Showing posts with label italy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label italy. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Piazzano Colorino 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review



red wine review is a premium red from Tuscany that will be arriving in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is made by Fattoria di Piazzano, an estate winery located in the hills south of Empoli and traversed by the Rio di Camerata that has been in the hands of the Bettarini family since 1948. Otello Bettarini was a well-known manufacturer from Prato, with a great interest for astronomy, who fell in love with this place that he decided to move there permanently. In this village, he found the right astral conjunction to undertake what would become the main activity of the family - wine growing. Ricardo would work alongside his uncle Otello, eventually taking over the reins. In the late 1990s, Riccardo entrusted the estate to his children Rolando and Ilaria. Today, the farm continues to be completely family-run and has a strong respect for the environment and sustainability to keep the land as healthy as possible. The winery is certified vegan-friendly.

The grapes for this red wine come from soils that are loose and rich in rock fragments, cobbles, and gravel. It was fermented with wild yeasts in glazed concrete tanks, followed by malolactic fermentation and aging in french oak barriques for 12 to 15 months. Further refining occurred in bottle for at least another 6 months. Rare to find 100% Colorino.

Piazzano Colorino 2015 (91 pts)

Tasting Note:

PIAZZANO COLORINO 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#455675) (XD) - $35.95
This deeply purple-hued 100% Colorino is normally used as a blending grape and rare to find on its own. It has medium+ intensity aromas of purple fruit, dark cherry-berry, and herbs with a licorice and medicinal character wafts from glass. It is medium bodied with firm, grippy, chalky and drying tannins, along with fresh and juicy acids that provide lift. Flavours of violet, black cherry, dark plum, and hints of oak. A bit thin on the mid-palate, while the finish is long with wet earth, dark berry, and violet nuances. Should develop more complexity with time as tannins integrate. Enjoyable now with big meats, or age for 3+ years and drink into the mid 20's. Score: 91 pts


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

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  • Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is a white wine from northern Italy that will be coming to LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Mezzacorona, one of the oldest and largest, continuous grower co-operatives in all of Italy, tracing its origins to 1904.

Cliffhanger is their concept for wines crafted on the "Edge of Perfection", and this Pinot Grigio is their best expression of the grape from the beautiful Trentino appellation which is inside the Dolomite area in northern Italy. The Trentino DOC is an area that encompasses many small territories, soil conditions, and micro-climates with completely different geological origins. The grapes for this Pinot Grigio come from two places: the hillside vineyards in the north, located 350 metres above sea level at the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, which runs alongside the Adige River near the city of Trento, and from vines cultivated in the south near Lake Garda.

Cliffhanger Pinot Grigio 2017 (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

CLIFFHANGER PINOT GRIGIO 2017 - DOC Trentino, Italy (#528687) (XD) - $15.95
Medium intensity aromas of ripe stone fruit, think yellow pear and peach, along with some citrus, floral and touches of honey. It is mid-weighted on the honeyed palate with sharp, juicy acids. Honeyed citrus, ripe pear and melon flavours with a kiss of sweetness on the flavour profile. A touch of mineral appears on the finish, with very good length. Simple and widely appealing. Score: 86 pts


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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  • Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

delicious red wine review will be arriving at the LCBO as part of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Fattoria Viticcio has been producing wine since 1964 among the rolling green hills of Tuscan wine country in Greve in Chianti, between Florence and Siena. Today, the winery encompasses 120 ha of estate-owned land among the hills in Chianti Classico and Maremma. With the help of a young and energetic team, they are dedicated to producing wines that showcase the nuances of the incredible terroir in Tuscany, while also respecting the environment. Viticcio has always cultivated their vines using organic techniques and natural treatments as much as possible. Since 2013, their entire production has converted to organic.

This particular red wine was launched by Viticcio a couple of years ago. It is their second wine from the lands of Maremma and first red from this zone. The climate in Maremma, which is located in southern Tuscany, is sunny with a refreshing sea breeze from the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, and clay, sand, limestone, and sandstone soils that make it the ideal terroir for cultivating varietals such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The name "Morellino" is the local word for "Sangiovese." In Maremma, it is a deep-hued purple grape that is a clone of the Sangiovese grape found in other parts of Tuscany, and (possibly) named after the dark-haired Morelli bay horse that once roamed these lands.

Viticcio Morellino di Scansano 2015 (88 pts)

Tasting Note:

VITICCIO MORELLINO DI SCANSANO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#574186) (XD) - $19.95
Blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot aged in 225 L barriques for 10-12 months. The medium+ intensity nose reveals pretty red cherry, rose floral, oak aromas wrapped around a savoury core. It is full bodied with bold, assertive, and grippy tannins, along with fresh acids and nice aroma replays on the palate. Very good length with more cherry, floral and earthy notes lingering on the finish. Needs a couple of years for tannins to soften, or try now with big red meats. Should drink well for the next 6-8 years. Score: 88 pts


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Jan. 19, 2019: Euro + South Africa

LCBO Wine Picks: January 19, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The LCBO VINTAGES Release is the second release of the year and continues the value parade with wines from Europe for Hearty Winter Suppers as the main theme, while the mini-theme highlights wines from South Africa. All of the wines from the two themes, plus many more will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features European wines for Hearty Winter Suppers. There are 12 European wines paired with 6 classically regional dishes. Only 3 of these wines are included among my wine picks - the Scopeto Super Tuscan is a blend of 40% Sangiovese, 20% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot, while the Lirac from Rhône is a blend of Syrah and Grenache. The third and final wine is an excellent semi-sweet Riesling from Mosel, Germany.

In the mini-theme, there are 9 wines featured from South Africa, a wine region considered "New World" but has been producing wine since the 17th century. Six wines from South Africa made my list of wine picks, including a Chenin Blanc, an Unoaked Chardonnay, and an excellent white wine blend made with 65% Chenin Blanc, 10% Viognier, 10% Clairette Blanche, 13% Grenache Blanc, and 2% Sémillon Gris. Among the reds, there are single varietal wines made with Grenache and Shiraz, while the sparkling wine is made with 100% Pinot Noir. This is a very nice selection of South Africa wines.

Borgo Scopeto Chianti Classico 2015 (88 pts)

From my top red wine picks of the Release, the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, and 5% Colorino, while the Gabarda is a blend of 85% Cariñena (Carignan) and 15% Garnacha. The Douro red is a field blend of indigenous varietals, and the Meritage from B.C. is a blend of 35% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot.

Among my top white wine recommendations, the Australian blend has slightly more Semillon (from Hunter Valley) than Sauvignon Blanc (from Orange), while the Venetian is a barely off-dry (i.e. hint of sweetness) blend containing Garganega, Cortese, and Riesling. If you prefer your wines sweet, the Rheingau Riesling, as well as the aforementioned Mosel Riesling from Germany are both lovely!

It was nice to find a quality dry rosé in this Release as well, with a very good wine from Provence that is a blend of 42% Cinsault, 34% Grenache, and 24% Syrah.

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • BORGO SCOPETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#023325) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • SALENTEIN RESERVE MALBEC 2016 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#640854) (XD) - $17.95
  • BORGO SCOPETO BORGONERO 2015 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#421396) (XD) - $18.95
  • LEEUWENKUIL GRENACHE NOIR 2016 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#630871) (XD) - $19.95
  • GABARDA SELECCIÓN 2015 - DO Cariñena, Spain (#629139) (XD) - $19.95
  • JOURNEY’S END SHIRAZ 2015 - Single vineyard, WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#337642) (XD) - $21.95
  • LUA CHEIA EM VINHAS VELHAS RESERVA ESPECIAL TINTO 2015 - DOC Douro, Portugal (#610287) (XD) - $21.95
  • XAVIER VIGNON LIRAC 2016 - AP, Rhône, France (#636183) (XD) - $22.95
  • EL VALAO PAGO DE VALDONEJE MENCÍA 2015 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#629204) (XD) - $24.95  FE
  • OUTLOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, USA (#633537) (XD) - $29.95
  • MISSION HILL FAMILY ESTATE RESERVE MERITAGE 2016 - VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#633628) (XD) - $29.95

White Wine:

  • GORGO SAN MICHELIN CUSTOZA 2017 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#428045) (D) - $16.95
  • JARDIN INSPECTOR PÉRINGUEY CHENIN BLANC 2016 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#443473) (XD) - $17.95
  • SCHLOSS SCHÖNBORN ESTATE RIESLING 2012 - Qualitätswein, Rheingau, Germany (#653535) (MS) - $18.95
  • PEPPER TREE ESTATE GROWN SEMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Hunter Valley/Orange, New South Wales, Australia (#632067) (XD) - $19.95
  • ERADUS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#225557) (XD) - $19.95
  • DE WETSHOF BON VALLON UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2017 - WO Robertson, South Africa (#403675) (XD) - $22.95
  • BISCHÖFLICHE WEINGÜTER TRIER PIESPORTER GOLDTROPFCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#629998) (MS) - $25.95
  • MULLINEUX OLD VINES WHITE 2017 - WO Swartland, South Africa (#556597) (XD) - $37.95
  • JEAN-MARC BROCARD VAU DE VAY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2015 - AC, Burgundy, France (#159012) (XD) - $39.95

Rosé Wine:

  • CHÂTEAU DE L’AUMÉRADE CUVÉE MARIE-CHRISTINE ROSÉ 2017 - AC Provence, France (#562785) (XD) - $19.95

Sparkling Wine:

  • BON COURAGE JACQUES BRUÉRE CUVÉE ROSÉ BRUT 2011 - Traditional method, WO Robertson, South Africa (#630855) (D) - $24.95

Fortified:

  • SAN LEÓN MANZANILLA - DO Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain (#703066) (D) - $21.95


Saturday, December 15, 2018

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  • Saturday, December 15, 2018

Cantina di Negrar Appassimento 2017 (Veneto) - Wine Review

wine review is a red wine that recently arrived to the LCBO and is widely available throughout Ontario.

It is produced by Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, a winery that was founded in the commune of Negrar in Veneto in the 1930's.

The catchy and interesting label of this Appassimento depicts Ulysses' (a.k.a. Odysseus in Greek) 10-year journey home from Troye to Ithaca. Every facet of his journey captivates the sense of discovery, self-discovery, and world discovery Ulysses experiences in those enchanted 10 years, including  Lotus eaters, Circe the Enchantress, the singing winged sirens, the one-eyed giant Cyclops, the six-headed monster Scylla, the violent whirlpool Charybdis, his journey to the underworld to learn of his future, the bags of wind from Aeolus, and his 7 year stay with the nymph Calypso. Each tale embodies a sense of enchantment and delight, drawing the reader in, the urge to know and discover more. Let's see if what's inside the bottle is just as captivating.

Cantina di Negrar Appassimento 2017 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CANTINA DI NEGRAR APPASSIMENTO 2017 - IGT Veneto, Italy (#629865) (D) - $15.90
A Corvina-based blend made using dried grapes (i.e. appassimento method). Medium+ intensity nose features sweet spice, fig, cherry, and earthy aromas. It is medium-full bodied with smooth, dusty tannins and a juicy core with pleasing milk chocolate, cherry, and earthy aroma replays in an off-dry flavour profile. Some tannic grip arrives mid-palate. Nice balance throughout, with earth and cocoa flavours lingering on the long, juicy finish. Widely appealing style. Score: 87 pts


Saturday, December 8, 2018

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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice Riserva Chianti Classico that arrived in LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Rocca delle Macìe, a name that I'm sure you have come across at some point while perusing the aisles at your local LCBO. Rocca delle Macìe was founded by film producer Italo Zingarelli in the Chianti Classico area in 1973 when he purchased the 93 hectare estate to fulfill a life long dream. At the time, only 2 hectares were planted to vines, but along with help from his sons Sergio and Fabio, and his daughter Sandra, the estate now covers more than 500 hectares, 200 hectares of which are used as vineyards. The four estates Rocca delle Macìe owns in the Chianti Classico area all reside within the Municipality of Castellina in Chianti, in the southwest with very heterogeneous soils.

This red wine is one of Rocca delle Macìe's flagship wines from the Chianti Classico zone as only the best grapes from each of the four estates in Castellina make it into the blend that consists of mostly Sangiovese, and small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The label proudly bears the Zingarelli name in order to highlight the strong link that the family has with the Chianti Classico area.

Rocca delle Macìe Famiglia Zingarelli Riserva Chianti Classico 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCCA DELLE MACÌE FAMIGLIA ZINGARELLI RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#930966) (XD) - $24.95
A blend of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot that was aged in French oak barrels for 2 years. Fine aromas of oak spice, blackberry, wet earth, and dark cherry with a nice savoury component stream from the glass. It is medium-full bodied with fine-grained tannins and juicy acids supporting the dark berry, savoury, vanillin oak, earth, and cherry flavours. A touch warming on the mid-palate. Nicely savoury and earthy with some chalkiness on the long finish that ends with a nice red cherry note. Enjoy over the next 5 years. Score: 89 pts


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  • Saturday, December 8, 2018

Gourmet Food & Wine Expo 2018 - Top Wines

2018 Gourmet Food & Wine Expo
On a cold night in November, I attended the 24th annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo - a 4-day event that ran through . The first night was VIP Preview Night and attendance seemed a bit lighter than previous years. There also seemed to be fewer food and wine booths, but more craft breweries. Since my focus was mostly on the wines, I traversed the floor seeking some of the finest on offer and had a great time chatting with familiar faces en route.

Some of the highlights included wines in the Fine Wine Tasting Lounge, and at the Kolonaki Group booth where they featured many lovely Greek wines. There were also some fine wines at Wines from Spain, Wines of South Africa, Villa Maria Wines of New Zealand, and Grenache Wines booths. Here are some of my favourites from the show. All of these wines are available via the LCBO unless otherwise noted. Thank you Foodies on Foot for the tickets I won through their online contest!


CHAMPAGNE CUVÉE CARBON BRUT - AC, France (XD) - $350  92 pts
The official Champagne of Formula 1. Exclusive bottle wrapped in carbon looks awesome! Available via Bianchi & Nero.

Champagne Cuvée Carbon Brut (92 pts)Vidal Legacy Chardonnay 2016 (93 pts)

VIDAL LEGACY CHARDONNAY 2016 - Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (#570895) (XD) - $60  93 pts

CUNE GRAN RESERVA 2011 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#393553) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts

Cune Gran Reserva 2011 (92 pts)Mega Spileo Grand Cave Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (91 pts)

MEGA SPILEO GRAND CAVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - PGI Achaia, Greece (#539924) (XD) - $27.95  91 pts
Available via Shop Greek Wine.

MARTIN BERDUGO RESERVA 2010 - DO Ribera del Duero, Spain (#233741) (XD) - $38  91 pts

Martin Berdugo Reserva 2010 (91 pts)Te Awa Left Field Syrah 2015 (90+ pts)

TE AWA LEFT FIELD SYRAH 2015 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#377837) (XD) - $24.95  90+ pts

ARGYROS ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#387365) (XD) - $32  90+ pts
Available via Shop Greek Wine.

Argyros Assyrtiko 2017 (90+ pts)Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2017 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#231282) (XD) - $17.95  90 pts

ONTAÑÓN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#725895) (XD) - $25.95  90 pts

Ontañón Reserva 2010 (90 pts)Gérard Bertrand Grand Terroir Les Aspres Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2015 (89 pts)

GÉRARD BERTRAND GRAND TERROIR LES ASPRES SYRAH / MOURVÈDRE  / GRENACHE 2015 - AP Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres, France (#413245) (XD) - $18.95  89 pts

UMBERTO CESARI LIANO SANGIOVESE / CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 - IGT Rubicone, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (#225086) (D) - $27.95  88 pts

Umberto Cesari Liano Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (88 pts)


Champagne Cuvée Carbon Brut
Kolonaki Group - ShopGreekWine.com
Foods & Wine from Spain
Wines of South Africa
Garnacha and Grenache Wines


Monday, December 3, 2018

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  • Monday, December 3, 2018

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

On , I opened up this lovely red wine that was recently featured as an Illustrious Italian wine and released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

It is produced by Palazzo estate, a winery located on the picturesque south-eastern slope of Montalcino at an altitude of 320 metres above sea level that was purchased by the Loia/Palazzo family in 1983. Soon after the purchase, Cosimo Loia and his wife Antoinette Palazzo discovered that some of the land is of Eocene origin, arid and rocky - ideal for planting vines. Today, the estate covers an area of approximately 15 hectares, of which 4 hectares are devoted to vineyards and 3 hectares to olive trees.

In 1986, along with their children they began producing wine. Since the vines were still young, they were devoted to the production of Rosso di Montalcino. But in 1995, the vines reached nine years of age, at which point they could finally harvest the grapes, and after a few years of oak ageing, produce their first vintage of Brunello.

The entire production, including farming, harvesting, vinification, ageing and marketing is managed by the Loia family, along with the help of consulting oenologist Fabrizio Ciufoli. Over the years, the Loia-Palazzo family and cellar has grown, and above all, the quality of the wines - including this Brunello - have achieved a high level of excellence.

Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (93 pts)

Tasting Note:

PALAZZO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#660746) (XD) - $69.95
Hand-harvested, 100% Sangiovese Grosso that spent 3 years in barrel. Complex, medium-high intensity aromatics offer dark berry, cherry, and mineral aromas layered on top of oak spice and earth. It is full-bodied, spicy and fresh and on the palate with drying tannins. Lovely cherry, leather, oak spice, pepper and a hint of floral on the flavour profile. Mouth-watering acids. Some warmth mid-palate continues through to the long finish, giving way to wood spice, earth, and cherry flavours. Approachable now, but better in a few years and will age for at least a decade. Lovely Brunello! Score: 93 pts


Friday, November 30, 2018

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  • Friday, November 30, 2018

Roscato Dark Blend (Italy) - Wine Review

Opened up this wine and it is recommended for those that like their red wines on the sweeter side of the spectrum.

It is produced by Ca'Vit-Consorzio Cantine Sociali, a large co-operative winery located in Trentino, Northern Italy. The Roscato range offers irresistible wines from the region that will complement any type of cuisine.

The Roscato Dark Blend is the newest addition to the lineup and is made using a blend of indigenous Northern Italian varietals - mostly Teroldego and Lagrein, plus some Merlot. It is fermented in contact with grape skins at fairly cool temperatures to preserve fruity aromas, followed by ageing in stainless steel tanks and in medium-sized casks for about 12 months, after which the wines are blended and allowed to age for a further 2 to 3 months in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

This red wine is widely available in at your local LCBO.

Roscato Dark Blend (86 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROSCATO DARK BLEND - VD'Italia, Trentino, Italy (#629857) (M) - $15.95
Screw cap. Non-vintage blend of Teroldego, Lagrein, and Merlot. Fruit forward with ripe plum and blackberry aromas followed by some chocolatey notes. It is medium-bodied with soft, rounded tannins that have a slightly dusty texture. Food-friendly acids. More dark berry, chocolate, and cocoa flavours, plus vanilla and spice on the palate that lingers through to juicy finish, with good length. Easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing style. Score: 86 pts


Monday, November 12, 2018

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  • Monday, November 12, 2018

Cantina di Negrar Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2015 (Veneto) - Wine Review

I recently enjoyed the 2016 Cantina di Negrar Corvina, and is another lovely wine from the same producer.

Cantina Valpolicella Negrar is the producer considered to be the birthplace of Amarone and the typical Valpolicella Classica wines. In 1936, just 3 years after the winery was founded, the Cantina's President, Gaetano Dall'Ora, pronounced "This is not an Amaro, it’s an Amarone!" (amaro means bitter in English) after tasting a Recioto wine that had accidentally been left to ferment for a long time, thus giving rise to the name of the actual symbolic wine of Valpolicella.

Amarone is traditionally made from partially dried grapes, the majority consisting of Corvina with some Rondinella, and sometimes other indigenous varietals. This process is called appassimento and concentrates the remaining sugars and flavours. After the grapes have been dried, the grapes go through a long fermentation which results in a drier wine - a short fermentation results in sweeter Recioto wine. The final step is often many months of barrel ageing.

The Cantina di Negrar brand is the soul of Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, and the St. Mark's winged lion on the label is a tribute both to the winery's philosophy of cooperative production and to the history of the local area. The lion, a symbol of Venice's once great power in the 16th century, sits atop a column in the centre of the commune of Negrar.

This delicious red wine is a General List product at the LCBO and widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, as well as online at lcbo.com.

Cantina di Negrar Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2015 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CANTINA DI NEGRAR AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Veneto, Italy (#044784) (D) - $34.95
The medium+ intensity nose offers enticing aromas of sour cherry, tobacco, chocolate, oak spice, and fig. It is full-bodied with lovely fig, chocolate, oak spice, and dark berry flavours supported by fresh, vibrant acidity. Sweet tannins are nicely textured with just a touch of grip. Pretty chocolate notes on the mid-palate continue through to the lovely, long finish. Will be better at end of 2019. Very good value in Amarone! Score: 89 pts


Monday, November 5, 2018

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  • Monday, November 5, 2018

Bottega Accademia Red Prosecco (Italy) - Wine Review

wine review is a nice sparkling wine that just arrived at the LCBO in time for the holiday season. This Prosecco is packaged in an attractive transparent red bottle that would be ideal for gift-giving or to open at your next holiday gathering.

It is produced by Bottega, a family-owned company located in Bibano, Treviso (45 km North of Venice) that has been producing premium quality, typical Italian wines, grappa, spirits and food products since 1977. However, the history of Bottega goes back much further, as forefather Andrea was cultivating vines as a tenant farmer in 1635 in the beautiful hills near Molinetto della Croda in Refrontolo.

Domenico Bottega was a wine trader and passionate oenologist in the 1920's who could easily identify the best grapes in the vineyard. Domenico's son, Aldo, expanded on his father's passion for grappa in the 1950's and 60's, creating the first monovarietal grappa, and eventually founding Bottega in 1977.

Today, Bottega is a third generation business led by siblings Barbara, Sandro, and Stefano Bottega, the children of Aldo. The headquarters are located in a 19th-century farmhouse, renovated to preserve the original architectural and environmental characteristics, and are surrounded by 10 hectares of vineyards. With the goal of delivering health, well-being and pleasure through its products, Bottega advocates Quality (Italian taste and authenticity), Design (expression of the excellent aesthetic character of being made in Italy) and Social Responsibility towards the environment and the community.

Bottega Accademia Red Prosecco (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

BOTTEGA ACCADEMIA RED PROSECCO - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#578955) (D) - $19.95
Produced using the Martinotti method (i.e. Charmat) using Glera grapes. Subtle on the nose with green apple, citrus, white peach, and acacia flowers, and melon. It's medium-bodied with frothy, creamy mousse and lively acids. A shade off-dry on the flavour profile with grapefruit, blood orange, lemon citrus, and hint of floral notes. Slightly yeasty and leesy on the mid-palate, and some bitterness on the finish, with good length. Score: 87 pts


Friday, November 2, 2018

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  • Friday, November 2, 2018

Nativ Bicento 2013 (Campania) - Wine Review

wine review is a lovely new wine that arrived as part of the LCBO VINTAGES Release that featured some illustrious Italian wines in its main theme.

It is produced by Nativ and was founded in 2008 in the heart of Irpinia, in Paternopoli, Campania (the shin of Italy's boot), by Dr. Mario Ercolino, an internationally renowned oenologist, and Dr. Roberta Pirone, a specialist in food science, with the aim of producing excellent wines from grapes that are typical of the territory.

The name "Nativ" was chosen to represent the origin of the Viticulture of Irpina, through autochthonous production which outlines the concept of "origin of place", and is carried out through the production of wines from indigenous varietals, using vines that are known for their particular fertility in volcanic soils. The winery's precious vineyards span approximately 15 hectares between Paternopoli and Taurasi.

"Bicento" is the name of this important red wine, which translated literally means “twice 100”. It is named as such because the grapes for this wine come from 200-year-old ungrafted vines that are grown on volcanic soils on the Taurasi hills, 500 metres above sea level. These vines are among the oldest in all of Europe!

Nativ Bicento 2013 (94 pts)

Tasting Note:

NATIV BICENTO 2013 - DOC Irpinia Campi Taurasini, Campania, Italy (#575035) (XD) - $41.95
100% Aglianico aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. Medium-high intensity aromatics are complex with spicy, blackberry, dark berry, leather, herbs, earth, and a touch of savoury funk. Some smoky mineral notes develop with air. It is full-bodied and concentrated with nicely balanced aroma replays, plus black pepper, fig, and floral nuances supported by fresh, bright acidity to keep things quite light on the palate. Firm, drying, mouth-puckering tannins have a dusty and chalky texture. The finish length is excellent with dark berry, black plum, licorice, and spice flavours. Lovely savoury-earthy character throughout. A pleasure now, but will be better in 5 years as tannins soften and integrate. An amazing wine to enjoy over the next 10-15 years. Buy 4 and enjoy one every 5 years. Score: 94 pts


Friday, October 26, 2018

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  • Friday, October 26, 2018

Cantina di Negrar Corvina 2016 (Veneto) - Wine Review

wine review is a General List product that is widely available at the LCBO and sells for under $10!

This red wine is produced by Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, a co-operative that was founded in 1933 and is located just a few kilometres from Verona, near Lake Garda, in northeastern Italy. The people of Cantina Valpolicella Negrar includes 230 families of winemakers who cultivate over 700 hectares of vineyards, and are led by a highly professional technical staff. Together, they are dedicated to the production of quality wines that are a true expression of the land from which they are born.

The winery is constantly doing research to gain insights and knowledge, with an eye towards keeping tradition as well as innovating. As such, all of the work in the vineyards is done by hand with respect for the environment and its biodiversity due to the need for sustainable viticulture. The in-depth study of the biology, ecology and environment where winemakers work allows them to adopt good practices in soil management, promote biodiversity in the vineyards, and pest control with minimal environmental impact on operators and consumers.

Cantina di Negrar Corvina 2016 (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

CANTINA DI NEGRAR CORVINA 2016 - IGT Verona, Veneto, Italy (#519199) (D) - $9.95
Screw cap. Made with 100% Corvina, the principle grape used in the production of Amarone and Valpolicella wines, and uncommon to find as a single varietal wine. Generous nose is plummy with spice surrounded by a dark berry-cherry, savoury, and earthy core, and hints of white pepper. The light-to-medium bodied palate is dry, ripe and fruit forward, with slightly raisined plum, cherry, and blackcurrant flavours, with a touch of spice. It is supported by supple, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. The finish length is very good. Will have wide-appeal. Score: 87 pts


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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  • Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mauro Molino Barolo (Piedmont) Wine Tasting

Mauro Molino Barolo Wine Tasting

At the , I was invited to a special tasting of some very fine Barolo wines from Piedmont's highly acclaimed Mauro Molino. The tasting was held at the Fine Wine Reserve on King St. W. in downtown Toronto.

Mauro Molino was born in Piemonte and graduated from Alba Winemaking School in 1973. After a few years of making wine in Emilia-Romagna, he returned to start his own winery in the Langhe following the passing of his father in 1979. His father left him some vineyards, which Mauro then envisioned as an opportunity to embark on a new winemaking career in his beloved homeland. After spending a few years improving his vineyards and cellar, which is built in Annunziata of La Morra, he began producing wines such as the top-end Conca in 1982, one of the Barolo area's smallest and unique single vineyards.

In 2003, Mauro's son, Matteo, joined the company as winemaker, and in 2009 his daughter Martina began working with the commercial aspect of the company. Both graduated from Alba Winemaking School and are an integral part of the winery today.

The family winery continues to produce wines in Annunziata of La Morra, with the utmost respect for traditions. In total, they have 14 hectares of vineyards, 50% of which is planted to Nebbiolo destined for Barolo.

Fernando Burani, Export Manager

Representing the winery at this tasting was Export Manager, Fernando Burani. He graciously poured the first few of the 10 wines that were available for tasting.

Wine reviews of my top 5 wines are provided below. All of the wines available at the tasting can be ordered online via lcbo.com. Thank you Le Sommelier for the invite and the opportunity to taste these fabulous wines.

Tasting Notes:

MAURO MOLINO ROERO ARNEIS 2017 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#588755) (XD) - $27.95
Medium-high intensity nose offers appealing notes of papaya, white peach, orange citrus and hints of Flintstone vitamins. It's medium-full bodied on the structured palate with lovely mineral and savoury character joining the ripe fruits. Clean acids and excellent length with a nice minerally finish. Score: 90+ pts

Mauro Molino Roero Arneis 2017 (90+ pts)Mauro Molino Dolcetto Langhe 2017 (89 pts)

MAURO MOLINO DOLCETTO LANGHE 2017 - DOC, Piedmont, Italy (#588763) (XD) - $21.95
Nice dark berry, floral, mint and tobacco aromas and flavours, with a touch raisiny character on the medium intensity nose. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with supple tannins offering nice structure and texture. Very good fruit concentration and a long, balanced finish. Score: 89 pts

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO BRICCO LUCIANI 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#588714) (XD) - $82.95
From vines located 270 metres above sea level on compact clay and limestone soils, this has a gorgeous, highly aromatic and pretty nose featuring rose florals, dried cherry, clove, and sweet vanilla oak. It is full bodied with softened tannins that have presence. Very nice aroma replays and well-balanced overall. Classy, elegant, long-lasting finish. My favourite of the tasting. Score: 93 pts

Mauro Molino Barolo Bricco Luciani 2014 (93 pts)Mauro Molino Barolo La Serra 2014 (92 pts)

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO LA SERRA 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#604065) (XD) - $96.95
From vines located in the highest part of the municipality of La Morra, at 370 to 400 metres above sea level, on calcareous/clayey soils, this has a generous nose of dark berry, blackberry, and oak spice aromas with leafy hints. It's medium-full bodied on the crunchy palate and balanced acids. Nicely balanced tannins gain presence with time. Curranty flavours add complexity on the mid-palate. Excellent finish length. Still youthful, will be better in 3-4 years. Score: 92 pts

MAURO MOLINO BAROLO CONCA 2014 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#604073) (XD) - $125.95
The nose seems shy at the moment, offering glimpses of oak spice, dark cherry, cassis and berry aromas. The palate is structured with firm tannins and flavours of mocha, chocolate and red berry notes wrapped around fresh acidity. A big wine that needs 3-4 years to integrate. Score: 92+ pts

Mauro Molino Barolo Conca 2014 (92+ pts)


Monday, October 22, 2018

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  • Monday, October 22, 2018

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release Oct. 27, 2018: Italy + Whisky

LCBO Wine Picks: October 27, 2018 VINTAGES Release
The parade of premium wines we head into the busy holiday season continues with the LCBO VINTAGES Release. Featured in this Release are impeccable wines from Italy as the main theme, while the mini-theme features whisky from three continents. All of the lovely wines from this Release will be on LCBO VINTAGES shelves across Ontario this .

We'll begin with the main theme that features twelve illustrious wines from Italy, five of which are included among my top wine picks. The lone white among them is from Umbria, made by iconic producer Marchesi Antinori, and consists of Chardonnay and a small amount of Grechetto. Moving on to the reds, there are some really excellent wines, including a 100% Aglianico from 200-year-old vines in Campania, as well as a Brunello made with 100% Sangiovese Grosso. From Tuscany, the Gran Selezione is a blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, and 5% Colorino, while the iconic Sassicaia is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc.

Nativ Bicento 2013 (94 pts)Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (93 pts)

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2014 (92 pts)

Among red wines from the rest of the Release, the Côtes du Rhône Villages is a blend of mostly Grenache, with Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault in support, while the organic wine from South Africa is a blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. From Armenia(!), there is a nice blend of Syrah, Tannat, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, while the Chianti Classico is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. From Spain, the Rioja is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Mazuelo, while the Priorat is a blend of 90% Carignan and 10% Grenache. Lastly, the Napa Cab is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc.

Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (93 pts)LAN Gran Reserva 2010 (91 pts)

From my white wine picks, the only blend is from Australia, consisting of 50% Marsanne, 42% Roussanne, and 8% Viognier. For those who prefer their wines with a hint of sweetness, you should look for the Riesling from either Cave Spring or Quails' Gate. If you want something off-dry, look for the Gewürztraminer, or something semi-sweet with the Tawse Riesling.

Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2016 (92 pts)Tawse Sketches of Niagara Riesling 2016 (90 pts)

Pierre Sparr Réserve Gewurztraminer 2016 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Grazie!

Red Wine:

  • CUVÉE SABRINE CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2015 - AC, France (#538496) (XD) - $15.95
  • ALTA VISTA PREMIUM CABERNET FRANC 2016 - Mendoza, Argentina (#609081) (XD) - $17.95
  • REYNEKE ORGANIC RED 2017 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#617217) (XD) - $19.95
  • MONTES ALPHA CARMENÈRE 2015 - Dry farmed, DO Colchagua Valley, Chile (#143230) (D) - $19.95
  • THELEMA MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS SUTHERLAND PINOT NOIR 2015 - WO Elgin, South Africa (#624924) (XD) - $19.95

  • KARAS RED 2016 - Armavir Region, Armenia (#492751) (XD) - $21.95
  • CARPINETO FARNITO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#996553) (XD) - $28.95
  • VOLPAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2015 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#953828) (XD) - $28.95  FE
  • LAN GRAN RESERVA 2010 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#928622) (XD) - $34.95  91 pts  wine review
  • NATIV BICENTO 2013 - DOC Irpinia Campi Taurasini, Campania, Italy (#575035) (XD) - $41.95  94 pts  wine review

  • RUFFINO RISERVA DUCALE ORO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2014 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#353201) (XD) - $47.95  92 pts  wine review
  • TORRES COS PERPETUAL 2015 - DOCa Priorat, Spain (#265710) (XD) - $49.95  FE
  • PALAZZO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#660746) (XD) - $69.95  93 pts  wine review
  • CHATEAU MONTELENA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#718452) (XD) - $74.95  93 pts  wine review
  • SASSICAIA 2015 - DOC Bolgheri Sassicaia, Tuscany, Italy (#480533) (XD) - $225.95

White Wine:

  • PIERRE SPARR RÉSERVE GEWURZTRAMINER 2016 - AC Alsace, France (#747600) (D) $18.95  89 pts  wine review
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA RIESLING 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#089029) (M) $18.95  90 pts  wine review
  • QUAILS’ GATE DRY RIESLING 2017 - BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#308312) (D) - $18.95
  • REDSTONE CHARDONNAY 2015 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#398966) (XD) - $19.95
  • JOSÉ PARIENTE VERDEJO 2016 - DO Rueda, Spain (#345058) (XD) - $19.95
  • VILLA MARIA CELLAR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#974527) (XD) - $21.95  89 pts  wine review

  • CRAGGY RANGE TE MUNA ROAD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - Martinborough, North Island, New Zealand (#466011) (XD) - $26.95
  • HERVÉ AZO CHABLIS 2016 - AC, Burgundy, France (#185736) (XD) - $27.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2016 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2016 - Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (XD) - $29.95  92 pts  wine review
  • COMPLICES DE LOIRE TERRES DE CAILOTTES POUILLY-FUMÉ 2016 - AC, Loire, France (#557488) (XD) - $31.95
  • JOHN DUVAL PLEXUS WHITE 2016 - Barossa Valley, South Australia (#609099) (XD) - $36.95  FE
  • CASTELLO DELLA SALA CERVARO DELLA SALA 2016 - IGT Umbria, Italy (#512376) (XD) - $68.95
Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2016 (90 pts)Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

Fortified:

  • OFFLEY 10-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - DOP, Portugal (#297788) (S) - $26.95


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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  • Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Carpineta Fontalpino Riserva Chianti Classico 2012 (Tuscany) - Wine Review

A recent arrival to the LCBO, red wine review was released into LCBO VINTAGES on .

This organic wine is produced by Fattoria Carpineta Fontalpino, an organic winery in Tuscany that traces its past back to the 1800's. It is located in the heart of Tuscany, very close to Siena and in the historical commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, at the bottom of the hill of Montaperti where the famous battle between Siena and Florence took place on . The name of the winery comes from a historical place, where you would find Carpineta (an area that has trees with silver backed leaves) and Fontalpino (the fount with the pine trees of Montaperti).

Italo Cresti founded the winery in 1967, and today it is run by his children, the brother-and-sister team of Gioia and Filippo Cresti. Gioia is a French-trained oenologist and responsible for all of the production phases, from winegrowing to ageing, while Filippo runs the operational and marketing development side of of the business.

Carpineta Fontalpino Riserva Chianti Classico 2012 (89 pts)

Tasting Note:

CARPINETA FONTALPINO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#540997) (XD) - $41.95
Organic wine made with 100% Sangiovese. Forest floor, dried cherry, and subtle oak spice aromas from the cork. Nicely maturing, savoury aroma profile with wet forest floor, sweet oak spice, dried cherry, and dried florals, of medium+ intensity. On the medium-full bodied palate, gritty tannins are still quite grippy, while flavours are savoury with currant, earth, cherry, clove and oak spice notes. Succulent acids are vibrant and juicy. The finish is long and savoury with more earthy, forest floor flavours. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 89 pts


Saturday, July 21, 2018

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  • Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cantalici (Tuscany) Winemaker's Dinner at Mangia et Bevi

Cantalici Winemaker's Dinner at Mangia et Bevi
Last , I had the pleasure of tasting the wines from Tuscany's Cantalici Winery with Winemaker Carlo Cantalici and Export Manager Angela Butini at Mangia et Bevi in the eastern end of downtown Toronto.

After everyone arrived, we sat down at the long, communal-style dinner table and Angela and Carlo began telling us about their winery and taking us through the wines with course from the delicious 4-course meal, eventually ending the night with some Vin Santo.

The winery, L'Antica Fornace di Ridolfo, was formed by Carlo and his brother Daniele in Castagnoli, a small medieval hamlet close to the village of Gaiole in Chianti. It was named after an ancient kiln that was built in the 16th century by a wealthy Florentine family, and the kiln was preserved and integrated into the winery when Carlo and Daniele purchased the property in the late 1990's. Today, the estate has three properties in different areas of Chianti spread out over 90 hectares of hand-harvested vineyards, at altitudes from 300 to 450 metres above sea level.

The most interesting wine of the night was the 2012 Chianti Classico as it really blossomed over the course of the evening.

Thank you to AMV-Whiz for the invitation and hosting this event. It was a lovely evening with fine wines, delicious food, and very good conversation. You may find these wines at the LCBO, but can otherwise contact AMV-Whiz for availability.

Cantalici Winemaker Carlo Cantalici and Export Manager Angela Butini

Tasting Notes:

CANTALICI PETALI ORGANIC ROSÉ 2016 - IGT Toscana, Italy (#314004) (XD) - $18.15
100% Sangiovese. Medium intensity nose that has attractive herbal, strawberry and citrus notes. It's dry on the structured palate with balanced acids and a touch glycerin like texture. The mid-palate is spiced and finishes with blood orange and strawberry flavours, with good length. Score: 87 pts

Cantalici Petali Organic Rosé 2016 (87 pts)

CANTALICI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#314012) (XD) - $25.15
A blend of 85% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, quite shy initially, but eventually opens up beautifully with cinnamon, clove, sweet oak spice, dark cherry and rose flowers, all of which come through in spades on the medium-bodied palate with nicely integrated tannins and very good acidity. It has a medium-long finish. Give this a short decant (1 hour) prior to serving and drink over the next 3-5 years. Score: 90 pts

Cantalici Chianti Classico 2012 (90 pts)Cantalici Baruffo Chianti Classico 2013 (88 pts)

CANTALICI BARUFFO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#315795) (XD) - $25.15
100% Sangiovese. This has a medium+ intensity nose in a (new) wood and dark profile with dark berry/cherry, blackberry and oak spice aromas. It's medium-full bodied on the palate with tannins a touch chalky. This has nice aroma replays that are oak influenced with clove and sweet oak spices. Acids are fresh and the finish length is very good. Still young, should improve in 2-3 years. Score: 88 pts

CANTALICI MESSER RIDOLFO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2011 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#315787) (XD) - $33.60
This 100% Sangiovese is named after the 1st owner of the property and who was also mayor of the town. It has a medium-high intensity nose with red berry, cherry, and subtle oak spices. The palate is richly concentrated with more dark cherry, berry and oak spices. Tannins are well-integrated, acids are juicy and the finish length is very good. Score: 89 pts

Cantalici Messer Ridolfo Chianti Classico Riserva 2011 (89 pts)Cantalici Baruffo Chianti Classico Riserva 2012 (90+ pts)

CANTALICI BARUFFO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#541078) (XD) - $35.95
100% Sangiovese from vines planted 500 metres above sea-level, this has medium-high intensity aromas of sweet oak spice, floral, and dark berries. It is full-bodied and richly structured with smooth tannins and lovely aroma replays. Acids are mouth-watering and the finish length is excellent. Has the stuffing to age 10 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90+ pts


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