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tommythecat78 wrote:Being one of the lucky few to have tried this wine I will post a thought or two.

Upon first tasting I didn't really get a lot on this wine. After a few minutes of swirling it started to hint at some really nice fruit. Not sure when this was bottled but my first impression was that it may need a little time in the bottle before popping. It was quite refreshing and not sweet at all. My gf who doesn't really go for white wine really liked it as well. Hope this helps.

Edit: And thank you WD for sending this to Detroit for us to taste and for the bottle to take home. You were greatly missed.

Krugsters wrote:Also had the pleasure of tasting this in Detroit. And again at home a couple of days ago.

From my recent notes:
Light body, juicy peach, slight bitterness, acidity in check. Hint of apricot and ?hay??grass?

This is a good summer quaffer. Not to mention worth it for the label graphics alone.

crabbyman22 wrote:My attempt at describing the woot whitehorn-I'm not good at this.

I am not a white drinker.I like just about any dry red(let's not count the box cab and merlot I had over the weekend at SO's art show.She said of the cab"not bad",my unspoken comment was not really good either.Now I know why I pay more than $15 for 5 liters)

I found the Rhino crisp,tangy and refreshing with a cloying sweet aftertaste I get from most whites.

I let the second glass warm a little and tried it with some sharp cheddar and crackers.This helped it a lot.

I think this wine would be real nice for a picnic at the beach.

cheron98 wrote:For those requesting back label pictures, if no one else has posted it up by this evening, I will go yank a bottle from the cellar and get the picture up for you. And then probably pop it open and drink it.

The back label on this one is a little verbose - it was done in vintage newspaper style, so it's like an article about a Mr. Al Barino, and his hunting of the Albino Rhino. Hopefully my pics will do it justice. Very cool label.

Thank you to WD for sending us a case of this for the Detroit gathering over Memorial Day weekend. It *almost* makes up for the fact that you couldn't make it

This is definitely an easy quaffer - light, crisp and refreshing, definitely dry. A little short on the finish, but there's some lovely citrus fruits and florals on the nose and palate. Very glad to have a bottle in the cellar already and extra glad to have 6 more on the way!

Now, personally, I liked the Triacipedis better, but this is quite good. To compare - the Triacipedis was a little heavier in mouthfeel, a little more perfumy and floral. Albino Rhino is definitely lighter, both in color and mouthfeel, and more citrus and mineral and grassy. The AR seems to be a little more acidic than the Tri, and is a better choice for chilling and having with food. The flavors are more muted on AR than Tri, but chilling it and having lighter cheeses and light foods with it really brings out the flavor.

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labROUS wrote:I think that's entirely possible. I tried this a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's fruity and crisp; the only thing I would add to the notes is pineapple as a major aromatic component. I was curious about possible residual sugar because the wine was quite fruity, so I ran a pill test. I make mistakes too, but I came up with <0.2% RS (<2 g/L). 7 g/L is enough that most people can taste it, but 2 g/L isn't. Typical taste threshold for residual sugar in wine is around 5 g/L.

nmachen wrote:BLTNLRR!

Yes, this is a "Better Late Than Never Lab Rat Report."

When this wine came up, I quickly ordered & put a note on the message board (see page 1) stating that I was not available to rat. I didn't give it another thought, since I had never been picked before & happily went on vacation.

I was very surprised later in the week to find out by email that I had indeed received the coveted golden ticket. But since I was in Alaska & the wine was in Minnesota, there was a serious logistical issue in getting the tasting and report done in a timely manner.

When I got home, I was even more surprised that my son happened to be at the house on the day of the wine delivery so it was waiting for me when I arrived. Had I known, I would have asked him to test it & post his comments.

Since the offer to purchase Albino Rhino was over by the time I got home & got the wine, I set the bottle aside for the right time to try it. This is the time! (You're probably thinking by now - wow, what willpower - or wow, what an spoon.)

The bottle was chilled, then taken out of the fridge about 20 minutes before serving. Somebody taught me that you should take your white wine out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving & put your red wine in 20 minutes before serving - works pretty well!

The wine was poured into Riedel Vinum Sauvignon Blanc glasses. It's a very attractive wine - light in color & a bit of shimmer.

The first sniff was another surprise - I would have sworn it was a Sauv Blanc. Much more of a citrus smell than I would have thought.

The taste was also not what I expected. The Riesling component led me to believe that there might be some sweetness in the wine - turns out there's just a hint.

It's not bitter - there's a little acid component but not much. A very well balanced, light, refreshing wine that would match well with a lot of foods & would be great on its own.

We tried it with a moderately spicy Kung Pao Chicken & they were excellent together.

neoliz said it tastes mild & I'd have to agree. A very easy wine to drink and one that would be good to share with novice wine drinkers. I don't think my other 6 bottles are going to last long...

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oppsie wrote:Volrat reporting in. First off, huge thanks to WD for sending the Whitenoceros to Motown, and to Cat for saving me a bottle despite my absence from the party. I love this place.

Second, I like Albino Rhino. As I stated earlier, I love albarino -- its crispness, its lack of grassiness, its everything. AR hits most of these notes but the riesling definitely is taking something away from the albarino -- the taste is a bit more washed out than the albarinos I've liked in the past. Basically, not quite the amount of the zip and zing I was hoping for. Nose is very apricotty to me.

This was all on its own. Once I paired it with some spicy Thai food (my salmon plan fell victim to a stupid gawker slowdown on the freeway -- people, I know wind turbines are cool and all but just because three flatbed semis are disabled on the offramp carrying huge turbine pieces does not mean you have to drive 10 mph) the acid really came out and I enjoyed it a lot more. Then again, I'm sipping it now, an hour later (still cold, put it back in the fridge), and it's tasting a bit brighter than at first. A little bit of banana seems to be coming through as well. It has a nice sticky finish.

DH verdict: "This is fine. But I still don't like white wine."

In for a case. You should be in for at least one woot just based on label awesomeness alone. I'd be in for more than two if somebody could ballpark me a drinking window beyond 2010...we don't drink a lot of whites and it'll take a few parties to divest myself, obv, of all this Whitenoceros.

On second thought, I dub thee Winoceros.

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tomaste wrote:In for 2! Would love for this to be my first lab rat report!

*edit* I was selected to be a Lab Rat! Since I have a post on the first_page of comments, I'll use this post for my Rat report. Watch this space!

*edit2* By coincidence, I'm working from home today. It's a bit distracting to hear cars drive by. I'm hoping its the FedEx guy!

*edit3* Wine is here! Thank you WineWoot overlords for allowing this to be my first Rat Report! Wine.Woot has introduced me to the beauty of wine, and now its becoming a hobby that I take great pleasure in.

On to the report!

Unboxing pics:

Golden Ticket!

There is a bonus in the box! I assume this will be available this Friday...

Back Label:

I put it in the fridge to cool, and walked away for about 30 seconds. Patience? Patience? I don't have to show you any stinking patience!

The Rhino has a lovely, very pale color. Slightly more pale than the Triacipedis

Now for a sniff!
First impression, peach! I didn't want to take my nose out of the glass. This boquet made me think of porch-swings, Georgia summers, wicker chairs in the shade. I cant wait to taste!

First taste, very light, nice acidity that goes all the way up to the top of your gums. Less peach in the mouth, but still pleasantly fruity. I'm definately looking forward to my next glass after it has chilled!

Unfortunately there is a beef goulash simmering away in the crockpot, not the best pairing probably, but I'll try it anyway this evening and be back with more!

I'm thinking a Gouda appetizer may just hit the spot!

More to come this evening!

More wine chilled with dinner. Hottie McFinestuff (My beautiful spouse) tried some and said "Grapes! Ooh! That's fabulous!" I can usually watch her face and she if she really likes a wine, or is just being nice because I liked it. She made no stink eye, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.
She also commented that it seemed "sweet", so she did the nose-plugged sip test, and decided it was just fruity, not sweet.

Since I was going to have a pretty heavy goulash for dinner, I tried it first with a bit of cheese. Gouda was a bit too mellow. I think a nice sharp cheddar would be great with this wine.

Even with the goulash, this wine was enjoyable! I'm happy that I ordered a case. I'm looking forward to using a bottle or two in a tropical sangria, and enjoying the rest as is!

Thanks again Woot!

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mgermano wrote:

LabRat here.

So here's the deal, I live in Pittsburgh, PA and just happened to be in NY for my brother's wedding. Being opportunistic, I jumped on the chance to LabRat, and was actually chosen...Thank you Woot Gods!

A little about me; I started drinking wine about 2 years ago, and my palate is still very immature. I definitely prefer reds (Merlot, Bordeaux Blends), but like some whites (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc).

I popped the bottle around 5:00pm EST (it was a bit warmer than room temp). Fellow tasters include my wife (L), my brother the groom (G), and future sister in-law (C).

Overall initial impressions are that it needs to open up.

C - Smell is fruity. Taste: "don't really like it, it ends dry"

G - Smell: Berries, Grapes. Taste: "ends very dry"

L - Smell: Good, like white grapes. Taste: "reminds me of Riesling, I like it". "Strong burning in my chest area" (this was a delayed reaction).

Me - I didn't get any initial scent and no fruit on the initial taste. The finish burned, pretty strongly, this was not sweet at all.

The bottle is open and slightly chilling; I'll be back later with an update.

UPDATE (~6:00pm EST)

Poured a glass for myself and G around 5:40pm EST with dinner. Dinner was smoked brisket (started it at 5:00am this morning), and grilled corn on the cob. You would think that it isn't necessarily the best match for this wine, but believe me, it worked.

Smell: Still no nose. Taste: The wine holds up well with the spicy food. It's definitely better. It's just a bit sweat now, there is no burning sensation on the finish, I taste a lot more of the Riesling. G & L both tried it, and agreed on all points. L is super excited that we have 6 more of these coming, and is considering upping the order to a full case.

Should be back with one more update in a few hours.


Around 7:30pm EST: I tasted the wine again, with no food. The sweetness is gone, as is the similarity to Riesling. Still no nose, but the palate seems more complex. It's like there are flavors trying to get through, but the wine is either too tight, or too young.

Around 8:45pm EST: Nose is still tight, I feel like I'm picking up some fruitiness, but then...nothing. I'm still not picking up much on the palate. It's not sweet, I get some Riesling flavor coming through, and I'd say some minerality. G really thinks it tastes like Riesling. I'd say it's definitely smooth now.

Overall, I'm glad I bought it for the price. SWMBO is enjoying the wine, and I'm ok with it. As always the Woot cellars label doesn't disappoint, so....BUY THREE!

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neoliz wrote:

First time lab rat reporting.

I shared a glass at lunch with a colleague who drinks way more wine than I do. I personally prefer acidic, fruity wines--the TLC Chardonnay from last month is my favorite this year so far.

As for the Albino Rhino, my coworker noted that it is definitely lacking in residual carbon dioxide, which was good in his mind, but it felt a little flat to me.

He judged it a little too soft and mild to be special. I agree. With a glass in front of me now, it reminds me of bananas, not in flavor, but you know how when you eat a banana it just tastes like banana all the way through (as it should!)? This wine just tastes mild and mouth-coaty all the way through. I guess I see the "honeyish" notes in that sense.

If you're not into ultra-citrusy wine like the TLC, the Albino Rhino might serve you better. For me, it'll be my take-to-the-park-and-drink-in-the-sun wine, which is what I ordered it for. But hey, the artwork and label are fantastic and hilarious. Thanks!

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misswinegirl wrote:LabRAT Report:
I would have to agree, this wine is light on the palate, but not watery! When I first opened the wine, there were some nice tropical notes and peach aromas. When I first sipped (at room temperature) the alcohol was a bit HOT on the palate! This in turn over-whelmed the fruit in the nose.

After an hour of being open, the wine itself really started to shine! Nice pineapple, apricot and tropical notes came through on the aroma. The alcohol was now tame and the palate has nice peach and lemon rind. I can also taste some minerality, wet rock and a bit of diesel - which I attribute to the Riesling.

About 1/2 the bottle was gone last night! Will try again today to see if there were any changes! LOVE the wine so far and glad I order 2!!!

Totally a fantastic summer wine! Will pair nicely with chicken, grilled veggies or a nice sipper on its own! If you are a Sangria fan - this would be a grat base! Toss in some fresh apple/peach/plum and a slice of orange, serve over ice and you have a great pool/lake wine!

Will post an update of todays tasting soon!~

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kylemittskus wrote:

Report for Woot Cellars Albino Rhino!!!

Fridge cold:

Sister who drinks white zin if she's not drinking Natty Ice from a 30-pack (college student) said, "I like it. It's smooth."

Bouquet: Fresh nose although not overly expressive (it's cold so...). I get almost a hay component with some zesty aromas. Under-ripe pineapple.

Palate: nice, round mouth feel. Heavier than I thought it would be after reading other reports. Lighter than Traicipidis, but I would not use the word watery or thin. A bit short on the finish. Nice acid, although less than I would like (I like razorblades-on-my-tongue acid). As of now, this feels like a very food friendly wine. I would do like a fresh-fried Tilapia like i used to get when I was a kid from the Chinese market or a lighter chicken dish. Easy drinking. Like, "where'd the bottle go?" easy drinking.

Room temperature:
Bouquet: Nose expresses more alcohol than when it was cold (expected). The Riesling seems to be more expressive on the nose now.

Palate: the flavor profile has flattened with warmth. I get some herbal components now. Not sure which, but certainly something herbacious there.

Sister says she likes it better warm because "it's not as strong."

Consensus: A very nice, easy drinking white. Not an oak or butter bomb. Not sweet although warm, a bit "sweeter" but not sugar sweet. I think the right food will make this wine shine. Will it change your life? No. Is it worth the price of admission? Absolutely.

kylemittskus wrote:

Report day two. I apologize that this report is far less formal, but I was drinking in my college library.

Surprisingly better day two. Much longer finish, more explosive in the mouth, and the acid was more pronounced. Again, this wine would be great with food.

I opened a TLC Chard tonight and I prefer the Albino Rhino much more. It's a different wine, but the AR is far more complex and has more acid.

Thanks WD!!!

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Offer of 6/14 -- Bourassa Vineyards Synergy Napa Cabernet Sauvignon - 4 Pack

This offer's pack:

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worldofjohnboy wrote:

Woo Hoo! Just got my bottle of Synergy delivered at work AND I got 'carded' by the FedEx driver (double-bonus)!

I can't wait to get home and open this up! I will edit this post through the day with pictures and notes on my testing. I hope to be going home early today and will provide my first update around 4pm EST.

Here's the Shipping label:

...and the two labels:

EDIT, 5pm EST:

OK folks, here's my tasting before dinner...

The Bottle: Fairly standard 750ml bottle of wine in shape and appears to be tinted reddish-brown. Labels are dark (black) with yellow lettering. Cut foil off to reveal natural cork. Easily removable with my "rabbit" corkscrew.

Smell out of Bottle: All I can think of is deep, dark fruits... plumb or black cherry comes to mind. You can also smell a bit of oak at the finish.

1st taste, no breathing/aeration: First hit of the tastebuds hints at the plumb/black cherry taste (or as the wine maker put it, black currant, which I have never had but read up on). After holding it in my mouth for a bit, the fruit definitely dances on your tongue. Going down the throat, it finishes a bit oakey. Letting it dance in your mouth before swallowing leaves the wine taste dancing throughout my mouth. The finish is not at all harsh nor does it ever make me squint my eyes. The oak smoothens the final taste.

2nd taste, 1 run through aerator: With one run through my aerator (equivalent of about 1hr decant), the wine smoothens out throughout the whole taste. The smell is just as strong as the "out-of-the-bottle" smell, but there is much less of a difference in taste from start to finish. Still an oakey after taste, nothing that stings you, and this time I could continue to taste the juice on my teeth and gums well after I had swallowed.

3rd taste, 2 runs through aerator: The smell of the wine is less prominent at first whiff. The taste is very much like #2, however even smoother from start to finish. This taste even coats your mouth longer in the aftermath.

4th taste, 3 runs through aerator: Not much different than that of try #3. Seems to weaken the wine overall and shorten the tasting time just a bit.

Burgers are cooking as we speak, I will update more when I have this with dinner. I am going to try two passes through my aerator with dinner and see how it pairs.

My wife, definitely not a wine freak like myself, also gave it a test run. Her only notes were that it smelled "fruity, but I can smell oak." Two sips of the twice aerated wine confirmed her smell: very dry wine, fruit at the beginning and oak at the end.

I have to say that this is a very "mild" Cab Sav in that it doesn't 'sting' your buds or throat like many Cab Savs can. I have to say that the combination of dark fruit and oak make this almost like a "smoked wine." I would have to imagine that this would pair well with some nice St. Louis Smoked Baby Back pork ribs.
EDIT 7pm EST - Added photos.
EDIT 8:15pm EST - Dinner

So, dinner consisted of ground beef hamburgers (95/5) mixed with fresh garlic and some salt. Burgers were topped with extra sharp cheddar cheese and a slice of cooking onion. Also had some salt potatoes and some mixed veggies (Carrots, peas and corn)with spices.

Took a sip of wine and chased it with a bite of burger... the taste of the burger finished where the wine left off and was complimented fairly well. When I took a bite of potato and/or veggies, the wine was neither enhanced nor worsened. The best part was when I took a bite of my burger and washed it down with the wine... simply perfect pairing! I really couldn't tell where the wine stopped and the burger started, the taste seems to linger in my mouth for 3+ minutes.

My final thoughts:
This is a rather smooth Cab Sav provided it is allowed to breath for more than an hour. (Even under an hour of opening up, this is still a cool customer.) I believe this is a decent sipping wine, and an even better wine paired with the proper food. I even tried grabbing the very last drop from the bottom of my glass after it had sat for about 30 minutes and the small bit of wine I drank was REALLY fruity. I know I will enjoy this wine, especially considering I love to eat red meat and Italian red sauce foods.
EDIT 11:40pm EST - Just wanted to say one last thing about this wine... my wife is a very picky wine drinker. She prefers white semi-sweet to very sweet wines, but will also drink sweet reds on occasion. I had her taste test this wine and though she didn't ask for a glass full of it, she also didn't "shimmer" or give it immediately back to me to finish. I think that says a lot for the overall smoothness of the wine. Though it's dry, it still is fruity and never "kicks you in the teeth" with dry-ness.

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slickdoggity wrote: the golden ticket today 11:30 am- thought about opening then, but even though its 5 somewhere, i put it into the wine fridge to settle down. invited friends over to share and served salmon and pork, fresh veggies and salad ( copper river and tenderloin, organic CSA and avocados...for those who care)...john boy was thorough enough for all of us

first taste without food...smelled musty upon first opening- little worried. waited 30 min, poured a taste- smelled black currant, very peppery also- nice fruit when drinking. put some through vinturi- comments from the table included fruity, dry, cherry, oak smell...everyone seemed to enjoy it. very nice bottle for the price point and i am glad to have bought 2!

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guywithcable wrote:
Alas, my first ratting, and I'm too late to the scene. Well, for what it's worth, this wine is a very good deal for the price. It smells and tastes wonderful.

guywithcable wrote:
Oh, haha. I didn't know that. :P I think a woot is in order. Woot.

Well, I'll just have to pour another glass... :D

First sniff, smells of blackberries, black cherries. I don't smell the oak that worldofjohnboy smelled.

First taste, a nice tart dark fruit flavour. Like a plum that's not quite perfectly ripe. Nice finish. Very dark fruity. Oh, there's the oak. And it does a lovely job of lingering for a good minute.

Second taste, much more fruity than the first. A dark fruit, like black cherries. I let it sit on my tongue a while longer. A little less oak aftertaste for a few seconds, then it kicks in.

15 or so minutes go by...

Next taste, much like the second. A little smoother, more like a ripe dark fruit, but not much has changed. The aftertaste has diminished, but is smoother and lasts about as long.

I put some in the decanter, so I'll come back in about 30 minutes. I'd wait a little longer, but I need to go to bed soon.

I'm back after decanting it for 30 minutes.

The smell has been brought out quite a bit. I can very clearly smell the oak now.

First taste, much the same, with a stronger finish. A much more oak aftertaste, which lasts for a few minutes now.

Second taste, very strong oak and dark fruits.

All in all, this is a very good wine for the price.

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brad7924 wrote:

Rat report!

I received a bottle today just in time to take to my weekly poker game to share with some friends. The bottle was VERY warm (it's been over 100 degrees here in western South Carolina the last few days) so I was kind of worried. We opened and chilled for about 30 minutes to bring it down to something like room temperature.

I only just tasted it so I could allow others to enjoy also, so please forgive my lack of detailed notes. I found it to be very nicely balanced, with flavors of plum, black pepper and tobacco. Very smooth. Lots of oak. A pleasant smoky finish and overall paired well with the cheetos that were served at the game

Nobody in the room had heard of wine.woot before, but two people that tasted said they would immediately be headed here to purchase when they got home. This is not the best cab I have ever had, but it might be the best $15 a bottle cab I have ever had.

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Offer of 6/21 -- Andrew Murray Rhone - 3 Pack

2007 Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard
2006 Espérance
2006 Grenache

This offer's pack:
merbill (Grenache)
bbombay (Syrah)
kon104 (Espérance)

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merbill wrote:

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!

Happy Father's Day+2 to ME!!! I got a Golden Ticket and a big, beautiful bottle of Andrew Murray Grenache 2006.

I normally let my new babies rest quietly at least a month before I open one, in order to let them get over any travel anxieties they may have picked up. But tonight I will make an exception for my fellow woot community members. And for those who worry about the weather, it was a very nice day today all the way between Los Olivos and here in the OC. The bottle was cool to the touch, and of course the cork wasn't pushed or leaking, because, well, its a screwcap.

First off, I lurve grenache (how did WD know?). My recent favorites have included Campo de Borja Tres Picos (Spain), d'Arenberg Custodian, and woot-favorite Twisted Oak.

Now for my first impression of the wine. Color is a slightly curious combination of magenta and garnet, fairly dark at the core yet highlights shine through. First sniff and I get - unmistakably - meat. An overlay of raspberry, stems, spices, and a bit of leather gives the nose a very old world ambience. Interesting and unexpected.

Another surprise - its lighter-bodied than I expected. Strawberries, cherries, cedar, good acid, elegant tannins, and a fruity, medium-to-long finish. Right at the end, the 15.1% alcohol makes an appearance, then disappears. This is not at all the extracted, mouth-filling fruit bomb I thought it might be. Its much better, and potentially more food-friendly than I would have thought.

Now I have to go out for dinner. I will report again later after the wine has had a chance to breath a while, and will see how it changes.

merbill wrote:Andrew Murray Grenache, part II

All right. A little over 2 hours later, done with dinner and back home. The wine's been sitting open in the bottle on the counter all that time. Poured another glass....

Maybe the lighting is different now, but the color is much more ruby red than before. On the nose, the meatiness noted earlier has stepped into the background, but not gone away. Reminds me of an aged, charbroiled filet. Strawberries, fresh like the ones you buy at the farmer's market (with a little dirt mixed in), and a touch of pepper are there too.

I sip, and find the red fruit has come out big time, especially cherries. The tannins are more pronounced, but still under control, as is the oak. Raspberries, leather, pomegranites, spices and more pepper complete the complex dance happening on my tongue. The finish is dry, yet slightly sweet with a whiff of figs. There is a touch of heat too, but not off-putting in any way.

Overall, the wine is better now than it was before, and it was quite good then. While you could age it some, its really ready to drink now. It's definitely worth the winery price, and its a superb value at the woot price. In fact the wine, to my palate and quite unexpectedly, is most reminiscent of a mid-priced Chateauneuf Du Pape. A Paso Pape - who'da thunk it?

Thanks WD and Andrew - it was a treat to do this.

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bbombay wrote:I received my Golden ticket from Fed Ex at work this morning (I’m a lab rat, and now a Woot Rat) and promptly ripped the package open to see what my lucky Woot stars had brought me. It was the 2007 Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard from Andrew Murray! I’m terribly excited; I had the pleasure of buying and enjoying Andrew’s previous Woot offering and was very happy I did.

I promptly perused the comment thread for possible pairing tips and happily planned dinner. After a quick trip for the appropriate foodstuffs, I arrived home and popped the bottle into the wine fridge to come to temperature (it’s close to 90 degrees here today).

I opened the bottle and shared an initial taste with the boy. The nose is dark and fruity; I’m getting hints of raspberry and some floral notes. I also detect some heat, which isn’t surprising; swirling the glass reveals some serious legs. Flavors are muted behind the alcohol; definitely pepper, some dark fruit. The boy (not a wine fan, but comes up with some excellent descriptors; he does try-the sweetheart) agreed with the nose, but the initial taste “made his tongue feel like a shag carpet”. As I said, he uses excellent descriptors. Now it is time to bring out my tools.

I decant a portion of the syrah and then employ my handy Vinturi for some immediate aeration gratification. The nose has definitely opened up more; lush fruits detectable, more berry on the palate. The boy has declared that it has improved; his tongue now feels like “a plush pile carpet”.

Thirty minutes in: I Vinturi-aerate from the bottle to the glass and there are changes. The wine has definitely opened up and the heat is being balanced by acidity and wonderful flavors; dark fruit, pepper, and an earthy richness that is hard to describe, perhaps a hint of leather. The decanted wine at 30 minutes in is opening up nicely as well. I think given appropriate time; I would prefer to decant this wine for at least 30 minutes than employ the aerator. The difference between aerator and decanter (in our opinion): both smoothed out, but the boy suggested (and I agreed) the aerated taste seemed more muddied as time went by; while the originally decanted wine had more depth at the same time point. This is obviously a subjective observation; I’ve never before compared decanted wine to aerated wine; so it is an interesting experiment-if you have the time for it.

Dinnertime! Rack of lamb marinated with Greek seasoning (fresh herbs from the garden), sautéed mélange of mushrooms, and rice. (Personal note: big Syrah screams LAMB to me). The wine pairs beautifully with the earthy lamb and mushroom combination.

I finished the evening with a variety of cheeses in my refrigerator: Danish blue, feta, and sharp cheddar. I found the blue cheese flattened the wine; the feta was a poor choice on my part and all you could taste was the saltiness, although it didn’t entirely kill the wine; the sharp cheddar worked very well for me, but I am biased towards the sharp cheddar. I would love to hear Andrew’s suggested cheese pairings for this wine; I worked with what I had. My palate is also a little tired (happily) at this point.

My tummy is full, and my palate has been tested, tantalized, and terminated. I do have some wine left in the bottle, which might have to wait until tomorrow or just poured and enjoyed.

Final thoughts: this is a wonderful wine. It has room for aging, but you can drink it now if you love Syrah; just have the patience to decant and take the joy in the pairings. At no point is this wine “jammy” or cloying. It is terrifically balanced and will only get better with aging.

Thank you with a humble heart and a full tummy! I have thoroughly enjoyed my rattage and wish that being a real lab rat always included such tasty ingredients.

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kon104 wrote:Rat update!

So I got distracted and let the wine breathe for quite some time, but we can never have too much aeration, can we? Popped (and by that, I mean unscrewed), poured through a Vinturi into a decanter for about 1.5-2 hours.

Dark color, the Andrew Murray Espérance had an intense first nose. All kinds of ripe (dark) fruit, with that nice grape bubble gum scent telling me I was in for a ripe wine. I had "Grenache" in my mind from when I opened it (and the past few Grenaches I've had have been fairly earthy), so I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn't as overwhelmingly musty as I thought it'd be. But I digress... Ripe dark fruit, especially cherries, and sort of hot.

A light first taste that was immediately dominated by an intense finish. The start had that ripe fruit (cherries and now blackberries) that made my mouth real happy. About a half a second later, I got the eye-opener of a finish. Bitter taste, but not really tannic. Dark chocolate finish (the Syrah poking through, perhaps) that lingered on. Everything sort of came together in the end, in a nice intense blast of flavor. Gotta say, I liked this wine. It was definitely all over the place, but in a good way (I think we call that complex): both fruits and somewhat bitter tastes coming together nicely (though for my palate, a bit less bitter would have been nice). For that reason, I'm giving this powerful wine a B+.

All in all, I'm glad I'm getting another bottle of this (and the other 2, from what I've read from my fellow rats). For what it's worth, of my 2 non-wine-enthusiast roommates, one liked it (for strikingly the same reasons I did) and one said it was "ok". Enjoy!

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Offer of 6/28 -- Bouchaine 2006 Estate Pinot Noir Napa Valley- 3 Pack

This offer's pack:

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zmanonice wrote:

Lab Rat reporting for duty.

Initial pop and pour at 6:10 CST: Light, brick red color, clear to the bottom of the glass. Very faint berry nose, tight. None of the earthy or woody notes I usually get with a Pinot. Tart on the mid-palate, average finish with medium tannins.

One hour later: Wine is at 63 degrees. Some smoky notes on the nose now, more mouth bite than before. A hint of pepper. Taste is a bit more subdued than before.

Two hours later: No nose to speak of, just a little bit hot. Strong tannins with a lingering mouth bite. A bit dry, still waiting for this wine to open up.

Three hours later: If anything, the nose has faded away. Consistent mouth feel with previous notes. No noticeable changes in the last hour.

Four hours later: No significant changes. Guess this puppy has opened up as much as it’s going to tonight, which still isn’t much.

Final Analysis - Used the UC Davis scoring system, as follows:

Appearance – clear and brilliant. 2 points

Color – typical pinot color and almost transparent, color solid to the edge. 2 points

Aroma and Bouquet – had a tough time trying to pick up the aroma on this wine. No negative factors, but a lack of positive factors as well. 2 - 3 points

Volatile Acidity – No issues with the wine. 2 points

Total Acidity – a lot of mouth-feel with this wine. 2 points

Sweetness/Sugar – Not a fruity wine. 1 point

Body – Appropriate for this wine. 1 point

Flavor – No issues, appropriate for this wine. 1 point

Astringency – Fair amount of tannins in this wine, which seemed to increase over the course of the tasting. 1 point

General Quality – Nice wine at this price, but would think twice at the full price. Can’t tell if this wine is still too young; though I wouldn’t think so, but it never seemed to really open up. Not sure if you believe in bottle shock or not, but to be fair this bottle just traveled halfway across the country in the last day. 1 point

Total score: 15 - 16 points. UC Davis characterizes this score as a standard wine with neither outstanding character nor defects (13 – 16 points out of 20)

Hopefully you will find this helpful in your decision process. Thank you WD for the opportunity to rat.


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sdailyjr wrote:

OK.... I am a rat and I tried to post and it didn't take.... here is my take on the wine.

Came home from a long day at work and was looking forward to the chilled Bouchaine pinot while sitting on my deck. It didn't disappoint. It opened to earthy notes and a slight hint of smoke. What I tasted was good Pinot, black cherries... just like I picked from my Grandpa's cherry tree. It also had spice and that earthy/ smoke taste. It was not as tasty as a Sanford, Fowers, or Foley Pinot, but very good. A definite purchase.

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Offer of 7/5 -- Pine Ridge Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot - 2 Pack

2006 Pine Ridge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Carneros Merlot

This offer's pack:
michaelstencel (Cabernet Sauvignon)

bahwm (Cabernet Sauvignon)

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bahwm wrote:WD sent us the Pine Ridge Vineyards Napa Valley Cab '06 for our Buffalo/WNY Tasting #3 Cabs. This wine needed to be decanted. We double vinturied it and it was really good, but later in the evening, maybe 4 hours later (after opening) it was perfect. It was perfectly balanced, plenty of fruit, smooth tannins and a real pleasure to drink. I would highly recommend this wine.

There goes the SIWBM!

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cheron98 wrote:

Where's the labrat logo?

Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes the special occasion is that you've got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge. - Hester Browne
Filmmaker/winemaker Francis Ford Coppola says his two professions are almost the same and that each depends on source material and takes a lot of time to perfect.
The big difference: "Today's winemakers still worry about quality."

Ddeuddeg's Cheesecake Cookbook


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michaelstencel wrote:CS rattage: It was a sad day as I too was stricken with the epidemic Pedroncelli Procrastination's Painful Lament. Denied. I tried to look on the bright side, I was anticipating an Andrew Murray delivery. I became confused when a single slender sleeve arrived. My day was instantly brightened by a Golden Ticket and a bottle of Pine Ridge 2006 Napa Valley CS. But wait there's more! A 120 bottle redwood wine rack from my family for my 55th birthday was on the porch- assembly required. The Inaugural Use of an air nailer and masonry drill bits consumed the evening hours while the wine opened in a Wine.Woot decanter.
The wine is unsuitable for pop and pour for all the usual reasons. It was ok in an hour but very enjoyable at the four hour mark. Really opened up and showed it's stuff. The usual suspects on the cul de sac were assembled for the tasting. The wine was clear and ruby colored. There were mild aromas of cherry and blueberry. Some noted a very pleasant aroma, but were unable to articulate a specific aroma. Flavors were layered in cherry, chocolate, caramel, tobacco,tea and some oak. The body was medium, mellow fine tannins. Excellent balance across the tongue, a nice mouthfeel and a long finish. There was little alcohol this far out.
In a word, elegant. Everyone enjoyed the wine. It should be great with food. After the tasting I tried some cheese and chocolate and didn't feel they hid any flaws. I will attempt to age a few more years. This rat gives it two thumbs up.

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Offer of 7/12 -- 2006 Buttonwood Farm Cabernet Franc - 3 Pack

This offer's pack:

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cathycathy wrote:

I was ecstatic to find I was chosen as Labrat this week -- thanks wine.woot!! On to the review:

My boyfriend and I tried the Buttonwood Farm with a dinner of pasta and red sauce. On first tasting, the bf said, "This is GOOD." Cab Franc happens to be my favorite varietal - I first tasted it at Coppola and was instantly hooked, although it's generally out of my price range.

We found the wine to have good legs and a smooth finish.

IMO, if you like Cab Franc, you'll like this. I'm happy I have an order in and the bf is about to put in his own order (for 3, I hope!).

I understand that in general the Cab Franc is a rarish grape and is hard to find in a 100% blend - the Coppola is a reserve that I generally would only be able to afford to celebrate a major life event. After having the opportunity to taste the wine at the price point offered, I'm VERY happy with my decision.

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mgdsh wrote:

Thanks again for the opportunity to rat.

Received a bottle of the 06 Buttonwood Farm Cab Franc today at noon.

I went back and checked the label on the shipping package and confirmed by checking the tracking number, it was intended to get here today as it was a 2 day ship sent out on Monday.

That being said, the package included the bottle of wine and an opener courtesy of Buttonwood.

On opening:
1.) Nose: Strong elements of fruit, namely berries
2.) Color: Reminds you of a medium burgundy color, that when the glass is tilted has the clarity of a lighter red such as a pinot
3.) Taste: Initial taste had moderate elements of spice and mild to moderate oak with a slight tannic after taste

After the first hour and generally there after:
1.) Nose: Elements of fruit dissipated somewhat
2.) Taste: These fruit flavors became more aparent while the spice dimmed a little and the tannic after taste improved quite a bit

This wine seems to be one that would best be drank with a fair amount of decanting or cellaring for a year or 2.

We ended up pairing the wine with a homemade deepdish pizza. The recipe can be found here, courtesy of Emeril @ Food Network:

We added sausage and somewhat limited the vegetables (no bell peppers, mushrooms, or olives).

The wine paired well with the dish and we look forward to consuming the 1 order of 3 bottles over the next few years. The QPR on this offering is very very good, especially if you intend on purchasing multiple orders.

I'll see if I can post some pictures tomorrow

Thanks again for the opportunity and let me know if you have any questions.

Finally, I'll note that this CF didn't have as strong of a fruit component as the other 100% CFs I've had (Helios Cab Franc & the Lucas & Lewellen CF).

mgdsh wrote:Here are some images from last night:

Enclosed was a nice little gift. I got one of these openers from being a Titus wineclub member a few months back and I think its my new favorite type of opener. 2nd would be the waiter's corkscrew:

Another View:

Getting the decanter + glasses ready:

It's time to drink!:

Dinner is served :

Used the Vinturi for a small pour about 1 hour into the decant. Didn't notice much of a difference vs. what we had at 2 hours of decanting (w/o the Vinturi).

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Offer of 7/19 -- MSH Cellars Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay - 6 Pack

This offer's pack:
pagreen (Chardonnay)

sanity (Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay)

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pagreen wrote:

My wife is really the white wine drinker, so I rely on her opinion on this. Normally, her tastes run more to the shaper, crisper wines, like Sauvignon Blanc. We drank the wine—the Chardonnay—with dinner: lobster ravioli in tomato cream sauce and sautéed spinach, and it was a pretty good match. Unlike some of the other un-oaked Chardonnays, you would never mistake this one for anything other than a Chardonnay. Having said that, it is a nice, drinkable one. It has a rich, soft mouth-feel, dry without the sharpness or crispness of a sauvignon blanc. All in all, it went well with the dinner. As my wife put it, it was a nice change, smooth and drinkable. Still, we are looking forward to trying the Sauvignon Blanc.

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Sauvignon Blanc:

sanity wrote:Faux-rat here. I received my order today, and decided to open a bottle while I'm cooking dinner.

Wonderful aroma upon first opening and pouring in the glass. The tropical notes are very evident, especially the passion fruit and guava. The aroma fades pretty quickly, changing to more citrusy notes, with a hint of the tropical notes in the background.

The flavour is very compelling; each sip encourage another sip. The flavour is [i]slightly[/] grapefruity, actually more lemony but it does not invoke a suck-in-your-cheeks pucker like the shriveled apple characters. The acid and the fruit are very nicely balanced, especially for a wine at this price point. I taste pear, and "feel" pear. There is a "fullness", almost, that counterpoints the acid and citrus notes. For the finish, the acid goes from the forefront to the back burner, and a smoothness sets in; that is what is wanting me to take another sip.

If you liked The Dry Creek whites on here awhile back, and the Triacipedis, you'll definitely like this. Different from the Dry Creek (both very enjoyable), and better than the Triacipedis (I realy enjoyed the Triacipedis, and ordered quite alot); but defintely a bargain at this price.

edit: After pouring and tasting the 2nd glass, Just gifted to me a full case. Looking forward to tasting the chard tomorrow, depending on the dinner menu.

sanity wrote:You're welcome. This was a really pleasant wine, and it held its structure till the end of the glass. I'm looking forward to tasting it with food; I think it would go nicely with a steamed artichoke, an asian slaw or salad, lots of possibilities. Though it was tasty on its own.

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sanity wrote:Faux-rat here again, this time with mr sanity chiming in.

Outright, a little funky, but not unpleasant, very familiar but I can't place the aroma. After several minutes, it fades to a slightly spicy aroma, then smells like a chardonnay.
It does not taste outright like a chardonnay; this would definitely develop with use of the venturi I think. It does have a very rich mouthfeel (not oaky, though; maybe due to the malolactic fermentation?); interesting considering it was steel fermented and not oak-fermented.
I definitely taste fig, yummy, and chardonnay.

Tasting with an onion-pepper-ritz-type cracker, the wine is a little spicier, very crisp, still has a rich mouthfeel. More crisp. Tasted with buttered sourdough bread, is crisp, rich, figgy.

Mr sanity says it smells/tastes of pears, apple, tangerine, is crisp; less sharp with the buttered bread, more peppery with the cracker.

I enjoyed the SB much more; mr sanity prefers the chardonnay.

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Offer of 7/26 -- 2006 The Grappler - Four Pack

This offer's pack:

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annedel wrote:

Hi all! The wine arrived and I'm going to do my best to get the first part up and will update after dinner when the wine has been out a bit.

Right out of the bottle the wine was a deep ruby color and had a very nice cherry, red fruit aroma (raspberry?) and pepper smell. I nipped a bit and the same red fruit is there with a really silky feeling. Something that has me really excited is the peppery attributes of this wine. As soon as it hit my mouth it was not an astringent or fumey taste, but this wonderful warm and tingly spicy taste. The finish was a good 8 seconds for me.

The game hens are in the bathtub thawing, I've got pecorino and gouda to nibble on, and I'm going to start smitten kitchen's pumpkin swirl brownies in a bit.

*edit to add that it went well with dinner, but overall stood out the most with the pumpkin brownies because of the cayenne pepper. I think this would stand up nice with other dishes that are spicy. Overall a really nice wine for me. Thanks for the chance to try it early!

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dianefreda wrote:

Had some friends by for spaghetti which I always think of with a Zin but after tasting I think the roast chicken would have been a better idea.
My first friend said "velvety, smooth, cherry, lite tasting but full bodied at the same time" - her next comment was -"please order me some right away".

Next friend "slight pepper but very nice altogether"/

Husband and I loved it and agreed with the description of the first friend. We would like to up our order to 3.

dianefreda wrote:

Sorry my Lab Rat report above was so brief and I did not include a comparison to the Cliff Zin blend as requested. While this wine did have the advantage of being decanted for two hours before we drank - we just ran the Cliff thru the Soriee-it was nice but the Grappler stole the show-lush ruby color, velvety smooth and still a hint of pepper. The cherry flavor was evident but it was by no means sweet. Lovely wine

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Offer of 8/2 -- Huntington Wine by Hahn Family Vineyards Red - 6 Pack

This offer's pack:
messiahmoose (Petite Sirah)

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messiahmoose wrote:

Labrat report!!! I will do my best!

I got the Petite Sirah 2008. Cooled it off in the wine fridge for a few hours, poured into glasses, and it sat for an hour before drinking.

Picking up some alcohol both on the nose and in the mouth, and cherries on both, though the nose is tight because of the alcohol. I'm guessing that will change.

Big on tannins, very dry (which is a plus). Quite drinkable even with the alcohol and the rush to open and pour. Curious to see what this wine would do in a few years.

Also catching a bit of oak.

Well worth the price, what is it, $11/bottle? If I had a job I'd've bought 3 sets.

Wife's analysis: "It's yummy."

So there you go! Looking forward the rest of it.

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shariellen wrote:I got a golden la la la...just arrived.
Here's the report so far:
FedEx man was just ok, usually I get a better looking one than this, but he was friendly so that makes up for it somewhat. Rang the upstairs and the downstairs bell, which I find rude.
I got the bottle with the Mark of "Zinno" on it and it is strikingly beautiful. It's relaxing in the a/c right now. Only 2 pm...still must get some work done...

more later.

shariellen wrote:

Rat report:
I like this wine.
I opened it with a friend who "drinks pinot grigio" and that's about it. She actually enjoyed it.
Color is beautifully purple with a ruby red glint.
Sorry I knew more wine vocabulary before we polished off the bottle...but...
not oaky (as one would expect)
good zing on the side of the tongue and the palate
not sweet
not puckery dry
bouquet was not overly strong.
using generic wine glasses with a small pour.
Anything I forgot?
I give it A and I look forward to receiving the rest of it.
We ate some genoa salami and provelone and dates and pita chips in a totally random fashion.
Here goes the last sip.

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saschabates wrote:

This is a lab rat report. I opened the bottle early this afternoon so that I could get a report in before the end of the offering.

Caveat - my kitchen was painted with oil-based paint today, so anything I say is suspect (just sayin...)

Normally my wine anylysis goes something like "yum!" or "meh" or "ick!" I tried a little harder for you guys. The wine looked great and tasted good. It wasn't so great for sipping before dinner. I wished I had a nice bison steak thawed or something to eat with it. It needs to be paired with food. I wouldn't just crack a bottle of this to sip with friends who were visiting or a date, unless food was also involved.

There were no off-notes however and I'm glad I ordered some yesterday.

Appearance (2/2) - No murkiness or sediment.

Color (2/2) - Approaching storm, so not a lot of light. But the wine is a lovely purple color, not see-through in the glass. Once I went outside, I could see that it was a clear, dark red and I could just barely see my fingers on the other side of the glass.

Aroma - (3/4) I admit, I smelled it right after uncorking and thought I'd made a mistake. But once I poured it and swirled, it had a nice aroma, lightly fruity and some other scents. There were no negative scents. I went outside at this point to get away from any paint fumes that might be influencing things. The aroma was very light. I had to swirl to get it travel to the edge of the glass. I would have enjoyed a bit more intensity.

Volatile Acidity (2/2) - no vinegars here

Total Acidity (2/2) - It gave my upper palate a nice tingle
Sweetness (1/1) - seemed fine to me. No obvious sugar (to me).
Body (1/1)
Flavor(1/1) - nice
Astringency (2/2) - a little tannic but didn't pucker me or suck all the moisture from my mouth. I'm a fan of tannic.

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shopping77 wrote:

Lab Rat Report.

First, thank you wine.woot gods for my golden ticket. It will be suitably framed and placed next to my DeLong's wine chart.

I shared the bottle with 3 of my colleagues in my office within minutes of the doors closing. I opened the bottle about an hour ahead of time and used the vinerator on each glass.

The immediate response was so-so. It was a bit hot and closed. But shortly it opened up to better aromas and taste.

Bottle: I was oddly attracted to the super hero, although not normally into the muscle heads. The bottle neck reminded me of either a tube sock or a headband worn by Bjorn Borg back in the day.

Color: Very dark cherry

Aromas: Originally cherry and finally opened to a mix of light raspberry and violet.

Taste: After the original heat it warmed up to a fairly smooth tannin with a medium long finish. Smooth and yummy.

I brought some Dairy Vale Australian Cheddar that was recent purchase. It is fairly sharp and paried well with the Zin. The last few sips were paired with dove dark chocolate, also a great marriage.

The overall impression was a great drinkable wine that would pair well with hearty foods. To me it would be something I would have on hand to go with anything from burgers to lamb. A winner in my book!

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