing on these wines in my Thursday Skype group, in which we detail and then compare dry tasting notes following the MW style in which there is a reliance on identifying all of the characteristics of the wine from the glass and why it is there.
For Tuesday, in which I am associated with a MW tasting group out of NYC, the focus will be on Merlot, generally speaking on the lower end of the price scale. To this effort I have rewritten and added to my notes on Merlot in the Cultivar section of Study Resources.
This group also focuses on past MW exam questions as they may appear on future exams, and to give a sense of what is involved with this, here are our specific topics this week and on these two questions:
For Wednesday, though, I think we have an exciting and hopefully educational tasting session planned. Topic is:
What kind of wine is Appassimento?
Designed to explore the various wines made in the appassimento method.
Think and explore. Does not have to be a tasting of only Amarone.
Various wines are produced with this method, reds and whites, dry and sweet wines. Anything non-Italian?
Once I have confirmations of attendance (by Monday please!) I will make assignments. In general we agreed to not taste all of the wines blind. I will be adding a page to this site later today with some basic information and notes on the Appassimento method and related wines.
It is a weird relationship - chocolate and wine, that is. There is a lot of tannin involved in a tasting of these two products, and when you compound any component, it can often become intense, sometimes to the point of unpleasantness. Depending on the sweetness level int he chocolate, and the fruit component of the wine, there can be outstanding matches, though. The main thing to consider is the overall sugar level in the mouth, and the back-up fruit (often berries with red wine) supporting the sugar.
Often a fruit driven, sapid, red with rich fruit and lower tannins will work best with rich and decadent chocolates. Think Aussie shiraz with 65% dark. Here are other suggestions on how to maximize your tasting experience.
TASTING WINE AND CHOCOLATE
Taste wine from lightest to darkest, similar to how you would taste the chocolate.
Milk Chocolate (less than 50% Cocoa) Pairs with:
Smooth Dark Chocolate (+50% Cocoa) Pairs with:
Medium Dark Chocolate (+60% Cocoa) Pairs with:
Extra Dark Chocolate (+70% Cocoa) Pairs with:
As a server or bartender, why would you sell wine as opposed to anything else the guest wanted to order?
As a food service professional, the number one reason to sell wine is:
INCREASED CHECK AVERAGES AND HIGHER GRATUITIES, otherwise known as MAKING MONEY!
Additionally, for every $10 increase in the sale price of a wine – potential earnings (on average) add an extra $2 on the tip rate.
Beyond the monetary benefits, there are a number of great reasons to recommend wine to your guests:
Types of Customers
Excellence is an act won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but rather we have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
First tasting of the new year for the MNTG, and we are going to focus on a varietal for this one - Pinot Gris is the target. Last week I met with one of my Skype groups and we compared dry tasting notes on Pinot Gris from Alsace and Pinot Grigio from Collio / Alto-Adige, in Italy.
You can flip over to my resource page and Cultivars list to see my notes and some added background info on what we discussed. I think the important thing to keep in mind with identifying these wines and this variety blind, is really to focus on the structure. Pinot Gris has a definite bounce in acidity - at least from quality and hillside regions (as opposed to lower acid styles often associated with more high yielding and flatter vineyard areas). Combine this with some almond and almond skin, pear and ginger notes, and you stand a decent chance of figuring this one out. I find Pinot Gris and Grigio are often showing a little waxy note, as well as a sleek quality on the palate, which helps me to differentiate it from other Italian non-aromatic varieties.
My spotlight wine of the week, at least for the white side of things, is from that tasting last week, and is the Paul Kubler Pinot Gris K, 2014, from Alsace. This wine is racy, with med+ acidity, shows a long and sleek palate style and is rich without being heavy. I really enjoyed it and the slight phenolic bitterness is a good off-set to the slightly rich (but not sweet) feel. At 14% abv, it hid the alcohol well, and was a very good accompaniment to cheese and a light creamy (but vegan) pasta dish my son concocted.
The wine rings in at the $30 mark (maybe just a touch high on the mark-ups there?), but was well integrated and showed exceptional balance and mouthfeel, was rich without sweetness, juicy without being sharp, depth of pit fruit flavor with good length and balance throughout. I would recommend this if you come across it.
See you all Monday!
"Le terroir sublime le vin
dès lors que le vigneron
respecte la Nature "
Tonight's tasting was definitely geared to going a bit deeper into the profile of Pinot Noir on a global reach. With what turned out to be three Volnay, we may not have exactly succeeded completely in that effort. Although we did taste some pretty outstanding Pinot Noir - as well as a couple of duds.
The first wine of the night was from Germany (and Mr. Rudman did succeed in correctly pulling this one out of his hat). This was the 2012, Domaine Meyer-Nakel, and it comes from the Ahr region. Clocking in a t 13.5% abc on the label, it lists for retail at approximately $50, which was a bit of a shock to us considering what was showing in the bottle. We all took this wine to be sound, but there was this kind of weird plastic scent in the back ground for me and it kept throwing it off through my tasting. The fruit was held back and showed a bit under-ripe in most of our opinions. I think we generally felt it was lacking a bit of intensity and could have been more powerful, considering the price tag, as well as our expectations for Germany Pinot Noir, these days.
Next was the 2013, Joseph Swan Cuvée de Trois, Russian River Valley, and this wine definitely was showing some class and depth. Just a little brick starting to show in the rim variation, along with a bit of dried fruit creeping in on the edges of the palate, this wine was soft and full of tart fruit. It has great texture, and the spice and depth were throwing a few of the tasters off from the RRV. It does have some core power and the mid-palate spice I often associate with regions such the RRV. I kind of thought this may have been from New Zealand, North Island, and perhaps just a bit older than it turned out to be. I did like the wine though and really appreciated the complexity and the subtlety of the feel on the palate.
The third and fourth wines were both New World selections, and the group was generally down on them; primarily from a perceived poor winemaking style. One wine was the 2013, Luigi Bosca Pinot Noir, which is from Mendoza, Argentina. The wine just had this muddled and not very well defined style, and the group had a tough time placing this. It turned out to be a dry, relatively warm climate (Mendoza), but from a tough and cool vintage. All of this could have contributed to the lack of complexity, awkward feel on the palate and difficult to place acid/tannin/fruit balance. I have worked with Luigi Bosca wines in the past and have generally found them to be quite well made. This one was a bit tough to take.
The next wine happened to be the 2015 Resonance from Oregon, a wine made by the winemaker form Louis Jadot. It was a wine that showed a lot of upfront, super young and almost bubble-gum/licorices flavors. We thought there may have been some Carbonic Maceration going on here, but I think it more of a result of punch-downs and a bit of whole-cluster fermentation being used to achieve the very vibrant and youthful style.
Wine five started the second flight off quite well. A slight haze, but beautiful nose, that was still developing and probably has a few more good years to go. The 2005, Volnay 1er cru Taillepieds from Bouchard Per & Fils. According to Allen Meadows for the 2005 vintage: "The domaine is now run by Charles Ballot. The approach in the vineyards is lutte raisonée, which is to say treatments are only made in response to an obvious threat, rather than the traditional "in anticipation of" approach. The fruit is 100% destemmed, fermented with natural yeasts and raised in 10 to 30% new wood for approximately 18 months and then bottled without filtration." Wine showed extremely well, and was displaying is fairly excellent pedigree. Complex, well integrated, the tannins still with life, and just a little edge of tertiary flavors creeping in.
Wine number six was an interesting taste, as it turned out to be a Marlborough Pinot Noir from the 2008 vintage - Wairau River Family Estate. Showing some age, it did still have some nuance and hints of former finesse. There was a smooth palate of subtle oak mixed with tart cherry and sage. this wine is on the slow decline though.
Wine number seven (of which I am sipping as we speak), was another good style to take a look at. The 2014, Volnay VV by Vincent Girardin. I think we all agreed this wine showed fairly well, and the pedigree probably helped to carry it along. I think most of us did basically agree though that is was slightly hard to pin down regionally/stylistically.
And to finish the bunch, wine number eight was the 2006, Volnay Champains Domaine d'Angerville. Absolutely lovely and a bit more powerful than we had all kind of worked out, especially considering we had just worked through two other examples of Volnay. A number of us picked for more northern Cote d'or due to the fullness and rustic edge it carried, but 2006 most likely the culprit here. Wine was showing well, despite the vintage not being ideal. This wine had dried red cherries and much other fruit, mixed with smooth but rustic or slightly robust feel.
With three Volnay totally unplanned in the mix, we got a little perspective into this village. I will say though that there was not a seam of similarity among the three wines. Each from a different vineyard site, as well as different ages made it kind of hard to pinpoint a sense of Volnay.
Everything brought tonight essentially were examples of what we are looking to experience - a breadth of regions and varietal example. Typically ended with a number of very well made wines examples, and a few duds thrown into the mix for educational purposes, of course.
Here is a short video of the geological origins of Burgindy and how the regions developed over time.
Link to my Old Blog:
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