Sue Courtney's Fine Wine Wednesday tasting notes were recorded for First Glass Wines and Spirits in Takapuna for publication on their website. These notes are archival and may have been deleted from their site by now.
Some of the prices may be 'specials'. Check out www.first-glass.co.nz for current availability and pricing. New Zealand readers can purchase the wines online from there.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 27th Jun 2007
Australian Shiraz from the Cuisine Magazine and others
Wines were tasted blind.
Nobilo Icon Gisborne Chardonnay 2005
Light gold coloured with smoky oak aromas and big, rich, creamy flavours, it's nutty, oily and spicy with a mouthfilling caramel/butterscotch richness and a long tasty finish with peach, citrus and a grilled pineapple brightness.
14% alc. $19.99. Cork.
Ingoldby McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004
Deep red coloured with red fruits, dark smoky savoury oak and fruitcake spices on the nose, it's medium-bodied and fruity to the taste with soft juicy tannins, glace cherries, black and red jubes and underlying acidity to keep the sweet fruit in check. Chocolate and mocha come into play with typical Shiraz spice and hints of pepper and by the time you get to the bottom of the glass, it leaves you wanting more. 4 stars Cuisine.
14% alc. $17.99 special. Cork.
Richmond Grove Limited Release Barossa Shiraz 2002
Deep dark, inky red, showing a little fading on the edge, this is immediately what many of us think of as classic Barossa shiraz. Seductive aromas of voluptuous, creamy, toasty American oak and Shiraz spice and rich, ripe, full-bodied flavours full of spicy vanillin oak, concentrated red and black fruits, chocolate and hints of mint that brighten the finish. Tannins are strong but beautifully integrated giving this wine a gorgeous flow and secondary bottle flavours are starting to emerge. Totally harmonious, it's drinking beautifully now but there's plenty of life ahead of it too. Our rating: 5 stars.
3 Golds, 2 Trophies. 14.5% alc. $17.99 special. Cork.
Taylors Clare Valley Shiraz 2005
Bright black red, fine in its appearance with savoury, spicy oak aromas that hint of pepper and mocha and medium to full-bodied flavours with quite firm tannins, fruit cake and peppery spices, red and black fruits and a bright, juicy, aromatic and long-flavoured finish. Excellent value at the special price. 4 Stars Cuisine.
14.5% alc. $15.99 special. Screwcap.
Wolf Blass Gold Label Barossa Shiraz 2005
Black red, fine, bright with more intensity and depth than the previous wine, there's smoky vanillin oak, cherries and fruit cake spice on the nose and peppery spices, purple and black fruits, chocolate and creamy sweet oak flavours with a burst of sweet shiraz spice on the long chocolatey finish. With its fine-grained tannin structure it seems medium-to full-bodied at first but there is underlying power and savouriness that builds to a long, salivating finish. 5 Stars Cuisine.
14.5% alc. $16.99 special. Screwcap.
Saltram Mamre Brook Barossa Shiraz 2004
Deep black red in colour, there's sweet vanillin oak and cherry chocolate on the nose with hints of mocha, and mouthfilling flavours with hot peppery spices, fine tannins and toasty French and American oak. It's a powerful, lifted, full-bodied style with a juicy mid-palate and cherry jam and chocolate lingering on the long, fine-textured finish with a lovely balance of fruit and oak and a firm tannin structure to support it all the way through. Legendary at First Glass and 5 Stars at Cuisine.
14.5% alc. $18.99 special. Screwcap.
Shingleback McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004
Deep dark pinky red with blackcurrant and spicy savoury oak aromas and dark savoury, earthy flavours with a hint of bitter chocolate, it's shows a little maturity with the emergence of smoky, tobacco-like characters and fruit seems to play a secondary role. With hints of mint, pepper, mocha, fruitcake spices and fine-textured, smooth tannins, it's full-bodied and harmonious with cherries emerging on the long sweet, savoury/spicy finish and the aftertaste is long. Trophy – Liquorland Top 100.
14.5% alc. $19.99 special. Cork.
Tapestry McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004
Deep, shiny black red with a savoury, earthy aroma that hints of barnyard, smoke and tar, the savouriness carries through to the dark, juicy palate that's full of black fruits, spice, tobacco, mocha, chocolate and liquorice with finely textured tannins that are still quite grippy on the finish. This is a powerful, full-bodied, concentrated, meaty wine with an abundance of pepper on the long, savoury, bitter chocolate finish and hints of cherry and musk lingering on the fantastically long, mouthfilling aftertaste.
14.5% alc. $$23.99 special. Cork.
Grant Burge Filsell Barossa Shiraz 2004
Deep shiny blackberry red with smoky, dark cedary oak, bright berry fruits and aromatic peppery spices on the nose, it shows all the qualities of a top class shiraz with its fine tannins, classy oak, hints of cigar box and lovely balance of smoky savouriness and ripe berry fruits. It's full-bodied with smooth, fine-grained tannins, cherry, chocolate and a lush spiciness while a touch of mint adds a bright, lifted clean finish. A delicious Shiraz with excellent length and a smoky, savoury aftertaste, it 's been matured in American and French oak for 18 months and has years of life ahead of it. 5 Stars Cuisine.
14.5% alc. $27.99 special. Cork.
Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Barossa Shiraz 2005
Bright, shiny, blackberry red with sweet vanillin oak, cherries and bright, aromatic spices on the nose and big, thick, full-bodied, mouthfilling flavours that completely take over the palate. It's sweet-fruited with juicy Black Doris plum and blueberry fruit, chocolate and liquorice with firm grippy tannins, smoky oak and a slightly savoury, tarry, earthy finish with a touch of cigar that complements the fruit, spice and oak beautifully. Excellent length. 5 Stars Cuisine.
14% alc. $27.99 special. Screwcap.
Willows Barossa Shiraz 2003
Deep dark bricky red with a fading garnet red edge it's smoky, savoury and a little jammy with a sense of maturity on the nose and it shows some lovely development in the palate too with the fruit, oak and tannins coming together beautifully. The flavour is reminiscent of Christmas cake cherries and fruit cake spices with a dark chocolatey oak backbone and hints of liquorice, mocha, cigar box, black pepper and mint with a fine, smooth tannin structure. Not nearly as much mint toothpaste flavours as I remember from of the Willows wines of the past. 5 Stars and No.1 in the Cuisine Magazine tasting.
14.5% alc. $31.99. Cork.
Annies Lane Copper Trail Clare Valley Shiraz 2002
Deep dark red with smoky aromas and deep, dark, earthy flavours with powerful, well-integrated tannins, savoury oak, vanilla, mint, pepper, fruit cake spices and a bright, lifted finish. It's full-bodied and rich with lovely harmony and integration throughout and a very, long, satisfying finish. 4 Stars Cuisine.
15% alc. $49.99. Screwcap.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 20th Jun 2007
D'Arenberg Wines with Darry and Chester Osborn
Wines were not tasted blind.
d’Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2005
Light gold coloured with spicy, slightly oily, aromatic nutty scents and spicy, crisp, full-bodied flavours with hints of stonefruit, apple, quince and a toasty richness. It's quite dry with focused citrus-like acidity but the texture is slightly oily and becomes almost unctuous on the long, lingering, spicy, lifted and very warm finish. Named for the Money Spiders that were found in the vineyard where these grapes were grown.
14% alc. $NA.Screwcap.
d’Arenberg The Last Ditch Viognier 2006
Straw gold coloured. Oak is immediately apparent on the nose - nutty oak and figs and lots of mealy nuances - fragrant and a little floral. The apricot fruit shines through the oak in the sweet-fruited, warm palate that has a spicy backbone with hints of citrus zest that flourish on the nutty finish. There's a steely undercurrent that nicely balances the richness and full-bodied character of the fruit. Long and tasty, this is a very appealing and different style with Chester attributes to the Chateau Grillet clone. Made from 11 year old vines, with 9 months in older oak, the name attributes the vineyard site, which is down the bottom of a gully in a big ditch.
13% alc. $19.99 special. Screwcap.
d’Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2004
Rich red coloured, this has fruity, cherry/raspberry scents with a hint of earth and juicy red fruit flavours over a tarry backbone with dried herbs, fruit cake spices, pepper, a hint of menthol and hot dried red earth characters. Medium-bodied and approachable with reasonable underlying acidity, the tannins are smooth and it has plenty of flavour, bite and spice.
14.5% alc. $17.99 special. Cork.
d’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2004
Deep black red with a fine textured appearance, this has an immediately impressionable aroma full of pepper, mint and fragrant oak and gutsy flavours full of juicy purple fruits, hot peppery spices and sweet cedar. Tannins are slightly grippy but it delivers flavour and length with that hallmark earthiness that all the wines seem to have. This was previously named the "Old Vines Shiraz".
14.5% alc. $17.99 special. Screwcap.
d’Arenberg The Cadenzia 2004
Deep black red with a purple tint, on the nose there's a hint of marmite with earth and tar which is uplifted by a herbal mintiness and it is utterly juicy in the palate with warm cedary vanillin oak, succulent tannins, loads of allspice, pepper, mint, fragrant floral nuances and a dark, earthy, meaty finish with a cigar box-like smokiness and even a hint of chocolate. Made from 51% Grenache, 44% Shiraz and 5% Mourvedre, this is very good wine. Double gold medal winner.
14.5% alc. $26.99 special. Zork closure.
d’Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2006
Deep coloured, fragrant, perfumed and floral with hints of apricot, sweet cedary oak and allspice, it’s perfumed and spicy in the palate with concentrated purple fruit, violets to the fore and a gorgeous slipperiness to the texture. There's mocha and chocolate but it's not sweet, just earthy and intense with lots of juicy purple fruit and a full-bodied, lifted and long finish. A big wine but deliciously approachable because of the Viognier component, it can only be rated as excellent. For many tasters, this was the Wine of the Night.
It is named because Chester's daughter couldn't pronounce Kookaburra - so Magpie was chosen. The black bird with a little white on its plumage complements the combination of mostly black Shiraz grapes with about 10% of the white Viognier.
14.5% alc. $33.99. Screwcap.
d’Arenberg The Galvo Garage 2004
Very deep red, this is a rich, ripe, concentrated and powerful wine with sweet oak and spice that is a little reminiscent of Shiraz but the spice comes from the Petit Verdot. It's definitely Bordeaux through and through on the nose with blackcurrant, earth, leather, tar, cedar and mint and these characters carry through to the concentrated, full-boded palate with violets and dried herbs and juicy red fruits and underlying acidity boding well for long term cellaring. This classy, dry, beautifully structured wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc and named after the Bordeaux garagiste producers. Multiple Golds.
14.5% alc. $31.99 special. Cork.
d’Arenberg The Twenty Eight Road Mourvedre 2004
Deep red, almost black, this is a fragrant and concentrated, meaty, earthy wine with a lovely purple fruit sweetness and gutsy, full-bodied flavours with big grainy biscuity tannins well balanced by the powerful sweet fruit. There's a spicy flourish with underlying acidity and a ton of chocolate with liquorice, a hint of dried herb and rose petal / rose hip jam while florals dance on the long, satisfying, finish. Named for the road that runs alongside the vineyard.
14.5% alc. $35.99 special. Cork.
d’Arenberg The Sticks & Stones Tempranillo Grenache Souzao 2004
Deep black red with a violet glow, this is quite different from the others with is savoury aromas and spicy, sweet American oak in the palate. It's full-bodied, lifted, spicy and fragrant with a fine tannin structure and culminates in a big, meaty, smoky, earthy and gutsy finish with a floral lift to the finish and hints of orange zest, jaffa and mocha. Very long. Souzao is a Portuguese red fleshed grape, makes a light weight but really dense coloured wine.
14.5% alc. $31.99 special. Cork.
d’Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2004
Deep red, a little less impact on edges than the others, this is fragrant, and cedary with a sweet red fruit perfume. It's deep and earthy-flavoured in the palate with lifted raspberry jube-like fruits and spice with a sweet fruit overlay and soft, warm, crushed velvet tannins with a cigar-like smokiness on the finish. Medium to full-bodied, it's a little lighter and fruitier in comparison to some of the other wines, which makes it immensely drinkable at this stage of its life. Named for the derelict bush vine vineyard where the weeds are sometimes higher than the vines. Gold - NZ International Wine Show.
14.5% alc. $35.99. Cork.
d’Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Concentrated deep red colour. Powerful dark earth aroma with chocolate and black currant. Lifted, spicy flavours with bright red and black currant fruit, nutty oak, hints of mint, hints of chocolate, a concentrated earthy, tarry backbone and a fine textured powerful tannin structure. A tight wine, it opens up well with swirling in the glass and would benefit from decanting. Named for the road adjacent to the vineyard, this is made from a nearly extinct clone of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is low yielding but has great acidity and grape tannins. Multiple Gold medal winner and Trophy at the NZ International Wine Show.
14.5% alc. $66.99. Screwcap.
d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2004
Concentrated purple black colour with crimson edges, this has a deep, concentrated, earthy aroma with a fragrant blackberry, chocolate and spice overlay and concentrated, deep blackberry fruit flavours with a myriad of fruitcake and peppery spices, nutty oak, chocolate, mocha and violets. The tannins are seductively fine, the finish is perfumed and the length is simply fantastic. This is one of Australia’s great Shirazes. Named for the dead arms of the old vines, this is a double gold medal winner.
14.5% alc. $65.99. Screwcap.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 13th Jun 2007
Spain, Italy, France and Argentina
Wines were tasted blind.
Torres Gran Vina Sol Chardonnay 2005 - Penedes, Spain
Chardonnay blended with 15% Parellada, an indigenous Spanish white grape, it's light gold in colour with nutty oak and figs on the nose and crisp, refreshing lightly savoury, slightly salty, nutty flavours with hints of lime and creamy vanillin oak softening the finish. 13.5% alc. $23.99. Screwcap.
Baumann Riesling 2005 - Riquewihr, Alsace, France
Light yellow gold with fragrant, floral aromas and crisp, dry flavours with limes, lemons and a touch of peach, it has an oily richness to the texture and a reasonably full-bodied finish. Rated two on the sweetness scale (1 is dry and 10 is sweet), this has a spunky, modern label. 12.5% alc. $26.99.
Baumann Pinot Gris 2005 - Riquewihr, Alsace, France
Pale lemon with some viscosity to the appearance, this is a fleshy wine with stonefruit and honeysuckle, a hint of botrytis, a nutty richness and a clean lingering finish with apricots to the fore and a touch of spice. A pretty wine with appealing weight and flavour. Five on the Baumann sweetness scale. 13% alc. $31.99.
Bodegas Breton Lorinon Rioja Crianza 2003 - Rioja, Spain
Medium burgundy red in colour, this light to medium bodied wine smells earthy and savoury with hints of spicy oak and redcurrant fruit and the flavours are earthy, savoury and herbal with sweet cherry balanced by a touch of acidity. Smooth and integrated, this entry level, easy drinking style is made from a blend of 85% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. 13.5% alc. $24.99.
Montgó Monastrell Shiraz 2004 - Yecla, Spain
Deep blackberry red with a bright pinky red edge, the smoky, concentrated aroma is full of blackberry and black cherry fruit that carries through to the gutsy, full-bodied, bright fruited, grippy palate that hints of liquorice with sweet spicy oak, tobacco, dried herbs and tar. The addition of Shiraz adds a comfort factor to this deliciously juicy wine, the acidity is bright and the finish is long and creamy. A blend of 65% Monastrell, 20% Shiraz and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.5% alc. $22.99 special.
Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec 2005 - Mendoza, Argentina
Blackberry red with crimson edges, there's polished French oak, jammy red fruits and cherries on the nose with a hint of spice and the smooth, creamy, fine tannined palate is full of blackberry and cherry fruit. It's fabulously juicy with just a touch of earthiness to the finish. 13.5% alc. $15.99.
Capineto Castalado Chianti 2004 - Tuscany, Italy
A medium blackberry red, fading a little on the edges, it smells savoury with dried herbs and hints of redcurrant and it tastes savoury and slightly earthy with light, fine, dry tannins, a hint of liquorice, rosehips, rosemary and tarragon and a red fruit vinous sweetness on the dry finish. 12.5% alc. $20.99.
Pesquera Crianza 2004 - Ribera del Duero, Spain
Deep blackberry red. Smoke, tar, tobacco, leather and hints of chocolate on the nose and powerful, sweet, spicy, peppery flavours with chocolate, blackberries, smoke and leather - it has a lovely balance of fruit sweetness and tannin dryness with a dark, savoury, earthiness to the finish. A lipsmacking wine with impact throughout. 14% alc. $39.99.
La Multa Old Vine Tempranillo 2005 - Calatyud, Spain
Deep boysenberry/blackberry red - bright and youthful in appearance. There's a concentrated jammy fruitiness to the slightly smoky nose and ripe red and black berry fruit in the full-bodied palate with dark toasted smoky oak, a lovely fine but powerful tannin structure, hints of earth, lots of spice and a thick, fleshy finish. Very modern in style with the potential to cellar but drinking well now. 14.5% alc. $17.99 special.
Armantes Old Bush Vine Garnacha 2004 - Calatyud, Spain
A lighter coloured medium red wine with some fading on the edges, there's dried herbs, cherries, smoke and musk on the nose and jammy fruit sweetness in the palate - it's quite lifted with dried fruit-cake fruit and spices, a touch of strawberry, smooth meaty tannins and well-integrated older oak. Drinking well now. 14% alc. $15.99 special.
Papa Luna 2005 - Calatyud, Spain
Deep black cherry red with concentrated, jammy red fruit aromas and lovely bright red fruit flavours with deliciously creamy oak, chocolate, liquorice, plums, spice and smoke. A very, very impressive wine, quite new world in style and merlot-like in its concentration but it's made from a blend of 70% Garnacha, 25% Shiraz and 5% Mazuelo & Monastrell. 14.5% alc. $24.99.
Chivite Gran Feudo Moscatel 2006 - Navarra, Spain
Pale lemon in colour and slightly viscous in appearance, this floral smelling wine has a delicately musky, oily perfume that leads into a rich, muscat fruit flavour with moderate sweetness, a crisp underlying salty spiciness, a touch of honey and a bright, fresh, clean finish with hints of orange zest. A delightful sorbet for a dinner party, it is made from Muscat-a-petit-grain grapes and comes in a 500ml bottle. 12% alc. $25.99.
Fine Wine Wednesday Tasting - 6th June 2007
Proud to be a Kiwi
Wines were tasted blind.
Vavasour Marlborough Chardonnay 2005
Light gold coloured with toasty aromas of spicy cedar, butterscotch and caramel and creamy oak flavours with bright lifted stonefruit, hints of juicy tropical fruit and a long, lasting, clean, fresh fragrant finish with a savouriness coming from the underlying spicy yeast lees flavours. 100% Awatere fruit. Gold Royal Easter Wine Show. 14.5% alc. $19.99. Screwcap.
Bilancia Hawkes Bay Pinot Grigio 2006
Straw gold coloured; citrussy aromas with a hint of blossom; rich, bright and oily textured with a light, lemony zing, a biscuity backbone and a long dry creamy finish. A powerful style of Pinot Gris with good expression of ripe pear fruit. 14% alc. $29.99. Screwcap.
Millton Te Arai Vineyard Gisborne Chenin Blanc 2005
Bright yellow gold in colour. Honey and beeswax scents are joined with lanolin, hints of orange zest and toast; it seems quite dry to the taste with a honeyed beeswax backbone, exotic tropical fruit, hints of lime and apple and a spicy kick to the luscious fruity finish. Medium to full-bodied in palate weight, it's tasty, bright and refreshing. 25% of the grapes had botrytis and the finished wine has 11g/l residual sugar. 13.5% alc. $26.99. Cork.
Spy Valley Marlborough Chardonnay 2005
Light yellow gold in colour, it's lightly citrussy on the nose with fragrant oak and delicate hints of butter; and fruit and creamy to the taste with juicy citrus, hints of grapefruit, tropical fruit, spicy oak and a leesy, biscuity, savoury undercurrent. Rich, ripe, rounded and delicious. Gold Air NZ Wine Awards. 13.5% alc. $19.99. Screwcap.
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Marlborough Chardonnay 2006
Pale lemon yellow with buttery, zesty, spicy oak aromas, it's a big rich oaky style with a creamy, savoury backbone, grapefruit, spice, a touch of honey, plenty of cedar and nougat on the very long, fleshy caramel finish. Don’t serve too chilled at this stage of its life as it stunts the flamboyance of this delicious creamy wine and accentuates the oak and acid. Served at room temperature, it's simply seamless. 14% alc. $24.99. Screwcap.
Mission Jewelstone Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2004
Lemon gold with an oily, lanolin-like, smoky, flinty and mellow oak aroma, there's plenty of toasty flavours in the full-bodied palate with nuts, figs, stonefruit, a bright citrussy undercurrent, a fair whack of malolactic, a leesy richness and a cedary finish. Now three years old and showing a little bottle development. Gold NZ International Wine Show. 14% alc. $27.99. Diam.
Muddy Water Riesling Unplugged 2006 - Waipara
Light gold coloured with perfumed apricot and lime sherbet aromas, it's a sweet, botrytis-influenced, late harvest style with a spicy, spritzy palate full of zesty lemon and limes with hints of tropical fruit. It's lightly viscous in texture with earthy honey on the finish and a touch of tangelo to keep that focused seam of brightness throughout. A delicious wine that really suits being chilled. 13% alc. 58g/li rs. $26.99. Screwcap.
Main Divide Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006
Dense ruby with crimson edges, chocolate and savoury oak tempt the nose and lead into a ripe, flavoursome palate with chocolate, cherries, savoury oak and anise-like spices with a hint of dried rosemary on the finish. It's soft, fruity and creamy with a silky tannin structure. Deliciously approachable already. 14.5% alc. $21.99. Screwcap.
Carrick Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Dense ruby with purple garnet edges, it's finely textured in appearance. Savoury, smoky, spicy aromas fill the nose and dense, savoury, full-bodied flavours fill the palate. It’s a gutsy, deep, earthy pinot with firm velvety tannins, juicy red cherry and cranberry fruits, hints of Valrhona chocolate and a long sweet, spicy finish. It just needs a little more time to let the tannins integrate. 13.5% alc. $45.99. Screwcap.
Mt. Difficulty Long Gully Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005
Deep ruby black, quite dense in appearance, it's fragrantly scented with smoky spicy oak and tastes savoury and earthy with firm silky tannins, forest floor nuances, juicy red and black cherry fruit, a touch of chocolate, mulled wine spices and dried herbs emerging. There's a lovely lift to the finish where a floral, dried rose-like fragrance and a hint of orange pomander comes through. A long-flavoured, elegant, silky-smooth wine to savour. 14% alc. $74.99. Screwcap.
Mills Reef Reserve Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2005
Deep red black with bright crimson edges, this luxuriously coloured red is appealing scented and full of tasty full-bodied flavours. Red fruits, vanilla, chocolate and sweet cedary oak fill the nose and lush red and black berry flavours are joined by liquorice and fruit cake spice with rose hips and a touch of chocolate. A wine of depth and concentration, it's absolutely delicious and puts some $40 reds to shame. 14% alc. $18.99. Screwcap.
Craggy Range Sophia 2005 - Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay
Inky purple black, deep, dense and earthy with hints of violets and rose petal over perfumed, spicy cedary oak - the alluring aroma which leads into a deep, dark, savoury full-bodied palate with a beautifully fine tannin structure, smoky vanillin cedar, red and black fruits, tar, liquorice and oak spice. It's rich and ripe and perfectly balanced with a juicy creaminess and a violetty fragrance to the long, vanillin cedar finish. A blend of 62% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, it was matured in French oak, 80% new, for 19 months. A star! 14% alc. $44.99. Cork.
Note: The New Zealand wines listed on this page have been cross-catalogued to my wine reviews by grape variety - check out my Wine Review Index.
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