WINE REVIEWS - PENFOLDS GRANGE BIN 95 (1955 to 1989)

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1989
 
 
A full-bodied, youthful, smoky, overripe cassis-scented wine with massive body, and copious quantities of smoky, vanillin-scented new oak, this moderately tannic, juicy, opulent, muscular Grange requires 5-7 years of cellaring. It should last for 20+ years. 93/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1988
 
 
Still monolithic, this opaque purple-coloured wine possesses an earthy, cassis-scented nose that has not begun to reveal any complexity or nuances. Full-bodied, with high tannin, this closed, thick, unctuous, typical Grange will reward those with patience. Give it 5-6 more years of cellaring. 91/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1987
 
 
A youthful opaque purple colour and a tight but promising nose of jammy cassis with a touch of prunes and smoky oak, are followed by a backward, full-bodied, typical Grange that requires 5-6 more years of cellaring. This huge, lavishly-oaked, unevolved wine is an outstanding effort with 20 years of aging potential. 92/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1986
 
 
A current as well as future legend, this has long been considered by Penfolds' winemaking team as the greatest Grange of the 1980s. And why not? It was virtually perfect in June, a provocative nose of creme de cassis intermixed with smoke, chocolate, licorice, new saddle leather, and pepper. The wine is fleshy, massively concentrated, multi-dimensional with extraordinary power, beautifully integrated acidity, tannin, and alcohol, that seems to only occur in the greatest vintages.This is a Grange to kill for. 99/100 RP Jr. 2002
 
 
 

 1985
 
 
The 1985 Grange is a rich, full-bodied, huge, chewy, fleshy wine with high tannin (although not as high as the 1983). Although still young and unevolved, its thick juiciness and massive fruit make it accessible. While it will not be a legendary wine, it is an exceptional offering that continues to demonstrate the remarkable consistency of Penfold's Grange Hermitage since the 1976 vintage. RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1984
 
 
This has always been one of the softer, more civilised, and subtle examples of Grange Hermitage. It does not possess the structure or tannin of the 1983, the concentration, extraction, or class of the 1982, or the massiveness of the 1981. Nevertheless, it is an outstanding wine with good fatness, a clean, cassis and oak-scented nose, a rich, full-bodied personality, a velvety texture, and light tannin in the finish. Although drinkable, it is not yet fully mature from a complexity perspective. This satiny-styled Grange should drink well for another 10-15 years. 90/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1983
 
 
Deep crimson. Very complex and intense apricot/blackberry/exotic scented aromas with touches of aniseed/liquorice. Beautifully constructed palate with abundant apricot/meaty fruit, excellent concentration and tannin definition. Will almost certainly develop down the same path as the 1971 vintage. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1982
 
 
Although huge, phenomenally rich, and pure, the 1982 appeared less concentrated than the monster 1981. Nevertheless, this is no shy wine. Its weight and richness rival anything from California. However, the 1982 possesses more poise and, dare I say it, elegance than other Grange vintages. The colour remains an opaque ruby/purple, and the nose offers up sweet aromas of berries, vanilla, toast, and herbs. Intense, full-bodied, unctuously-textured... this youthful tasting Grange Hermitage will benefit from another 3-4 years of cellaring; it should keep for at least 15 more years. 95/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1981
 
 
Tastings of the 1981 Grange have always revealed an exceptional wine that has always exhibited phenomenal quantities of ripe fruit, an opulent, sweet palate, a dark purple colour, and gobs of glycerin and alcohol in the lusty finish. In this tasting, it ranked as one of the great wines of the eighties, rivalling the 1982 and being eclipsed only by the nearly perfect 1986. The powerful 1981 remains youthful and unevolved, and in need of another 3-5 years of cellaring. 96/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1980
 
 
Deep crimson. Liquorice/tar/treacle/chocolate aromas. The palate is generous with chocolate/dark berry fruit, pronounced, but lacy tannins and a firm finish. Not very complex but still a good drink. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1979
 
 
The 1979's black/purple colour is followed by a subdued nose revealing scents of mint, blackcurrant, liquorice, and earth. This huge, full-bodied, moderately tannic Grange is extremely youthful and backward. Although not as thick or massive as either the 1978 or 1980, this is a large-scaled, mouthfilling heavyweight from Down Under. It can be drunk now, but 2-4 more years of cellaring will result in more complexity. 92/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1978
 
 
Deep crimson. Classical cedar-wood/sweet fruit/gamey aromas. The palate has plenty of sweet, developed apricot/gamey flavours, lovely gravelly tannins, high concentration and long finish. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1977
 
 
Still extremely youthful with an opaque black/ruby colour, as well as undeveloped aromas of liquorice, earth, overripe black fruits and prunes, this huge, lavishly rich, thick, full-bodied Grange is just beginning to open and reveal its potential. It is a heavyweight wine that can be drunk now, but promises to last for 10-15 more years. 94/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1976
 
 
Consistently one of the most awesome wines ever made at Grange. I have had this wine six separate times, every time rating it between 96 and 100. It had a phenomenal showing at Penfolds' Magill Estate. The wine massive, full-bodied, and to me, the quintessential Grange. Notes of blackberry liqueur intermixed with cassis, charcoal, new saddle leather, and underbrush resonate from the glass. Huge, thick, unctuously textured, with extraordinary concentration but perfect harmony among all of its elements, this is a prodigious Grange that is still not fully mature. A legend for sure! 100/100 RP Jr. 2002
 
 
 

 1975
 
 
Brick red. Restrained, difficult wine with sweet burnished leather/meaty/liquorice aromas. The palate is thick and brooding with deep-set, leathery, almost one-dimensional fruit, high concentration and bitter, furry tannins, finishing firm. This is the kind of wine that goes on and on forever. Its a very unyielding wine, yet could open up and surprise us. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1974
 
 
Brick red. Intense apricot/prune/vanillin/meaty aromas - quite opulent. Fleshy and lightly structured with prune apricot fruit, fine-grained tannins and a firm finish. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1973
 
 
Brick red. Sweet chamomile/earthy/apricot/cigar-box aromas. The palate is fleshy and sweet fruited with earthy, apricot flavours, slightly bitter but evenly proportioned tannins. Drinking well. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1972
 
 
Brick red. Lively, sweet raspberry/apricot marmalade/blackberry fruit. The palate is well-preserved and vibrant with concentrated, sweet honeyed/apricot fruit, fine lacy tannins and excellent length. An exceptional bottle rather than an exceptional wine conjuring up the idea that there isn't such a thing as a good old wine, just good old bottles. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1971
 
 
Brick red. This surely must be one of the greatest wines ever made. Exotic and fragrant aromas of gardenia and apricot with touches of blackcurrant, strawberry and raspberries. The palate is silken and viscous with apricot/meaty flavours, ripe, sweet, supple tannins, superb concentration and length. A great experience! AC 1999
 
 
 

 1970
 
 
Brick red. Gamey, herbal, smoked-oyster aromas. The palate is looseknit with overdeveloped smoked-oyster/liquorice flavours, fine tannins and a firm finish. The wine is beginning to dry out. Drink as soon as possible. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1969
 
 
Brick red. Cedar/mushroomy aromas with some polished leather notes. Touch of fruit sweetness and cedar/leathery flavours and chalky tannins, finishing dry. Fading. Drink up. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1968
 
 
Brick red. Fading wine with leathery, sous bois aromas. The palate is beginning to dry out with leathery, gamey, fruit flavours, fine tannins but acid coming to the fore. Drink up. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1967
 
 
Brick red. Intense mushroom/meaty aromas. The palate is still fresh with plenty of sweet fruit, fine-grained tannins and good length. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1966
 
 
Brick red. Opulent coffee/nutmeg/old, dusty-cedar aromas. The palate is more structured with coffee/nutmeg flavours, chewy, grainy tannins and lovely length. Plenty of fruit sweetness and concentration. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1965
 
 
Brick red. Complex gamey sweet-fruited aromas. The palate is highly concentrated with developed gamey, soupy flavours, looseknit tannins and good length. Holding up well. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1964
 
 
Brick red. Developed, earthy prune/cedar aromas. Earthy prune flavours with sinewy tannins but beginning to dry out. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1963
 
 
Brick red. Looseknit but deep-set, gamey, liquorice/honey-glaze aromas. The palate is rich and ripe with plenty of sweet fruit, gamey, prune/honeyed flavours, a ripe fine tannin structure, superb concentration and length. Drinking superbly. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1962
 
 
Brick red. Cedary, sweet fruit aromas with plenty of sweet fruit, concentration and fine-grained tannins. Rare and eclectic. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1961
 
 
Brick red. Developed mushroomy aromas and flavours, some sweet fruit and soft tannins. Rare and eclectic. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1960
 
 
Brick red. Very developed, earthy, mushroom consommé aromas and flavours with fine tannins and good fruit sweetness. Bottles can be variable. Rare and eclectic. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1959
 
 
Brick red. Verging on overdeveloped with coffee/spice fruit, fine-grained tannins and some fruit sweetness. Variable bottles. Rare and eclectic. (Also Bins 46 & 49) AC 1999
 
 
 

 1955
 
 
Crimson brick. Rich, perfumed, gamey, meaty, liquorice fruit with hints of allspice. The palate is rich and supple with cedar/meaty flavours, fine-grained tannins and excellent length. The wine is still lively and fresh. (Also Bins 13,14,53,54 & 148A) AC 1999
 
 
 
 

 2000
 
 
Penfolds renowned 2000 Grange is only the fifth vintage to be made from 100% Shiraz (the others being 1951, 1952, 1963 and 1999). It is also, atypically, 100% Barossa fruit. While it is not considered to be one of the great Granges, the 2000 exhibits outstanding potential. It has dense ruby/purple colour and a big, sweet nose of blackberries, cherries, chocolate and earth. With decent acidity, ripe, silky tannin, superb intensity, wonderful equilibrium, and a more open-knit, softer, accessible style than usual, it can be drunk now or cellared for 15-16 years. While this is no wimpy wine, it is an ideal example for those who are unwilling to invest the patience required for the big, blockbuster Granges. 90/100 R.P Jr. 2005
 
 
 

 1999
 
 
Deep purple crimson. An astonishingly lovely wine with really fragrant plum/prune/tobacco/aniseed aromas, apricot nuances and meaty complexity. The palate is deeply concentrated with curtains of plum apricot fruit, fine supple tannins, beautifully integrated malty oak and superb flavour length. It is certainly a most seductive wine with plenty of cellaring potential. A classic Grange reflecting the sheer class of the 1999 Barossa vintage. 100% Shiraz. 100/100 AC 2003
 
 
 

 1998
 
 
This is going to be a legendary Grange. The wine shows an extraordinarily intense nose of creme de cassis intermixed with blueberries and almost floral notes. As the wine sits in the glass, some meat, plum, and cola notes emerge. In the mouth, it is absolute perfection, seamless, with extraordinarily sweet tannin, well-integrated acidity, sensational extract, and just layer upon layer of blackberry and cassis fruits that stain the palate and fill the mouth. Its harmony, freshness, and remarkable length (nearly a minute) suggest an all-time classic and another legend. 99/100 RP Jr. 2002
 
 
 

 1997
 
 
Looks to be a classic Grange. The wine has a saturated purple color and a gorgeously sweet nose of blackberry liqueur intermixed with cherries, camphor, chocolate, plum, and mocha. The wine is opulently textured, extremely soft, layered, and seductive, with Grange's tell-tale personality well-displayed, but in a seamless, seductive style. 94/100 RP Jr. 2002
 
 
 

 1996
 
 
Deep crimson. Highly defined meaty/gamey/plum/prune/liquorice aromas and coffee/chocolate nuances. The palate is decadently rich with lashings of sweet fruit, deep set choco-plum/prune/mocha/liquorice flavours, supple, ripe but pronounced tannins plenty of underlying oak, building up to a firm finish (99 points). Certainly it is in the same class as the 1990 and 1991 with a cellar life of decades. AC 2002
 
 
 

 1995
 
 
Deep crimson/purple. Crushed aniseed/ginger/blackberry/oaky aromas. The palate is rich ripe and soupy with meaty, blackberry fruit flavours, some cedary, toasty oak and looseknit rasping tannins. This is an early drinking Grange, possibly in the same mould as say 1992 or 1987. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1994
 
 
Deep crimson/purple. Elemental and disjointed wine with lovely deep-set choco-berry/ginger snap aromas and well-seasoned American oak. The palate is strong and powerful with deep-set, concentrated, sweet ripe fruit, cedary oak and a backbone of ripe grained tannins. In evolution. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1993
 
 
Deep crimson/purple. Intense blackberry/meaty/gamey aromas with menthol nuances. The palate is sweet-fruited with apricot/meaty/menthol flavours, looseknit, gravelly tannins and excellent length. Nice balance between cool and warm. Very successful wine considering the vintage. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1992
 
 
The opaque purple-coloured 1992 Grange exhibits an unevolved, grapey nose of sweet toasty oak, ripe prunes, black raspberries, and cassis. Full-bodied, with lavishly-displayed oaky notes, this formidably endowed, large-scaled wine should develop into an impressive example of Grange, although my instincts suggest it will not be quite as good as the 1990, 1986, or 1982. The wine was kept open for three days without any traces of oxidation. Give it 2-4 years of cellaring and consume it over the following 20 years. 93/100 RP Jr. 1998
 
 
 

 1990
 
 
The 1990 is the greatest, most complete and richest Grange since the monumental 1986. It rivals the 1986, 1982, 1981 and 1980... The wine's opaque purple colour is followed by a sweet nose of jammy black-raspberry and cassis fruit intermingled with scents of minerals, liquorice, and toasty oak. Extremely full-bodied, with that layered, multi-dimensional feel that sets a truly profound Grange apart from just an outstanding one, the wine is fabulously concentrated, unctuous, and with a finish that lasts over 50 seconds... It should last through the first two decades of the 21st century. 94/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1989
 
 
A full-bodied, youthful, smoky, overripe cassis-scented wine with massive body, and copious quantities of smoky, vanillin-scented new oak, this moderately tannic, juicy, opulent, muscular Grange requires 5-7 years of cellaring. It should last for 20+ years. 93/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1988
 
 
Still monolithic, this opaque purple-coloured wine possesses an earthy, cassis-scented nose that has not begun to reveal any complexity or nuances. Full-bodied, with high tannin, this closed, thick, unctuous, typical Grange will reward those with patience. Give it 5-6 more years of cellaring. 91/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1987
 
 
A youthful opaque purple colour and a tight but promising nose of jammy cassis with a touch of prunes and smoky oak, are followed by a backward, full-bodied, typical Grange that requires 5-6 more years of cellaring. This huge, lavishly-oaked, unevolved wine is an outstanding effort with 20 years of aging potential. 92/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1986
 
 
A current as well as future legend, this has long been considered by Penfolds' winemaking team as the greatest Grange of the 1980s. And why not? It was virtually perfect in June, a provocative nose of creme de cassis intermixed with smoke, chocolate, licorice, new saddle leather, and pepper. The wine is fleshy, massively concentrated, multi-dimensional with extraordinary power, beautifully integrated acidity, tannin, and alcohol, that seems to only occur in the greatest vintages.This is a Grange to kill for. 99/100 RP Jr. 2002
 
 
 

 1985
 
 
The 1985 Grange is a rich, full-bodied, huge, chewy, fleshy wine with high tannin (although not as high as the 1983). Although still young and unevolved, its thick juiciness and massive fruit make it accessible. While it will not be a legendary wine, it is an exceptional offering that continues to demonstrate the remarkable consistency of Penfold's Grange Hermitage since the 1976 vintage. RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1984
 
 
This has always been one of the softer, more civilised, and subtle examples of Grange Hermitage. It does not possess the structure or tannin of the 1983, the concentration, extraction, or class of the 1982, or the massiveness of the 1981. Nevertheless, it is an outstanding wine with good fatness, a clean, cassis and oak-scented nose, a rich, full-bodied personality, a velvety texture, and light tannin in the finish. Although drinkable, it is not yet fully mature from a complexity perspective. This satiny-styled Grange should drink well for another 10-15 years. 90/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1983
 
 
Deep crimson. Very complex and intense apricot/blackberry/exotic scented aromas with touches of aniseed/liquorice. Beautifully constructed palate with abundant apricot/meaty fruit, excellent concentration and tannin definition. Will almost certainly develop down the same path as the 1971 vintage. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1982
 
 
Although huge, phenomenally rich, and pure, the 1982 appeared less concentrated than the monster 1981. Nevertheless, this is no shy wine. Its weight and richness rival anything from California. However, the 1982 possesses more poise and, dare I say it, elegance than other Grange vintages. The colour remains an opaque ruby/purple, and the nose offers up sweet aromas of berries, vanilla, toast, and herbs. Intense, full-bodied, unctuously-textured... this youthful tasting Grange Hermitage will benefit from another 3-4 years of cellaring; it should keep for at least 15 more years. 95/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1981
 
 
Tastings of the 1981 Grange have always revealed an exceptional wine that has always exhibited phenomenal quantities of ripe fruit, an opulent, sweet palate, a dark purple colour, and gobs of glycerin and alcohol in the lusty finish. In this tasting, it ranked as one of the great wines of the eighties, rivalling the 1982 and being eclipsed only by the nearly perfect 1986. The powerful 1981 remains youthful and unevolved, and in need of another 3-5 years of cellaring. 96/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1980
 
 
Deep crimson. Liquorice/tar/treacle/chocolate aromas. The palate is generous with chocolate/dark berry fruit, pronounced, but lacy tannins and a firm finish. Not very complex but still a good drink. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1979
 
 
The 1979's black/purple colour is followed by a subdued nose revealing scents of mint, blackcurrant, liquorice, and earth. This huge, full-bodied, moderately tannic Grange is extremely youthful and backward. Although not as thick or massive as either the 1978 or 1980, this is a large-scaled, mouthfilling heavyweight from Down Under. It can be drunk now, but 2-4 more years of cellaring will result in more complexity. 92/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1978
 
 
Deep crimson. Classical cedar-wood/sweet fruit/gamey aromas. The palate has plenty of sweet, developed apricot/gamey flavours, lovely gravelly tannins, high concentration and long finish. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1977
 
 
Still extremely youthful with an opaque black/ruby colour, as well as undeveloped aromas of liquorice, earth, overripe black fruits and prunes, this huge, lavishly rich, thick, full-bodied Grange is just beginning to open and reveal its potential. It is a heavyweight wine that can be drunk now, but promises to last for 10-15 more years. 94/100 RP Jr. 1995
 
 
 

 1976
 
 
Consistently one of the most awesome wines ever made at Grange. I have had this wine six separate times, every time rating it between 96 and 100. It had a phenomenal showing at Penfolds' Magill Estate. The wine massive, full-bodied, and to me, the quintessential Grange. Notes of blackberry liqueur intermixed with cassis, charcoal, new saddle leather, and underbrush resonate from the glass. Huge, thick, unctuously textured, with extraordinary concentration but perfect harmony among all of its elements, this is a prodigious Grange that is still not fully mature. A legend for sure! 100/100 RP Jr. 2002
 
 
 

 1975
 
 
Brick red. Restrained, difficult wine with sweet burnished leather/meaty/liquorice aromas. The palate is thick and brooding with deep-set, leathery, almost one-dimensional fruit, high concentration and bitter, furry tannins, finishing firm. This is the kind of wine that goes on and on forever. Its a very unyielding wine, yet could open up and surprise us. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1974
 
 
Brick red. Intense apricot/prune/vanillin/meaty aromas - quite opulent. Fleshy and lightly structured with prune apricot fruit, fine-grained tannins and a firm finish. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1973
 
 
Brick red. Sweet chamomile/earthy/apricot/cigar-box aromas. The palate is fleshy and sweet fruited with earthy, apricot flavours, slightly bitter but evenly proportioned tannins. Drinking well. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1972
 
 
Brick red. Lively, sweet raspberry/apricot marmalade/blackberry fruit. The palate is well-preserved and vibrant with concentrated, sweet honeyed/apricot fruit, fine lacy tannins and excellent length. An exceptional bottle rather than an exceptional wine conjuring up the idea that there isn't such a thing as a good old wine, just good old bottles. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1971
 
 
Brick red. This surely must be one of the greatest wines ever made. Exotic and fragrant aromas of gardenia and apricot with touches of blackcurrant, strawberry and raspberries. The palate is silken and viscous with apricot/meaty flavours, ripe, sweet, supple tannins, superb concentration and length. A great experience! AC 1999
 
 
 

 1970
 
 
Brick red. Gamey, herbal, smoked-oyster aromas. The palate is looseknit with overdeveloped smoked-oyster/liquorice flavours, fine tannins and a firm finish. The wine is beginning to dry out. Drink as soon as possible. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1969
 
 
Brick red. Cedar/mushroomy aromas with some polished leather notes. Touch of fruit sweetness and cedar/leathery flavours and chalky tannins, finishing dry. Fading. Drink up. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1968
 
 
Brick red. Fading wine with leathery, sous bois aromas. The palate is beginning to dry out with leathery, gamey, fruit flavours, fine tannins but acid coming to the fore. Drink up. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1967
 
 
Brick red. Intense mushroom/meaty aromas. The palate is still fresh with plenty of sweet fruit, fine-grained tannins and good length. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1966
 
 
Brick red. Opulent coffee/nutmeg/old, dusty-cedar aromas. The palate is more structured with coffee/nutmeg flavours, chewy, grainy tannins and lovely length. Plenty of fruit sweetness and concentration. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1965
 
 
Brick red. Complex gamey sweet-fruited aromas. The palate is highly concentrated with developed gamey, soupy flavours, looseknit tannins and good length. Holding up well. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1964
 
 
Brick red. Developed, earthy prune/cedar aromas. Earthy prune flavours with sinewy tannins but beginning to dry out. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1963
 
 
Brick red. Looseknit but deep-set, gamey, liquorice/honey-glaze aromas. The palate is rich and ripe with plenty of sweet fruit, gamey, prune/honeyed flavours, a ripe fine tannin structure, superb concentration and length. Drinking superbly. AC 1999
 
 
 

 1962
 
 
Brick red. Cedary, sweet fruit aromas with plenty of sweet fruit, concentration and fine-grained tannins. Rare and eclectic. AC 1999
 
 
 

1961
Brick red. Developed mushroomy aromas and flavours, some sweet fruit and soft tannins. Rare and eclectic. AC
 
1960
Brick red. Very developed, earthy, mushroom consommé aromas and flavours with fine tannins and good fruit sweetness. Bottles can be variable. Rare and eclectic. AC 1999 
 
1959 
Brick red. Verging on overdeveloped with coffee/spice fruit, fine-grained tannins and some fruit sweetness. Variable bottles. Rare and eclectic. (Also Bins 46 & 49) AC 1999 

1955 
Crimson brick. Rich, perfumed, gamey, meaty, liquorice fruit with hints of allspice. The palate is rich and supple with cedar/meaty flavours, fine-grained tannins and excellent length. The wine is still lively and fresh. (Also Bins 13,14,53,54 & 148A) AC 1999

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