Sine Qua Non California Cult Rhone Wine Tasting

Friday, February 26, 2021 - 07:30 PM

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"I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury.  On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens." - Thomas Jefferson

If only a modern day politician could contribute as much to the quality of our life as the late great Thomas Jefferson.  He was one of the first advocates of wine in the United States and he is one of the reasons why we have the greatest selection of wines from all around the world in the U.S. today.  So, remember...no matter how bad it gets, we still have great wines here in the U.S. of A.

 

 

What makes a "cult wine"? Do the producers pick the grapes at night under the full moon? Do they make it under a secret oath or while sacrificing a small farm animal? These ultra expensive, hard to find wines from California just have more customers than they do bottles to go around.  The simplest factor in the economy kicks in with these wines, good old supply and demand.  

This is one of the only California Cult wineries that makes wines from Rhone varietals that demands ridiculous prices and that is due to the tiny quantity produced and the ridiculous scores by the critics.  These wines defy all odds and they change the names of the wines and the bottle shapes every year which would seemingly confuse even the most astute collectors, but they sell out of everything on the mailing list in short order every vintage and the wines skyrocket in price shortly after release, some selling for over $1000 per bottle!!

This evening you can taste 10 different wines from this producer for less than the cost of a single bottle in most cases!  And the price of this event includes dinner!!  There are only 14 spaces available for this event.  The fee for this tasting is $475 + tax for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

Image result for 2014 Sine Qua Non Testa Dei Cherubini Grenache
Sine Qua Non California Cult Rhone Wine Tasting
Friday, February 26, 2021
7:30 PM
2014 Sine Qua Non Capo Dei Putti Syrah
2014 Sine Qua Non Testa Dei Cherubini Grenache
2016 Sine Qua Non Eleven Confession Grenache Pajarito Del Amor Santa Rita Hills
2016 Sine Qua Non Dirt Vernacular Grenache
2016 Sine Qua Non Eleven Confession Syrah Subir Santa Rita Hills
2016 Sine Qua Non Syrah Ratsel
2017 Sine Qua Non Grenache The Gorgeous Victim
2017 Sine Qua Non Next of Kyn Red Wine California
2017 Sine Qua Non Syrah The Hated Hunter
2018 Sine Qua Non Syrah Ziehharmonika California California

Menu
Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie
Burrata and Beefsteak Tomato Salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
Mushroom Duxelle and Chevre Stuffed Poblano Pepper with Red and Yellow Pepper Puree and Basil Crème Fraiche
Colorado Rack of Lamb with Mongolian BBQ Sweet Potato AU Gratin

The Fee for this tasting which includes Dinner is $475+ Tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

 

A bit about Sine Qua Non from their web page:
Image result for 2001 Sine Qua Non Ventriloquist Grenache
"an essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary."

Our wines were born of pure passion and a wishful dream – to make something that is so distinctive and so delicious as to make it indispensable to wine lovers the world over. Clearly a rather lofty, even unrealistic notion, but one we decided to pursue anyway. And so with the 1994 vintage  started Sine Qua Non, made a whopping four and a half barrels of Syrah that we called “Queen of Spades.”

That first wine was a much greater hit than we could have ever imagined and it literally changed our life. What started as a hobby, more or less on a whim, has become not only our full time occupation, but indeed our life. It is now a part of just about everything we do.

These first four and a half barrels have grown into four different vineyard sites (see our Vineyards section please), a good number of wonderfully dedicated and hard working employees, a new winery building and a simply amazing number of loyal wine lovers the world over. In fact there are so very many lovely folks interested in our wines that we don’t have enough to go around and instead had to create something as annoying as a waiting list.

We are humbled by all the positive feedback we continuously receive by people like you as well as critics and journalists from all corners of the earth. We take that as our mandate to forever strive to get better, to never compromise and to stay true to ourselves and by extension to all those who have supported us and believed in us since those first 100+ cases of wine left our cellar…now so many years ago.

Although at heart we are a Rhone (Ranger) house where Syrah and Grenache play top fiddle… supported by Mourvedre, Rousanne and Viognier, we have an aversion to labels and dogmas or mindless ritual that are sometimes called tradition. And so we also grow non-Rhone-origin grapes such as Petite Manseng, Touriga Nacional, Graciano and Petite Sirah. Varieties we believe can work well on a Rhone canvas.

We are not working on a grape growing or winemaking THESIS. Instead we want all of our efforts to be reflected in every glass of SQN. And so our goal has been and always will be to understand Mother Nature’s often oblique ways and (re)act accordingly so that we may create wines that express all that Nature has so generously given us. And all that this beautifully warm and sunny place called California has to offer. Wines that speak to the heart and the mind both. Wines that are ripe and flavorful, but also graceful and balanced. Wines  that are perfectly enjoyable and delicious young, but  that will age and show a new and interesting personality with each passing year. Wines that surprise with each sip and where the last drop – not the first sip – was the best one. Wines that make you smile and happy and appreciate all that is lovely.

Wines that make you sense they were crafted by people who loved making them.

With that we hope you’ll join our vinous family and thanks again for looking us up.

In vino veritas,

Elaine & Manfred Krankl

The rest of the stuff were not drinking this evening is still available for sale!

2018 Sine Qua Non Syrah Ziehharmonika California California Magnum 1.5L
Price: $975.00 Your Price: $858.00    Quantity in Stock: 1
2018 Sine Qua Non Syrah Ziehharmonika California California
Price: $300.25 Your Price: $264.22    Quantity in Stock: 11

(98-100 Points)            Manfred Krankl did point out that the name of this wine is not definitely but probably going to be “Squeezebox.” There are still a bunch of hoops to jump through before the label is signed, sealed and delivered. He shared the artwork for the label with me, again probably final but not yet definite, but which I think fans of are going to love. Who knew Mr. K played the squeezebox? The vineyard sources for this wine are 51% The Third Twin, 43% Eleven Confessions and 6% Cumulus—all estate-owned vineyards. The 2018 Syrah Squeezebox is composed of 82% Syrah, 6.7% Mourvèdre, 5% Petite Sirah, 2.3% Grenache, 2.7% Viognier and 1.3% Muscat. “I think Muscat is the number one white grape for me to blend with reds,” Manfred said. “It kinda triples the effect of the wine.” The wine is due to be bottled in August 2020, very soon after I tasted it, and after 23 months of aging. It was reared in 51% new French oak, 46% in used barrels and 3% in terracotta. (The terracotta is only used for whites.) Very deep garnet-purple colored, the nose kicks off with bright, vivacious scents of freshly cracked black pepper, licorice, baker’s chocolate and menthol before opening out to a core just singing of Black Forest cake, wild blueberries and ripe blackberries with wafts of smoky bacon and garrigue. Full-bodied, firm and beautifully textured with perfectly ripe, velvety tannins, it has invigorating freshness and a very long, multi-layered finish. Its rock-solid structure and intensity suggest this wine will be very long lived indeed. Final name Ziehharmonika instead of Squeezebox.  Issue 250 End of August 2020, The Wine Advocate

2018 Sine Qua Non Grenache Profuga California Magnum 1.5 L
Price: $975.00 Your Price: $858.00    Quantity in Stock: 1
2018 Sine Qua Non Grenache Profuga California
Price: $300.25 Your Price: $264.22    Quantity in Stock: 12

(99-97 Points)  The 2018 Grenache Profuga is composed of 77.5% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 8.3% Syrah, 3.3% Petite Sirah and 0.9% Viognier. The vineyard sources are 38% Cumulus Estate, 35% The Third Twin Estate, 23% Eleven Confessions Estate and 4% Bien Nacido Vineyard. Forty-one percent whole cluster was performed, predominately on the Grenache. The small proportion of Viognier was co-fermented with red grapes, but interestingly, because it ripens earlier than the reds, the white berries were frozen and added to the reds at the time of fermentation. As an added bonus, these frozen grapes help to cool and, therefore, slow the fermentation. The wine was aged for around 23 months in 37% new French oak, 57.8% used oak and 5.2% concrete. Deep garnet-purple in color, the wine does bedazzling pirouettes out of the glass with the most gorgeous rose oil, kirsch, licorice and fragrant earth scents, leading into a powerful core of black raspberries, redcurrant jelly and powdered cinnamon plus a waft of underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is incredibly fresh, elegant and polished, yet make no mistake—there is a lot of power and energy on the mid-palate. This is all beautifully framed by tightly knit, very finely grained tannins, and the finish holds this provocative, lingering siren’s note, delivering exotic spices and rose-laced accents. Beguiling. 1,350 cases and 600 magnums were made. This wine was tasted as a tank sample to be bottled in two days, so this is pretty much “it.” With regard to name, according to Elaine and Manfred Krankl, Profuga is "the Latin female version of refugee, fugitive, deserter, exiled, eluding one's grasp."  Issue 250 End of August 2020, The Wine Advocate

2017 Sine Qua Non Grenache The Gorgeous Victim
Price: $315.00 Your Price: $277.20    Quantity in Stock: 3

(98-100 points) The 2017 Grenache “No Name As Of Yet” is a finished blend, set to be bottled in August. Composed of 76% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 9% Syrah, 3.8% Petit Sirah and 1.2% Viognier, and the vineyard sources are: 46% Cumulus Estate, 29% Eleven Confessions Estate, 6% Molly Aida Estate, 17% The Third Twin Estate and 2% Bien Nacido Vineyard. It was aged for around 23 months in 23% new French oak, 48% used oak (various sizes) and 29% concrete, and 46% (mainly Grenache) was fermented using whole clusters. Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (Issue # 243 - Jun 2019)

2017 Sine Qua Non Syrah The Hated Hunter
Price: $315.00 Your Price: $277.20    Quantity in Stock: 5

(97-100 points) This wine will be bottled in August this year. Made exclusively from estate-grown fruit, the 2017 Syrah “No Name As Of Yet” is composed of 82.4% Syrah, 5.2% Mourvèdre, 7.8% Petite Sirah, 2% Grenache, 1.2% Petit Manseng and 1.4% Viognier that was fermented with 26% whole cluster. The vineyard sources are 32% Eleven Confessions, 41% The Third Twin, 25% Cumulus and 2% Molly Aida. It is to be aged for around 23 months in French oak, 59% new. Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (Issue # 243 - Jun 2019)

2017 Sine Qua Non Next of Kyn Red Wine California
Price: $959.00 Your Price: $843.92    Quantity in Stock: 3

(98+ Points) Next of Kyn Touriga Nacional 2017: This cuvée comes entirely from the Krankl’s “home” vineyard—the Cumulus vineyard—from a small, one-acre 2008 planting. The 2017 Touriga Nacional Numero Tres is a blend of 80% Touriga Nacional, 8% Petite Sirah, 6% Syrah and 6% Grenache using 44% whole clusters. It spent around 33 months in French oak barrels, 60% new. Very deep garnet-purple, the nose is a little reticent to begin, offering broody tar, new leather and fertile loam suggestions before giving way to come-hither scents of baked black plums, blackberry pie, dark chocolate, candied violets, pencil lead, menthol and dried roses. The first thing that hits you on the decadent, full-bodied palate is the texture—like stroking a kitten in your mouth. Wonderful freshness electrifies the bright, crunchy black fruits, developing into a long-lingering perfumed finish. Stunning! While it is delicious and certainly approachable right now, I would recommend laying this down for 4-5 years at least, to allow all the tightly wound nuances to emerge. It should continue to give pleasure for the next 20-25+ years. 89 cases and 223 magnums were made.  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2016 Sine Qua Non Dirt Vernacular Grenache
Price: $295.00 Your Price: $259.60    Quantity in Stock: 1

(96 Points) The 2016 Grenache Dirt Vernacular wafts from the glass with heady aromas of kirsch, plums and Griotte cherries that mingle with nuances of sweet spice, rose petals and pepper. It saw 34% new oak (along with 53% used oak and 9% concrete), but it's hardly noticeable—much less so than in some of Sine Qua Non's debut Grenache bottlings. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and chewy, with tangy acids despite its considerable power and ripeness, with a deep, layered mid-palate and a long, lusty finish. It's an eclectic blend of 78% Grenache, 11.5% Mourvèdre, 7% Touriga Nacional and 2.5% Petite Sirah that was fermented with 43% whole cluster—whole cluster being largely reserved for the Grenache component. The blend is dominated by estate fruit, but some 9% came from the Krankl's blocks at Bien Nacido Vineyard that are farmed to their specifications. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2016 Sine Qua Non Syrah Ratsel
Price: $295.00 Your Price: $259.60    Quantity in Stock: 11

(96+ points) Produced entirely from estate fruit, the 2016 Syrah Rätsel 16 offers up a brooding bouquet of smoky blackberries, French roast, cassis liqueur and subtle grilled meat, with only hints of all the savory complexity it will show down the line. On the palate, it's full-bodied, layered and chewy, with a rich chassis of velvety structuring tannins, a deep, super concentrated core of fruit and a long, sapid finish. Like the Grenache Dirt Vernacular, it's quite expressive and giving in profile by comparison with the firmer, more structural 2015s from Sine Qua Non, but its more brooding profile makes me suspect it has more potential upside with some time in bottle. It's a blend of 81% Syrah, 7% Mourvèdre, 5% Petite Sirah, 2.5% Grenache and 4.5% Viognier that was fermented with 47% whole cluster. 1791 cases and 600 magnums were produced.   William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Issue # Interim - Aug 2018)

2016 Sine Qua Non Eleven Confession Grenache Pajarito Del Amor Santa Rita Hills
Price: $470.00 Your Price: $413.60    Quantity in Stock: 2

(100 Points) The 2016 Grenache Pajarito Del Amor is a single-vineyard wine—a barrel selection from the Eleven Confessions estate vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills. "This vineyard is by far our coolest," Manfred said. "Sometimes we don’t harvest this vineyard until November. The wines from here have a lot of structure and presence. The soil is a heavy clay, so the wines can be pretty muscular." I asked Manfred what he considers when he is looking to make a single-vineyard expression. "I pick out the wines that can have longer barrel aging," he replied. "The wine has to be meaningfully dense and balanced. I try to make the selection early on, when the wines go into barrel, to decide which barrels they will go into. I take thicker barrels from Seguin Moreau so that the wine evolves longer and slower." Indeed, this wine spent 38 months in barrel, which is amazing when you consider how vibrant and fresh this Grenache is, also knowing how easily Grenache can oxidize. Fifty-four percent of the wine was aged in large (600-liter) new French oak, while the remainder was aged in used vessels of various ages and sizes. Composed of 85.4% Grenache, 7.1% Petite Sirah, 6.9% Syrah and 0.6% Viognier, employing 56% whole cluster, the nose of this opaque, garnet-purple colored uber-Grenache completely explodes with a candied violets, mandarin peel and Indian spices perfume, giving way to a core of bursting-ripe red berries—redcurrants, Morello cherries and raspberries—with an undercurrent of earth, earth and more sweet, fragrant earth. The numbers are telling me this is a full-bodied wine (16.9% alcohol), but the palate is deceptively ethereal, possessing more of a medium to full-bodied feel, thanks in part to bags of well-integrated freshness and fantastic harmony, with soft, silt-like tannins, finishing with loads of savory layers and a fragrant, floral breeze. Yowza, that's good. 916 cases, 228 magnums and 30 double magnums were made. p.s. - I thought I had recognized the reference to "Pajarito del Amor", so I had a look in "The Art of Sine Qua Non", Manfred Krankl's book, and in the 2010 release section, there is this: "P.S.: Haven't given you a music recommendation for a long time. So maybe while you are placing your order you may want to have a little background music. Listen to the lovely Carla Morrison and her song, "Pajarito del Amor" (that little bird of love). For some reason it seems fitting."  Issue 250 End of August 2020, The Wine Advocate

2016 Sine Qua Non Eleven Confession Syrah Subir Santa Rita Hills
Price: $470.00 Your Price: $413.60    Quantity in Stock: 2

(99 Points)  The 2016 Syrah SUBIR (meaning to rise or go up) is a single-vineyard wine—a barrel selection from the Eleven Confessions estate vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills. "This vineyard is by far our coolest," Manfred said. "Sometimes we don’t harvest this vineyard until November. The wines from here have a lot of structure and presence. The soil is a heavy clay, so the wines can be pretty muscular." I asked Manfred what he considers when he is looking to make a single-vineyard expression. "I pick out the wines that can have longer barrel aging," he replied. "The wine has to be meaningfully dense and balanced. I try to make the selection early on, when the wines go into barrel, to decide which barrels they will go into. I take thicker barrels from Seguin Moreau so that the wine evolves longer and slower." A blend of 89.7% Syrah, 4.6% Grenache, 2.5% Petite Sirah and 3.2% Viognier, this wine was made using 44% whole cluster. It was then reared for 38 months in barrel. Eighty-two percent of the wine was aged in new, French oak, while the remainder was aged in used barrels (one to five years old). Very deep purple-black, it comes bounding out of the glass with precociously profound notes of baked blackberries, plum preserves, blueberry pie, tilled earth and lilacs plus tobacco leaf, wild sage, truffles and espresso nuances. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is tautly structured, strutting a firm backbone of rounded tannins and fantastic freshness supporting the muscular, tightly wrapped layers, finishing with epic length and loads of minerally fireworks. 932 cases, 228 magnums and 30 double magnums were made.  Issue 250 End of August 2020, The Wine Advocate

2014 Sine Qua Non Capo Dei Putti Syrah
Price: $412.50 Your Price: $363.00    Quantity in Stock: 2

(96 Points) The 2014 Syrah Capo dei Putti saw an amazing 38 months in fully 94% new oak, and it was showing superbly when I tasted it, unfurling in the glass with brooding aromas of blackberry preserve, cherries, bay leaf and a remarkably integrated framing of smoky new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, hyper-concentrated and deep, with an incredibly dense core of fruit that's definitely ripe but avoids overt sucrosity—and is complemented by an impressive degree of savory nuance. It's a blocky, dense Syrah that will merit some time in bottle, but it is sure to make a considerable impact whenever it's opened. 896 cases, 228 magnums and 30 double magnums were produced.  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2014 Sine Qua Non Testa Dei Cherubini Grenache
Price: $425.00 Your Price: $374.00    Quantity in Stock: 2

(98 Points) The 2014 Grenache Testa dei Cherubini saw fully 37.5 months in wood, some 25% new, but its influence is imperceptible; the wine is strikingly pure and vibrant. Krankl commented that the longer the wines spend in barrel, the more slowly they seem to evolve in bottle. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of juicy red cherries, peonies and plums, it's initially quite reserved, becoming more expressive with air. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, layered and very concentrated, with strikingly fine-grained, revolved tannins, juicy acids and impressive length and depth. Like the 2015 Le Chemin Vers l'Hérésie also reviewed in this report, it's remarkably pure and integrated and ranks as one of the finest Grenache bottlings I've tasted from Sine Qua Non. It's also one wine that will clearly benefit from bottle age, no matter how tempting it may be when it's released in November of this year. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2012 Sine Qua Non Syrah Stock
Price: $395.00 Your Price: $347.60    Quantity in Stock: 1

(97-99 Points) The Syrah releases started with the 2012 Syrah Stock. Coming mostly from the Eleven Confessions vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills, it also has portions from Cumulus, The Third Twin and White Hawk. Made from 84% Syrah, 7% Grenache, 6% Petite Sirah, 2% Viognier and the rest Mourvedre, it spent 20 months (it’s not yet bottled) in 52% new French oak. Showing the purity and suppleness of the vintage, yet with no lack of concentration, depth or richness, it gives up fabulous cassis, black raspberry, smoked meats and violet-like aromas and flavors that continue to change in the glass. In short, it’s a rock-star Syrah that could come from nowhere else. It should be approachable on release and evolve gracefully for two decades or more.

These latest releases from Sine Qua Non and Next of Kyn are at the pinnacle of wine, and it’s simply impossible to taste through these and not be blown away. While I think the star of the show at the moment is the 2010 vintage, the 2011s aren’t far behind, and the 2012s should rival them as well. In addition, to give you an idea how these wines age, don’t miss the recent 2004 retrospective on these wines that was published at eRobertParker.com. We finished the tasting with Manfred’s Next of Kyn releases, and these are the strongest set of wines yet to come out under this label. The focus here is exclusively on his estate Cumulus Vineyard planted around the estate in Oakview.  eRobertParker.com #214, Aug 2014

2001 Sine Qua Non Pagan Poetry Rose 375ml
Price: $471.00 Sale Price: $395.00     Quantity in Stock: 1

About the Vineyards where these wines come from:

We own and lovingly farm four rather different Estate vineyards. All have different soils and micro-climates, but all share farming practices that are gentle, hands-on, natural (although we are not certified, we are essentially organic) and consistent. We believe these to be the four cornerstones of great fruit and subsequently great wine.
cumulus is 33 acres located in the cool Santa Rita Hills appellation. We planted 22 acres in 2001, primarily Syrah and Grenache, but also some Roussanne and a tiny bit of Viognier and Petite Sirah. The other 11 acres were Pinot Noir, planted by the previous ranch owners. About half of this has been grafted to three different clones of Chardonnay and a touch of Muscat. Because the climate is rather cool, we regularly experience very late harvests; seldom before the end of October and frequently well into November. This means very long “hang time” and thus full flavored, but never over-ripe or raisined fruit. Although the vineyard is densely planted with 2,420 vines per acre, we typically have very low yields of less than 1.5 tons per acre or more importantly around 1 ¼lb. of fruit per vine. This is one of the many criteria toward great wine quality.
cumulus is our “home” vineyard. It is located in the rather little known area of Oak View (south of Santa Barbara) where we live and where we also have our winery. The area is relatively warm and therefore it typically is the first of our vineyards to be harvested. Here we have numerous small blocks of varying vine training styles. The first block was planted in 2004 and is comprised of Syrah, Grenache and Roussanne. In 2008 we planted two more blocks. These house the rare white grape Petite Manseng, the equally rare Portugese Touriga Nacional, as well as small amounts of Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and two more small Syrah sections. One of these blocks is trained in a sort of Cote Rotie style. It is a super dense planting at 4,350 vines per acre and also own-rooted (no foreign rootstocks grafted onto the scions).
This CUMULUS Vineyard is also the fruit source for a newer brand that was launched with the 2007 vintage. It is called NEXT OF KYN. A young sister to SINE QUA NON if you will.
THE THIRD TWINis a vineyard property that we purchased in the spring of 2010. It is located near the quaint town of Los Alamos in the central coast. A small vineyard of mostly Syrah and a bit of Petite Sirah had been planted there in the year 2000 and, much to our surprise and delight, it was all own-rooted… our favorite, albeit a somewhat risky proposition because of the exposure to the dreaded phylloxera. This vineyard has rather sandy soils and the micro-climate could be called moderate. Staggeringly beautiful fruit has come from this site. In fact, we were so impressed that in the early spring of 2011 we planted another block, in even sandier soils. In fact, almost pure sand and very deep. The first delightful fruit from that vineyard block came with the amazingly great 2014 harvest. What a treat this site is. Hard to put into words.
cumulus is a place tucked away in the remote Tepusquet Canyon. It is a Hermit’s paradise. Hard to find, hard to access, way up at some 1800 feet elevation. There, in that hidden paradise, we planted a little bucolic 2 acre vineyard in a Chateauneuf-du-Pape like bush vine style, but all Mourvedre for now. We picked the first tiny bit of fruit nuggets there in the stingy 2015 vintage. The effort is a bit disproportionate to the quantity received, but heck it is worth the struggle at times.
At this time, we only have one more fruit source that is not grown and owned by us. And that is the heart warming Bien Nacido Vineyard in the very cool area of Santa Maria. Syrah from that vineyard was our very first fruit source and our first SQN wine… “Queen of Spades”… came from that fruit. We no longer contract Syrah, but we still have a small section of delightful Chardonnay for our white wine program and a tiny little “laboratory” block for Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne and Marsanne.

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