Showing posts with label sparkling-wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sparkling-wine. Show all posts

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  • Saturday, August 3, 2019

Bottega Gold Prosecco (Italy) - Wine Review



shiny sparkling wine review was recently listed as a VINTAGES Essentials product at the LCBO and is now widely available all year round across Ontario.

It is produced by Bottega, a family-owned, third generation company led by Barbara, Sandro, and Stefano Bottega in Bibano, Treviso, north of Venice, that has been producing premium quality, typical Italian wines, grappa, spirits and food products since 1977. The headquarters are located in a 19th century farmhouse that was renovated to preserve the original architectural and environmental characteristics, and is surrounded by 10 hectares of vineyards.

Bottega Gold is a premium quality Italian Prosecco characterized by its shiny, iconic metallized bottle, an idea that was conceived by Sandro Bottega in 2000 to create an eye-catching package for their premium quality Prosecco. However, this Prosecco is more than just a fancy bottle.

Even though this bottle is labelled as DOC, the Bottega Gold is actually the higher designated DOCG - where the native Glera grapes used for Prosecco are grown (in a mix of old and new vines) and hand-picked in Valdobbiadene within the heart of the DOCG area. It is labelled as DOC because Italian regulations preclude Bottega’s gold-plated bottle from being labelled as a DOCG.

This Prosecco undergoes a single fermentation, directly transforming the grape must into sparkling wine, followed by a second fermentation in autoclaves (pressurized tanks) with the addition of selected yeasts for approximately 40 days. This unique method is known as the Charmat-Martinotti method and helps preserves freshness and all of the characteristics that the Glera varietal is known for, such as white flowers, green apple, pear and citrus.

Bottega Gold Prosecco (87 pts)

Tasting Note:

BOTTEGA GOLD PROSECCO - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#621458) (D) - $27.95
Faint aromas of pear, white peach, citrus and floral from the glass. The palate has an initial crispness, giving way to frothy, mouthfilling mousse and flavours of pear, floral, and citrus with just a touch of sweetness. There's good structure and balanced acidity. It's also nicely balanced throughout with lingering citrus notes on the finish that veers towards dry, with good length. A well-made Prosecco that can be enjoyed at the table. Score: 87 pts


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  • Monday, June 24, 2019

Queenston Mile Vineyard Portfolio Tasting (Spring 2019)

Queenston Mile Vineyard Sparkling Wines
In the , I had the pleasure of tasting through the wines of one of Niagara's newest and hottest wineries - Queenston Mile Vineyard.

The 50-acre vineyard and winery are located in St. David's Bench in Niagara-on-the-Lake, just 10 kilometres south of the shores of Lake Ontario. This area was formed when glaciers carved out the Niagara Escarpment and arose from the historic shoreline of Lake Iroquois towards the base of the Niagara Escarpment. Today, the escarpment's steep ridge collects winds off the lake and circulates them back over the low-lying plains of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Queenston Mile Vineyard is situated in one of Niagara's hottest sub-appellations, with their Estate Vineyard warming early in the Spring and allowing for an extended growing season. In fact, they have one of the warmest and longest growing sites in the Niagara Peninsula. Soils consist of red sandstone bedrock and rich layers of silty clay and loam.

The people behind Queenston Mile Vineyard are not new to wine. They have also been growing grapes and making wine from this land for over twenty years. For the first ten years, they waited for the vines to mature on this newly planted vineyard so they could see what they truly had to be able to make exceptional wines. During the second ten years, they started to see the special qualities of the vineyard. The result is a house that produces mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir table wines, as well as fantastic sparkling wines.

Rob Power is the man behind Queenston Mile Vineyard. It is a project of passion for him and has been a strong advocate for the advancement of quality and creativity in the Canadian wine industry. He has worked tirelessly to innovate within the Niagara wine industry, producing thought provoking blends and vinifying unique varietals. You may also know him as the winemaker at Niagara's Creekside Estate Winery. During his career, Rob has garnered both critical acclaim and the respect of his industry colleagues as he is widely considered to be one of Canada's top winemakers.

I tasted through the entire Queenston Mile Vineyard portfolio and wine reviews of my favourites are provided below. All of these delicious wines are available for purchase directly from the winery.

Queenston Mile Vineyard Mile Red 2016Queenston Mile Vineyard Sweet Victory Viognier 2017

Tasting Notes:

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD BLANC DE NOIRS 2015 - VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $50
100% Pinot Noir that spent 3 years on the lees. Pretty, light-peach coloured with fragrant aromas pastry, lemon/lime citrus and stone fruits. Honeyed with a kiss of sweetness on the palate with lovely aromas replays. It is creamy textured with bright, vibrant acids and a long, crisp finish. Very fine Niagara bubbly. Score: 91+ pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Blanc de Noirs 2015 (91+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#010137) (XD) - $35
From a hot year, this offers subtle ripe apple, pear, and vanilla aromas, with much of the same on the medium+ bodied and fleshy palate. Finish length is very good. Score: 88+ pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 (88+ pts)Queenston Mile Vineyard Chardonnay 2017 (90+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2017 - Barrel Fermented, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $35
Bottled a couple of weeks prior, the 2017 offers a lovely, medium-high intensity nose that is clean and lean, with butter ripe apples, elegant pear and vanilla aromas. It is lifted with vibrant acidity on a medium-bodied palate. Nutty notes arrive on flavour profile, along with lovely aroma replays. Long, clean finish. Reminds me of a Meursault. Score: 90+ pts

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2016 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
A hot vintage on a hot site, this has a medium intensity nose of stewed red and blackberry, strawberry, cherry, and a touch of nail polish, all of which come through nicely on the palate. Acids are very good, but the tannins are very drying and chalky. Good finish length. I would hold for 2-3 years to let the tannins subside. Score: 89 pts

Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016 (89 pts)Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 (90+ pts)

QUEENSTON MILE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2017 - Estate bottled, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $40
Slightly darker in colour and more feminine in style than the 2016. This has a lovely medium-high intensity nose of red currant, black cherry, raspberry, wood spice, and hints of earthiness and tea leaf. It is medium-bodied with some astringency to the soft tannins, but otherwise well-integrated. Lovely tea leaf, beet root and strawberry flavours on the palate. Bright acids and very good finish length. Bottled 1-2 weeks ago. Score: 90+ pts


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  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wine Picks LCBO VINTAGES Release May 25, 2019: Brilliant Women + Bubbles

LCBO Wine Picks: May 25, 2019 VINTAGES Release
The main theme of the upcoming LCBO VINTAGES Release May 25, 2019 is titled "Sister Act" and features some brilliant women from the wine world, while the mini-theme features some super sparkling wines. All of the wines from this Release will arrive on LCBO VINTAGES shelves by this Saturday.

We begin with the main theme that looks at 13 women in wine. Of the 20 wines featured as part of this theme, 6 are include among my top wine picks. Ann Sperling is the Director of Winemaking at Southbrook, and her single vineyard Riesling is a lovely off-dry, organic and biodynamic wine from Niagara. Dr. Laura Catena was born into Argentina's most prominent wine family, and her Altamira Vineyard Malbec is a lovely wine to enjoy over several years. Virginia Willcock is the chief winemaker at Vasse Felix and prefers a hands-off approach to allow the vineyard to express itself, as it does with her Margaret River Chardonnay. Nadia Barnard believes in working in harmony with nature, so she is a good fit for the organic and biodynamic Waterkloof Wines - she brings us her Circle of Life white wine that is a blend of 72% Sauvignon Blanc and 28% Chenin Blanc. Lastly, I met with Maria Larrea, Techincal Director and Chief Winemaker at Spain's legendary Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE) earlier this month and a full report from that tasting will be posted soon. In the meantime, I can tell you that both Cune Crianza and CVNE Imperial Reserva are made with 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha Tinta/Mazuelo.

Southbrook Heather's Home Vineyard Riesling 2017 (91 pts)Catena Paraje Altamira Malbec 2016 (90 pts)

Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay 2018 (91 pts)

CVNE Imperial Reserva 2014 (92 pts)CVNE Cune Crianza 2015 (88 pts)

From the mini-theme that focuses on sparkling wines, two of the seven bubbly's are included among my wine recommendations, and both are from Canada and made using the Traditional Method. The bubbly from British Columbia consists of 50% Pinot Noir, 45.5% Chardonnay, and 4.5% Pinot Gris, while the Trius Brut Rosé is mostly Pinot Noir.

Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut Sparkling (90 pts)Trius Brut Rosé (90 pts)

My red wine picks contain several great buys. From France, the Morgon is 100% Gamay from one of the best Cru vineyard sites in Beaujolais and is located one the slopes of a volcano, while the Crozes-Hermitage is a classic, northern Rhône Syrah. Also from France, the Bordeaux red consists of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Languedoc red is a blend of 55% Grenache and 45% Syrah. Lastly, the California Cab actually consists of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc.

Stéphane Aviron Vieilles Vignes Morgon Côte du Py 2014 (90+ pts)Cave de Tain Grand Classique Crozes-Hermitage 2015 (90 pts)

Château Gaumaran 2014 (89 pts)Cháteau Puech-Haut Les Complices 2016 (89 pts)

Among my white wine picks from the rest of the Release, most are single varietal wines, including the Blanco from Spain that is made with 100% Viura, while the outstanding Fumé Blanc is made with Sauvignon Blanc. The Creekside Iconoclast is a blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon that sees some time in neutral French oak. If you prefer sweeter wines, check out the Riesling Kabinett from Germany.

Hidden Bench Fumé Blanc 2017 (92 pts)Creekside Iconoclast Sémillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

Muriel Fincas de la Villa Blanco 2018 (89 pts)

Enjoy my wine recommendations from this Release! Cheers!

Red Wine:

  • CVNE CUNE CRIANZA 2015 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#039925) (XD) - $16.95  88 pts  wine review
  • TONEL 46 MALBEC 2015 - Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#629808) (XD) - $17.95  88 pts  wine review
  • CHÂTEAU GAUMARAN 2014 - AC Médoc, Bordeaux, France (#634014) (XD) - $17.95  89 pts  wine review
  • CHÁTEAU PUECH-HAUT LES COMPLICES 2016 - AP Languedoc, France (#644666) (XD) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • PAXTON MV SHIRAZ 2016 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#327403) (XD) - $19.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • CATENA PARAJE ALTAMIRA MALBEC 2016 - Paraje Altamira, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (#492413) (XD) - $22.95  90 pts  wine review
  • STÉPHANE AVIRON VIEILLES VIGNES MORGON CÔTE DU PY 2014 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#424804) (XD) - $23.95  90+ pts  wine review
  • CAVE DE TAIN GRAND CLASSIQUE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2015 - AC, Rhône, France (#572230) (XD) - $24.95  90 pts  wine review
  • CVNE IMPERIAL RESERVA 2014 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#424390) (XD) - $39.95  92 pts  wine review
  • CLIFF LEDE STAGS LEAP DISTRICT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 - Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California, USA (#014217) (XD) - $119.95  FE
Paxton MV Shiraz 2016 (90+ pts)Tonel 46 Malbec 2015 (88 pts)

White Wine:

  • MURIEL FINCAS DE LA VILLA BLANCO 2018 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#645127) (XD) - $14.95  89 pts  wine review
  • FEUDO ANTICO BIOLOGICO PECORINO 2017 - IGP Terre di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy (#644930) (D) - $15.95  88 pts  wine review
  • WATERKLOOF CIRCLE OF LIFE 2015 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#284588) (XD) - $19.95  88 pts  wine review
  • THE LANE VINEYARD BLOCK 1A CHARDONNAY 2017 - Adelaide Hills, South Australia (#429233) (XD) $19.95  89 pts  wine review
  • SOUTHBROOK HEATHER'S HOME VINEYARD RIESLING 2017 - VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#650135) (D) - $22.95  91 pts  wine review
  • CREEKSIDE ICONOCLAST SÉMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#520627) (XD) - $23.00  89 pts  wine review
  • VASSE FELIX FILIUS CHARDONNAY 2018 - Margaret River, Western Australia (#416511) (XD) - $24.95  91 pts  wine review
  • REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT KASELER NIES’CHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2016 - VDP Grosse Lage, Mosel, Germany (#940809) (MS) - $27.95  FE
  • HIDDEN BENCH FUMÉ BLANC 2017 - Rosomel Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada (#068825) (XD) - $29.95  FE  92 pts  wine review
  • KISTLER LES NOISETIERS CHARDONNAY 2017 - Sonoma Coast, California, USA (#251223) (XD) - $99.95
The Lane Vineyard Block 1A Chardonnay 2017 (89 pts)Feudo Antico Biologico Pecorino 2017 (88 pts)

Sparkling Wine:

  • BLUE MOUNTAIN GOLD LABEL BRUT SPARKLING - Traditional method, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada (#206326) (XD) - $29.95  90 pts  wine review
  • TRIUS BRUT ROSÉ - Traditional method, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#184309) (XD) - $32.95  90 pts  wine review

Dessert Wine:

  • PALATINE HILLS VIDAL ICEWINE 2012 - VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#614842) (S) (200 mL) - $19.95  89 pts  wine review
Palatine Hills Vidal Icewine 2012 (89 pts)


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  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Joiy Rosé Sparkling (Australia) - Wine Review

I am trying sparkling wine in a can. This is a new product that will be arriving at the LCBO very soon and will complement the Joiy Sparkling (Riesling) that is currently available.

I must admit, I have never tried wine from a can before and the traditionalist in me thinks that I will eventually drink it from a wine glass. However, I do see the advantages of packaging wine in a can as it is very portable, doesn't require any special openers, nor do you need a glass.

This particular sparkling wine is made by the New Zealand company Joiy in Australia using Australian wine. The winemaker is Chris Archer, an entrepreneur with over 25 years of winemaking experience. He wanted to create a truly unique product that broke the realms of the traditional wine industry. According to Chris, Joiy wines are "Delightfully chic and spirited, Joiy wines act as the catalyst for many social escapades. Joiy celebrates the day. The antidote to the ordinary, it sings of the promise of amusements yet to come. Wines to release a little mischief".

Joiy Rosé Sparkling

Tasting Note:

JOIY ROSÉ SPARKLING - Australia (#647313) (D) (250 mL) - $4.95
Fresh, candied cherry and strawberry aromas that follow through on the off-dry palate with some floral, citrus and bitter stemmy flavours. Crisp and lively acids balance the bubbles and helps keep the sweetness in check. Casual, easy drinking, and fun for a day at the beach or park.


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  • Saturday, March 2, 2019

Rockway Vineyards Brut Cuvée (Niagara) - Wine Review

sparkling wine review is the latest from a recent string of lovely wines I've enjoyed from Niagara's Rockway Vineyards.

Sparkling wine is a category gaining in popularity as more and more people drink various types of bubbly from around the globe. The biggest reason for this is that people aren't just uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine for special occasions, but also for everyday drinking. There is no celebratory occasion happening at my place tonight, other than opening this delightful Niagara bubbly.

This sparkler is the very first Traditional Method Sparkling Wine crafted by Rockway Vineyards and is indeed a very fine bubbly. David Stasiuk is the talented winemaker at Rockway. He used fruit (67% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir) that was hand-picked in early September during the 2015 vintage. The cuvée was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks without malolactic fermentation. Secondary fermentation in bottle occurred using tirage in March 2016, and lasted 6-8 weeks. It was bottle aged for 32 months on lees before being disgorged. Dosage was with wild barrel fermented estate Chardonnay.

This delicious bubbly is available through their retails store in Niagara, as well as their online web store.

Rockway Vineyards Brut Cuvée (90 pts)

Tasting Note:

ROCKWAY VINEYARDS BRUT CUVÉE - Méthode Traditionnelle, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (XD) - $32
A blend of 67% Chardonnay and 33% Pinot Noir aged on the lees for 32 months. Fragrant lemon citrus, ripe green apple and brioche aromas emanate from the glass. It is medium-bodied with crisp, bright acids, fine bubbles and a slightly creamy texture. A touch honeyed on the palate with more lemon citrus, green apple and brioche notes. Nicely balanced with more green apple and lemon flavours on the long finish. Score: 90 pts


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  • Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Wines for Christmas 2018

Wines for Christmas 2018 - Reif Estate Vidal Icewine and Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne

To celebrate , wine is a Champagne that is widely available at the LCBO. It is produced by a house that has been producing champagne for two centuries and has only seen seven Cellar Masters since its founding.

after-dinner drink is an Icewine that is a VINTAGES Essentials listing at the LCBO and always available. This 2012 vintage Icewine was purchased 4 years ago from the LCBO VINTAGES Release.

Tasting Notes:

PERRIER-JOUËT GRAND BRUT CHAMPAGNE - AC, France (#155341) (XD) - $70.95
Blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay aged on the lees for at least 2 years. Elegant aromatics of pastry, lemon citrus, and brioche waft from the glass. It's medium-bodied and dry with fine, creamy mousse and nicely balanced lemony citrus, pastry, yeasty, and autolytic flavours with just a kiss of sweetness. Vibrant acids are well-balanced. A touch smoky on the mid-palate. Crisp, clean and dry with some nutty flavours on the finish with excellent length. Really quite lovely. Lot #L1781724021. Score: 91 pts

Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne (91 pts)Reif Estate Vidal Icewine 2012 (91 pts)

REIF ESTATE VIDAL ICEWINE 2012 - VQA Niagara River, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada (#544791) (S) - $24.95
Honey and orange marmalade aromas from the cork. Highly aromatic with honey, orange marmalade, peach, burnt brown sugar and caramel notes. It is medium-full bodied with a rich and viscous texture. There's just enough acidity here to keep it fresh and not cloying. It's lusciously sweet with lovely aroma replays on the palate, with flavours that continue through to the long finish. Score: 91 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


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