Benvenuto Brunello NYC, 2018

The Consorzio di Brunello’s annual stop on the roadshow to introduce a few of the Brunello wines from the newly released vintage (in this case, the 2013 Brunello, the 2012 Riserva and many 2016 and 2015 Rosso di Montalcino).

This is not my complete list, I will be adding a few others I’ve tasted but not entered notes for yet.

FLIGHT 1 (35 NOTES)

  • 2013 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello, NYC. Tasted the same bottle as oldwines – had pretty much the same take away in that this did not show very well, and seemed to come up well short of any high praise/scores. Very likely this was a combination of bottle variation and, to a lesser degree, aeration. Given the vintage’s classic attributes, I have to believe that this has the same classic elements as some of the finer examples in the room today – just not this bottle; a shame. I will taste it again at ProWein, VinItaly, and most likely during a visit in February, too.

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  • 2012 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. I’ve had this a few times now, and have three in my cellar, too. That said, (today) it’s not necessarily to my tastes (i.e. friends will enjoy it more than I will), and today’s example, where the oak was the bulk of the conversation on the palate, was no exception. I’ve found that these need at least 8-12 years before they reveal the best they have to offer. Raw today, but will likely turn a corner with another 4-6 years of rest, and continue a modest upward trend until it’s peaked in about 9 or 10 years. Based on this potential, it’s recommended

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  • 2012 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Shows the ripeness of the vintage; seems a bit disjointed, as if an hour or so in decanter might have allowed it to integrate/show somewhat better. There’s some underlying material that’s interesting, but it’s yet to find its complete voice. Try again in one year, but probably best to let this rest for at least 3-4 as the oak and tannins are too primary just now. Shows some potential to be recommended, but it’s got some ground to cover, first. That said, I can see where some palates will enjoy this on PnP / as-is.

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  • 2016 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Rosso di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. I like this better than the 2015, and maybe as much as I liked the 2013 when it was released. A year in large oak casks has given the raw, raspy nature of young Sangiovese a needed,rounded edge; one that gives the grape a better, more civilised voice at this tender age. The oak seems in good harmony with the variety, allowing a good display of Tuscan earth, dust and minerals as well as the crisp, red fruits aromas and flavors. Likely to get better over the next few years, it’s already quite nice; as expected, this calls out for food. 14,0% abv., thru 2028. recommended+

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  • 2006 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Vin Santo del Sant’ Antimo

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Vin Santo del Sant’ Antimo

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Young, precocious; good typicity, but needs time for the aromatic and flavor complexity to more fully develop. Good>Very good acidity is likely to see this improve with 5(+) more years of bottle rest. recommended

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  • 2012 La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Consistent with a previous showing, and developing nicely/as expected. Many 2012s seemed to have been picked a little late for my preference, with the additional sufferings of low-er acidity and too much oak presence, but this seems to have avoided those pitfalls. From 7Ha of vineyards in the southern part of Montalicino zone, with ~ 20 days of maceration and raising for 2 years in tonneau (~ 30% new), and a shorter period in stainless prior to bottling and release. A good sense of freshness and balance that renders this offering a good value with equally good cellar potential. Drink or hold. recommended+

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  • 2013 La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Good freshness, with some citrus and crisp, red fruited character accenting really solid structural components. Good>Vg length, and overall potential. A lingering, fresh floral note really complements the other, equally attractive and balanced elements. Give this a few years of rest in the cellar, and it’s likely to show even better than today. Easily recommended

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  • 2005 Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Wow, is this ever showing nicely. Good secondary and tertiary development with balance, depth and a good dose of freshness, too. A solid example of the vintage, and a welcome chance to see their winegrowing philosophy after 10 years of evolution;
    nor or in the next several years. recommended

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  • 2013 Paradisone Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. A sturdy, generously endowed effort that manages the combination of the power and depth of Zona Canalicchio with the elegance and structure of the vintage. After ~25 days on the skins, the wine is refined in large, Slavonian and Allier oak barrels for a period of 40 months; initial fermentation in stainless for ~ one week, after a harvest on 27 Sept. Dry, red>dark red-fruited, and pitched with extract, this effort will need a few years to better integrate. Drink 2022 thru 2037, and easily recommended

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  • 2016 La Fiorita Rosso di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino

    ~ 10 days on skins, with fermentation in Slavonian casks. After, this is raised in second passage tonneau for ten months, with an additional two months of rest in bottle prior to release. Easy drinking, with the vintage’s structural benefits as well. Now thru 2026. Easily recommended

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  • 2016 Le Chiuse Rosso di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino

    One year in 20 and 30hl Slavonian oak casks. Pretty, bright garnet/ruby color, with fresh floral, soil and red fruit aromas. Pretty, structured, balanced, it’s hitting all the right notes. Not easily sourced, but worth the effort if you can find some. A true baby Brunello, thru 2027; should evolve nicely. recommended+

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  • 2013 Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. From organically farmed grapes comes a classic Brunello effort that already shows elegance and finesse even if it’s still in need of a few years of cellar rest. Red-ruited, fresh, with poignant soil and floral notes. Might be too traditional for some, but with 7-8 years of rest, this is likely to please all comers. ~ 20 days on skins, native yeasts, lightly filtered, and raised in older, large oak casks. highly recommended

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  • 2013 Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Huge tannins, with a noticeably zealous oak presence at the moment, this larger, red>dark red-fruited effort needs several years for tannic and overall integration. That said, I felt it was missing a notch of acidity that many of the better examples of ’13 were offering. Of course, in these types of trade tastings, conditions are far from perfect, and (prior) aeration is seldom a forethought let alone a practice. The finish is medium today, but this shows some interesting/enjoyable material in the middle that may well flesh out and develop with a few (3-5) years of rest, so it’s one to keep an eye on. 14,5% abv. (nearly fully resolved). Raised in a combination of 20hl and 30hl Slavonian oak casks for three years. recommended today, with a fair chance of a higher rating in 7-9 years.

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  • 2012 Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Notwithstanding its refinement in older Slavonian oak casks and older tonneau, this shows the ripeness and challenges of the vintage with its candied red fruits, vanilla gloss and modern edges. Not sure if a slightly earlier pick date was possible, but that was the first thing (i.e. wish) that came to mind. Still, I like it, for what it is, as there some good purity to the fruit. No doubt the one or two-sentence (at most), point-tossing critics will look upon it rather favorably. Now thru 2027. 14,5% abv. recommended

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  • 2015 Palazzo Rosso di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. In the mold of many 2015s from this region, this is ripe-ish, with warm spice, creamy red/dark red fruits, a trifle of soil, and a bit too much wood presence for my personal taste. Still, some will like the gregariousness of it all. Absent some structural components that might otherwise have put this on my shopping list. 14,0% abv., thru 2023.

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  • 2015 Piancornello Rosso di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Pretty serious stuff for a Rosso. The organically farmed grapes for this bottling come from the southwestern part of Montalcino zone, specifically, an area rich in alluvial, sandy, and quite rocky terrain. This offers a depth and breadth that’s common to wines from this region, with the added benefit of more tension and length than many were able to offer in their own 2015 Rosso wines. There’s a lightly modern touch to this, but I’ll go on a limb and say it’s the vintage’s fault, not the winemakers – if that’s a fault, which, technically it’s not, rather just a stylistic/preferential choice. That said, I’d drink this again…and again. The 14,5% abv. is already fully integrated; thru 2025. recommended

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  • 2013 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. 2nd/3rd/4th passage tonneau with some time in grandi botti, too. A striking, very light garnet color aptly heralds the freshness and florality here. Already offering some elegance, it’s coupled with some warm brown spices, dust, red>dark red fruits and medium+ acidity. The tannins will need another year, at least, to more fully integrate; shows lots of promise, should last 20 years or more. highly recommended

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  • 2010 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. An unexpectedly beautiful nose. I say that because there are just a handful in this vintage that have locked freshness together with nicely ripe red – berry and cherry – fruits. A riserva that’s not too wooded, not too ripe, this sets itself apart from the crowd with plenty of fresh apple skin, red and purple flowers, and a ripe-ish sensation that’s more striking on the nose than the really well-balanced, and fresh, palate. Already nodding in the direction of very good in terms of length, this will no doubt get there (i.e. very good) in due time. The 15,0% is already fully integrated. Serve this at 18C, and do so beginning in another year or two. Easily recommended, with upside noted.

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  • 2015 Tenuta Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Bright garnet>ruby, clear. Unlike many today, this is showing no oak presence on the nose – the palate, too, is fresh and well-balanced. The length and flavors are already fairly deep for a newly released wine, and I feel there’s room for more upside here given some moments of a semi-intense finish, and overall tension. Not austere, or bitter, rather great balance/ripeness/freshness, that will likely carry this into the top quartile of 2015 rosso wines from Montalcino zone; will likely add some weight, too. A welcome surprise from this address. 13,5% abv., 2019-2026. Gladly recommended+

    At $20 or less, a solid candidate for a case purchase.

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  • 2015 Tenuta Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino La Caduta

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Rather brilliant, and the kind of wine that deserves the label of Baby Brunello, even if there is no such thing.As with the Caparzo rosso before it, this too offers up tremendous freshness, but this sets itself apart with a really clean, herbal, soil and light red-fruited character; nods toward the forest, too. Traditional in its presence, in the best of ways. Good now, great with another year in the cellar. 13,5% abv. (fully integrated, with the tannins not too far behind). Based on its potential, highly recommended.

    Load up.

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  • 2013 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Textbook, classic and really fun Brunello wine with a solid future. If the palate ends up filling the mold of the nose, with its profound and enticing aromas, this is going to be very good indeed; pretty sure it’s going to get there. OK, I’m sure. Red fruited, with soil, herbs, red and white flowers, tree bark and mushrooms on the nose. Very good harmony, and maybe the best new release BdM from this house I’ve ever had; they’re back on my radar. Overall tannic and acidic build here are in great concert with the fruit – fruit that will no doubt gain weight, complexity and breath, with further cellaring. 13,5% abv., drink thru 2037, likely beginning its peak plateau in about 8-9 more years. highly recommended

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  • 2013 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Vigna La Casa

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. On par with the 2013 Normale, but with its own distinguishing characteristics – it’s a bit softer, more harmonious at this early stage, with light warmth, an already long finish and an approachable yet structured chassis. I like it just as much as the normale, but for different reasons. Classy and understated in its way. 13,5% abv., thru 2034. highly recommended

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  • 2012 Tenuta Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Excellent. A few hundred wines here today, and this quite easily distinguished itself among the top of the 2012 Riserva wines being poured. Intense beauty on the nose and palate, and in a single stroke, it put Caparzo back on my radar. Slightly darker in color than the host of 2013 being poured (likely the vintage more than wood/extraction), but in no way any less elegant or exciting that the others in the line up. Fresh, lovely, just getting started, with a very bright future. Buy early, the price is going to go up. 13,5% abv., thru 2038. highly recommended

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  • 2013 Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Not sure if this needed a lot of aeration, a jump start, or a generous dose of freshness (all of the above?), but this just wasn’t doing anything for me. Modern, and one note. Most restaurant list patrons/owners will be happy with it, others, not so much. 14,0% abv.

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  • 2013 Castello Romitorio Brunello di Montalcino Filo di Seta

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. A significant step up from the 2013 Normale, but miles away from justifying its price tag; too many others in this class offering more excitement and freshness for less (in some cases much less) money. I wanted to like it more than I did; like but can’t recommend. Just not for my palate or wallet. Drink 2019-2031; only 6k bottles produced (37k for normale).

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  • 2012 Podere Casisano Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Glossy website, slick photos and enthusiastic Suckling scores. On top of that, I found velvety, but I never did find soul, or freshness, just a style, and some anonymity.

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  • 2013 Podere Casisano Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Steakhouse Brunello, the kind of steakhouses I avoid. That said, I avoid all steakhouses. In a room full of wines that tried – and many found – to lock in freshness, this just is. Not my preferred style, no telling if there’s potential in this plot of land – I have to think so even if I’m offered no proof.

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  • 2013 Col di Lamo Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. A welcome surprise. Long maceration, native yeasts, some older tonneau but mostly older, large casks; traditional profile with freshness, balance and soul. I’ve not tasted these since the 2010 was released iirc, but this signpost is one I’ll be remembering for some time. Classic build/lines, with gravel and dust at the core of its sweet cherry fruit and herbal tones. Medium-bodied, structured, with good purity, focus. Give this 2-3 years of rest for an even better showing; me, I’d be opening these in 8-12 years. Quite nice @ circa $60. recommended, with upside noted.

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  • 2012 Tenuta Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Nastagio

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. In contrast to the more mass (220K bottles) produced normale, the Nastagio has a total production circa 10K bottles. The fermentation is in 100hl stainless tanks; after, it’s moved to tonneau of different ages (mostly used), then it’s refined in larger casks for a period of two years. Modest>good complexity, avg purity and length, with a good chance for some nice upside from here. Even if the tannins are fairly resolved, there’s still a precociousness to the wine that suggests a few years of bottle rest will help this along greatly. 14,5% abv., thru 2029. Red-fruited, avg>avg+ acidity and overall structure. recommended

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  • 2013 Tenuta Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. A good effort, and an affordable Brunello, but there were many rosso wines here today (at half the price) that I preferred a great deal more than this Brunello . Organically farmed, with a total production of ~ 220K bottles. Not something I’d purchase, even if it’s likely to get a little better/more integrated from here. Now thru 2027.

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  • 2013 Fanti (Tenuta San Filippo) Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. A baby, sure, but one with promise. Having had nearly 20 years of this wine at release, I think I know some promise when I see it. And while this is a bit awkward – tart, thinner middle, etc. – now, it’s got very good tension, above-average purity, crisp red fruits and really fresh acidity. Another 3-5 years, and this will have filled out, have added more complexity and weight. For those of you that already know this wine, buy it early and buy a good quantity, it’s going to treat you right – in time. Love the light, bright garnet>ruby color. Thru 2031+
    recommended+

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  • 2015 Fanti (Tenuta San Filippo) Rosso di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Bright garnet> ruby, clear. Light>medium-bodied at this tender stage, with some tart cherry fruit, Tuscan dust/soil, pomegranate, and freshly cut red/purple flowers. Acids and finish are both medium+, suggesting that in 1-3 more years, this may very well fit into its (currently too large) clothes at a later date. I like it, but then I like really traditional, clean and pure wines. Thru 2025.
    recommended+

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  • 2013 Fanti (Tenuta San Filippo) Brunello di Montalcino Vallocchio

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. Brillant brick red, clear. Four different parcels within a single cru, picked on a single day, and raised in second passage tonneau and larger (33hl) casks. The nose is wow-ish, I say -ish because it’s there, then it’s gone, then it’s there again. A new born, but one with great promise, I think; now, it’s showing some sawn wood, a touch of EtOH, but also vg tension. 14,5% abv. Fine, lightly sweet tannins still need at least 2-4 years to more fully integrate. I was really pleased with this but more so for its potential than anything it could provide today. Excellent food wine; ~ a quarter [just 12k) as many bottles produced compared with the normale. Drink 2020-2034+ recommended

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  • 2013 Il Paradiso di Frassina Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. I’m afraid I don’t like it as much as WTSO members, or Suckling, as I find the creamy oak to be a detractor from the inherent brightness that the fruit should have at this early stage; no doubt I’m in the minority. Some have referred to this as traditional, but with as much French oak (granted of various sizes, including 700-liter, 15/20 and 30hl barrels) as this sees, for my palate, it comes across more glossy than crisp, more occluded than focused. From the northern third of Montalcino zone; good for its style. 2019-2028.

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  • 2013 Il Palazzone Brunello di Montalcino

    Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino

    Benvenuto Brunello NYC. The 2013 vintage in Montalcino zone is one in which a few winegrowers will have achieved greatness, producing wines of considerable elegance, structure and purity; Il Palazzone has produced such a wine. From the sample size I’ve had so far, it seems there will be a normal distribution of quality within Montalcino zone – a few producing mediocre wines, the majority producing good>very good wines, and a few that have produced wines of great beauty. Again, the Il Palazzone, so fresh and pure, is in that final category. On the one hand it’s going to be tempting to want to open one now, but on the other, it’s clear this is going to get better with some patience. Long macerations, grandi botti, meticulous and sustainable farming, this is the total package. Il Palazzone is on a roll; buy it early, and in this vintage, buy a few more than you normally would, it’s special. Circa 11K bottles is all, and they’ll go fast. Drink 2021-2041. very highly recommended

    https://wp.me/p7fulH-23W

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CLOSING

In summary, the vintage was excellent. It was cool, even, long. 2006 comes to mind, and many of those are drinking incredibly well right now, with a handful of others still 5-6 years away from entering their preferred plateaus. 2013 is a fairly big departure from 2012 and 2011 (both quite warm, plenty of challenges). It’s not 2010, and no similarities should be drawn to it. I think 2006 is a fair/accurate comparison, and that’s saying a lot. I’m a fan, more so for the wines from my favorite producers, most of whom were not able to attend this program, but I found some new ones that are one my radar, too. I will visit the Benvenuto Brunello event (4 days) in Montalcino in just a few weeks; a very comprehensive  report is in my future.

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