Posts Tagged ‘Riesling’

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 154: Soul Fight

January 30, 2015

In this episode, Jeff samples a product which claims to remove sulfites from wine on a killer sample of some Finger Lakes Riesling.  Watch all the way to the end of the show to learn how to get yourself some FREE STUFF…

Wine Tasted:

Villa Bellangelo 1866 Reserve 2012 Riesling with Just the Wine sulfite drops

Villa Bellangelo 1866 Reserve 2012 Riesling with Just the Wine sulfite drops

Stay Rad,

Jeff

 To get yourself in the running to get a sample of Just the Wine, leave a comment, letting us know how long you have been a follower of StayRadWineBlog.com, a Stay Rad Wine Blog TV watcher, or a listener of the We Like Drinking Podcast.  We’d love to hear from you.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 141: Tasting Some #FLXRiesling

September 27, 2014
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It’s always fun to open up a box of samples…

In this episode, Jeff explores the 2013 vintage of #FLXRiesling.

Wine Tasted:

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2012 Finger Lakes Riesling from Fox Run Vineyards, Lamoreaux Landing, and Villa Bellangelo.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Which bottle of #FLXRiesling is up your ally? Leave a comment, and let us know.

#FLXWine to the fullest! or… Is it too soon to hashtag #WBC15? or… Sometimes Wine + Blogging Does = Wine Blogging

July 17, 2014

One week ago, I sat down to review one of several wines samples sent to me from Villa Bellangelo Winery.  In particular, I sat down to review this wine…

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Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer

Now…

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that it really doesn’t take that long for me to assess and come to a conclusion about wine.  In my video reviews, you’ll see me talk about a particular wine from anywhere from five to twenty minutes… But really… It only takes me a minute or two of that tasting to form my opinion.

“So, Jeff…” you may be wondering, “Why have you been struggling with putting together this wine review?  I mean… Seriously?  You’ve been working on this post for over a week?  You’re only 147 words into this thing… And that includes this made-up dialogue.  What gives?”

Well…

There’s a couple of different things going on here.

1. I don’t do nearly as many written reviews on this blog as I used to. Go ahead and take a peek at the last ten posts.  I’ll wait…  Do you see that?  Nine of the last ten reviews I did on this site were of the video variety!

The reality is, aside from the technical aspects, video wine reviews are easier… for me anyway.  That’s one of the major reasons why I do them.

2. When I do a written piece on this site, I want there to be a theme that ties everything together.  The problem that I’ve been having with this review is that there are too many themes that I wish to include. Every time I started to write about this wine from one particular angle, a new theme would surface, and stuff would start to get all confusing.

So…

Maybe I should just lay out some important things to consider about this wine, and see if I can piece this together somehow…

A. Chris Missick of Villa Bellangelo approached me about reviewing some of his wines near the end of June.

B. Six samples from Villa Bellangelo arrived at my doorstep at the beginning of July.

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C. Hella Villa Bellangelo Samples now inhabit my refrigerator.

D. As you can see from the photo above, Villa Bellangelo specializes in cool-climate Riesling and Gewürztraminer from the Finger Lakes AVA of upstate New York.

E. While I’ve been very much aware of the style of the Finger Lakes region, I’ve never had any wines from this area.  My experience as a Californian has been that one must really search to find these wines around here.

F. Days after the samples arrived, Kara and I drove down to Santa Barbara County to attend the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference.  We had a blast!

G. I learned at the Wine Bloggers Conference that the expression “We had a blast!” is mad cliché, and should never be used.

H. On the final night of the Wine Bloggers Conference, the announcement was made that next year’s conference will be held in the Finger Lakes.

I. Since returning to from #WBC14, I’ve been attempting write a post which makes a connection between my experiences at the conference with the wines of Villa Bellangelo (and all the other #FLXWine).

So…

Let’s give this a go.

On the opening day of the Wine Bloggers Conference, the keynote speech was delivered by Corbett Barr of Fizzle.  While not an expert at wine blogging, specifically, Corbett has made a very good living for himself as a blogger and podcaster.  I truly appreciated his take on the state of wine blogging.

Corbett is a fantastic storyteller.  One of the most memorable bits that I took away from his speech was when he talked about doing research on wine blogging.  Corbett talked the time he took a bottle of wine down to a park, drank it, and tried to blog.  He summed up his experience with the following equation.

Wine + Blogging ≠ Wine Blogging

Now…

I totally get what Corbett was saying here.  There is a whole lot more to this art form (That’s right!  I went there!).  You can’t just throw some booze in your glass and fake it… though some may try.

But…

Sometimes you get stuck.  Seriously… It’s been 720 words in this post so far, and I still haven’t gotten to reviewing this Gewürztraminer.

So…

To aid in reviewing the Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer, I’ve opened up this sample…

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Bellangelo 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling + Blogging

In some ways, I feel like the 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling is a better wine to start with, if wanted to explore the wines of the Finger Lakes.

As wine drinkers, we should all be familiar with Riesling.  Now… whereas many wine lovers will geek out over all things Riesling, the typical wine drinker may stay away from it.  Many complain that Riesling is too sweet.  This may be due to the typical, almost dessert-like, domestic Riesling.  In such cases, these Rieslings are too sweet because they are grown in the wrong place, or just made poorly.

When one explores the killer, cool-climate Rieslings of Alsace, France or Germany, one can really get a firm grasp of all that Riesling really has to offer.  High acid.  A touch of residual sugar.  Balance.  They’re hecka tasty.

My hope is that the Finger Lakes show more like European Riesling versus their domestic contemporaries.

So…

Let’s try the 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling!

Color: Light golden-yellow.  One swirl of the wine in the glass not only highlights the typical color, but also fades to this beautiful slow sloshing of the juice, highlighting its viscosity.

Nose: I love the typical oily notes that can be found in good Riesling. This wine is no exception.  I am also noticing a touch of lemon and savory herbs.

Palate: Nice tart lemon on the front of the palate are rounded out by those oily notes.  There is a touch of residual sugar (1.8%), but the 7.95 g/L of titratable acidity provides the balance that Riesling needs. You would never characterize this wine as being too sweet.

Score: The 2012 Semi-Dry Riesling is from the Morris and Gibson vineyards in the Finger Lakes.  I’m excited to see how this wine stacks up against some of the single-vineyard offerings from Villa Bellangelo.  This is a fresh and balanced number.  The perfect wine for a summer day when you’re in a blogging rut.  90 points!

Okay…

Now let’s get back to the Bellangelo 2012 Gewürztraminer that I tasted last week!

Color: Pale golden-yellow.  Very similar to the Riesling (minus the sloshiness of the swirl, of course).

Nose: Honey and lemon zest dominate this nose, but there is an oiliness here (reminiscent of the Riesling).

Palate: This wine has weight.  There is a very viscous, oily palate. Good notes of honeysuckle.  There is a hint of sweetness (1% residual sugar) here.  This Gewürztraminer is Riesling-like, but with much less of an acidic backbone (5.4 g/L TA).

Score: This wine is pretty.  While easy-drinking, there is a nice floral complexity to this.  This wine was also grown from the Morris and Gibson vineyards in the same year as the Riesling.  It’s nice to see how similar these two varieties can be when one strips away virtually all the other variables that could exist from one bottle to the next. This is a tasty 89er.

Food Pairing:

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The Gewürztraminer was paired with Kara’s Pasta Salad of Fusilli with Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

I’m a big fan of both of these wines from Villa Bellangelo.  The acid (more so from the Riesling) provides a versatility in food pairings. The sugar gives them both a pleasant sweetness, without making them overly goopy.  Try them with any food you like… I really don’t think you could go wrong with anything here.

This is #FLXWine to the fullest!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

What’s your favorite wine from the Finger Lakes?  Leave a comment, and let us know what you think.

Stay Rad Wine Blog TV Episode 108: Here’s why #AlsaceRocks!

June 27, 2013

As part of the Wines of Alsace Twitter Taste and Chat, Jeff tries four different Alsatian Rieslings in this episode.  Let’s see why #AlsaceRocks…

Wines Tasted:

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Rad Wines of Alsace

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Trimbach 2010 Riesling

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Domaine Ostertag 2011 Vignoble d’E Riesling

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Meyer-Fonné 2011 Riesling Reserve

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Weinbach 2011 Cuvée Théo Riesling

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Oh man!

See Jeff’s first tasting of Trimbach Riesling here.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Don’t forget to join the Wines of Alsace Twitter Taste and Chat between 4 and 5pm Pacific, 6/27/13.  Use the hashtag #AlsaceRocks, and throw a Q in front of your questions, to find out all you want to know about these dry Rieslings from France.

Having a (Matzo) Ball

December 11, 2012

It’s Hanukkah, y’all!

I love me some Jewish food.

I don’t eat it that often, but I love it.

The other night, I decided to cook some up, and show Kara how to celebrate right…

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Here’s some Matzo Ball Soup. So fluffy. So creamy. So savory. So right.

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Here’s some Potato, Onion, and Beet Latkes with Apple Sauce, Greek Yogurt, and Green Onions. So crispy. So crunchy. So earthy. So awesome.

To go with this holiday feast, we had to have some wine…

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Moselland 2007 Zeller Schwarze Katz Qualitaswein

This is a Riesling based white blend that is a little on the sweet, apple juice side of delicious, but it’s the perfect compliment to the Latkes.  I picked it up for $11 at BevMo.  You may want to try it out the next time you’re doing a salty/savory dish.  The sweetness and acidity do just the trick to liven up the food.

Happy Holidays, Everybody!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Napa Fun Time 1.2: Everybody Must Get Cornerstone

October 17, 2012

After spending the morning in the wine cave at Del Dotto in Napa, Kara and I headed North on the 29 to the Cornerstone Cellars tasting room in Yountville.

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Cornerstone Cellars

Upon arrival, we met up with managing partner, blogger, and all around great guy, Craig Camp, who hosted us in a tasting of their current releases…

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Stepping Stone 2011 North Coast White Rocks: A dry white blend of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer, the White Rocks brings flavors of subtle grassy notes and pineapple.  There’s a good acid and weight to this. 87

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Stepping Stone 2010 Napa Valley Riesling: Nose of honey suckle and minerality.  There’s a good medium light weight to this bone dry white. 87

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Cornerstone Oregon 2010 Willamette Valley Chardonnay: Toasty nose of lemon and vanilla. There’s a good, creamy mouthfeel that is complimented by a balanced lemon acidity. I love this wine. 91

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Cornerstone Cellars 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Pretty nose of papaya and peach. Good lime flavored acidity and subtle grassy notes. 90

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Stepping Stone 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: A nice, light Pinot Noir that smells of pepper and strawberries. On the palate, the pepper spice is balanced with hints of cola, cranberry, and leather. This is some good stuff. 90+

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Cornerstone Oregon 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: Toasty nose of tomatoes and cherries are complimented by the taste of cola, cherries, sassafras, and cranberries. There is a great balance to this wine. 91+

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Cornerstone Cellars 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark burgundy in color, this wine has a pretty nose of strawberry and black fruits. This Cabernet has some fantastic structure with its smooth, chalky tannins. The wine has plenty of pretty black fruit, and a long finish of black olives (which may be due to the 5% Merlot blended into the wine). I’m a fan. 92

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Cornerstone Cellars 2008 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is hella dark. It has a pretty nose of menthol and dried cherries. On the palate, it is all tannin, acid, and spice. This is definitely and age-worthy cab. Craig also poured us a splash of the 2006 to show how it ages. The wine will definitely showcase some herb notes and the tannins pull back over the next few years. This is a great wine. 92+

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Cornerstone Cellars 2009 The Cornerstone Red Wine: This is THEE wine that showcases what good fruit and good winemaking can do in Napa Valley. This wine features 95% Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Oakville Station/To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville, along with equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The wine is dark red, verging on black. It features a nose of strawberry shortcake and boysenberries. The palate has great fruit of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and plum. There is a nice long acid, good green notes of bell pepper, and chalky, bike tire-like tannins. This a fantastic wine. It has the chops to go toe-to-toe with some of Napa’s finest. 93

Before we took off, Craig brought out some Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from To Kalon for us to sample…

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Yum!

The next time you’re in the Napa Valley, you’ve gotta check out Cornerstone.

Stay Rad,

Jeff

This changes everything!

July 28, 2011

Remember The NeverEnding Story?

Remember when Bastian first starts reading?

There’s this troll-looking dude that flies around on a bat, and he’s hanging out with a guy in a top hat who rides a racing snail.  So they’re chillin’ in the woods, when they hear a rumbling in the distance.  It gets louder and louder and LOUDER.

Eventually, out from the trees comes a giant dude made of rocks riding a tricycle.

See? I told you!

They called him the Rock Biter, since his diet consisted of rocks.  I guess you are what you eat.

Anyway…

The Rock Biter starts hanging out with the other dudes, and they get to talking about this thing called The Nothing (an entity that is threatening to destroy their world of Fantasia).  The dude on the racing snail and the troll begin to tell of the things they had heard second-hand, but the Rock Biter had an actual run-in with The Nothing.

He told them about this beautiful lake that was in the center of his home town.  It was loaded with plenty of delicious lime stone rocks (which would be important to a rock biter).  But one day… One day The Nothing came, and then the lake was gone.

“What do you mean it was gone?  Did it dry up?” the racing snail dude asked.

“No.  It was just not there anymore.” the Rock Biter responded.

“What?  Like there was a hole instead of a lake?” the troll dude asked.

“No.  A hole would have been something.  There was NOTHING there!” the Rock Biter explained.

I totally understand what the Rock Biter was saying.  You can talk about The Nothing as much as you want, but there is no way you could ever understand it unless you experienced it.  In the movie, the Rock Biter moves with just a little more urgency because he knows what The Nothing is all about.  He wants everyone to understand what The Nothing is.

I started thinking about The NeverEnding Story last night while tasting some wine.

I started to think about The Nothing.

I’ve always been a fan of Riesling.  I’ve especially been into the Rieslings of Washington state.  I’ve never been afraid to bring a 6 dollar Riesling to a dinner party, because they are always crowd-pleasing.  They always have a nice balance of acidity and a little residual sugar.  Perfect with food.

Recently, I’ve been reading through Kevin Zraly’s wine book, and he spends quite a bit of time talking about the wines of Alsace (specifically Riesling).  While reading it, I was all like, “I know about Riesling.  I know that the stuff from France is gonna be a bit more dry.  I know it’s gonna have nice mineral notes.  I know it’s gonna have some good acid.  I know it all.”

Apparently, I had no clue.

It turns out that Alsatian Riesling is my Nothing.

Here’s what went down…

Alsace (France) vs Washington State

I picked up two completely different Rieslings from two different stores for two different reasons, and decided to taste them side-by-side…

F.E. Trimbach 2008 Riesling from Alsace, France

I picked up the Trimbach 2008 Riesling at BevMo for $21.99.  Easily, the most I’ve ever paid for a Riesling, but this is the first wine that Zraly suggests you taste in his book.  If I am to know about the Rieslings of Alsace, I’ve got to taste them.

I figured that if I really wanted to get to know this wine, I had to compare it with something I was familiar with.  So yesterday I picked up this…

Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Riesling from Columbia Valley, Washington

The Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Riesling will set you back $5.99 at Trader Joe’s.  This is my go to Riesling.  This is the one that I bring to parties.  This is the one that is just delicious.

And now…

The tasting.

Sing along with me! "Feelin' so fine. Tasting some wine... Side-by-side!"

Color: The Trimbach was a straw yellow.  It was considerably darker than the Chateau Ste Michelle’s pale yellow hue.

Nose: The Trimbach was hella complex on the nose.  Tons of small, not quite ripe, green apples.  White raisins.  There’s this crushed vitamin C characteristic that is really cool.  There’s also a little lime, fig, and motor oil.  The Rock Biter would also appreciate the lime stone minerality of it.

The Chateau Ste Michelle smells EXTREMELY sweet, in comparison.  There’s lots of fruit on the nose.  Pear.  Apple pie.  Peaches.

Taste: This is where it gets fun.  The Trimbach is RAZOR SHARP in its acidity.  I never understood the whole “Razor blades on the tongue” description that Gary Vaynerchuk talks about until I tasted this Riesling.  This is intense!  There’s a ton of lime and grapefruit on the palate.  There are also hints of green apple skin and walnut.  But really… the star of this wine is the dry, sharp, mouth-watering acidity.

The Chateau Ste Michelle, in comparison, is almost dessert-like in its approach.  I never felt that way about it before.  This thing is SWEET.  It has light peach and mango fruit on the palate.  There is a nice, clean acidity to this wine, but the fruit wins out.

Score: By all accounts, the Trimbach was everything I’ve read about Alsatian Rieslings, but nothing I could have ever expected.  This wine is a game changer for me.  I could write about this wine until my fingers fall off, and you still wouldn’t understand it.  Much like The Nothing, I need you to know how great this is.  Give it a 91.  Buy it.  Save it as an aperitif to a fancy seafood dinner at home.

The Chateau Ste Michelle is a good Riesling.  It is a respectable 87, and a real value.  I have no problem with popping this open with some Tuesday night Tai food.

But that Trimbach…

That Trimbach was something.

And since we had plenty of the bottle left after the tasting, Kara and I had the rest with dinner…

Meatless Mediterranean cabbage wraps and romaine salad of cucumber and dill by KaraIsRad. Entertainment by Dish Network.

The Nothing teaching me about Riesling?

Ain’t that something!

Stay Rad,

Jeff

Still Facing My Fear… and ready to #CrushIt!

July 23, 2011

A while back, you read about my life-long hatred of eggs.

What’s that?

You didn’t?

How dare you!

Click here to catch up.

Now as gung-ho as I was about attacking all of the recipes in Jodi Liano’s “Egg” book

"Eggs" by Jodi Liano. You know what time it is! Yeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh Boooooooooyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

writing the post about it, and reliving the Hulkster’s Powerful Protein Shake experience was really tough for me. The more I wrote, the sicker I felt.  After I published the entry, I avoided eggs for about a week.

Now look…

I’m not one to give up so easily.  All I needed was a little BREAK from the EGGS (You like that one?).

A few days ago, I decided to jump back on the egg wagon.  Here’s what I made…

Jeff and Kara in a Hole.

I really liked this one.  The letters that I cut out of the bread were a little too small.  As the egg was frying in the hole, a lot of it piled on top of the bread.  This increased the cooking time, and made for a messy presentation… But… It was delicious.

Kara would have liked it to be a little more runny, but I’m beginning to like mine over hard.

This morning, I made this…

Egg, Bacon, and Smoked Mozzarella Panini

Now, in the book, Jodi uses brie, but I had some smoked mozzarella that I wanted to finish off… so I did.  I got the ciabatta and bacon from Trader Joe’s.  One problem was that the ciabatta loaf was too fat, so the panini could not get as flat as I would have liked.  Another issue was the bacon.  Trader Joe’s is a nice store.  I love it.  Their bacon selection, however, is HORRIBLE.  I got this crappy turkey bacon that did not get anywhere as crisp as I would have liked.  Next time, I’m going to Safeway to get me some real crispy pork action.

By the way, the sandwich was f-ing AWESOME!  I can only imagine how good it would have been with better ingredients.

Okay…

So…

Here’s the deal…

Since we returned from Healdsburg, I haven’t tasted any new wines… but I have been reading a lot recently.  I wanted to share some of these books with you.

I know.  I know.  This is a wine blog, so let’s see if we can tie in some wine…

When I was in high school, I was in a punk rock band called The Willies.

I'm the skinny kid, practicing my punk rock jumps with a mic in my hand.

A few weeks back, my old friend and drummer, Nick Thedrummer, suggested that I read “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk.

“I know Gary!” I wrote back to Nick.  “I’m a huge fan of his video blogs Wine Library TV and Daily Grape.  He even follows me on Twitter.  I just don’t know if I want to read a book about business.”

“Just read it, dude.”

A few days later, I was kicking it with my buddy Dave Thevegetarian when I meantioned Gary’s book.  Dave was all, “I’ve got Crush It right here.  You want to borrow it?”

"Crush It!" by Gary Vaynerchuk... and you should too.

I was all like, “Sure.”

The book is a quick 142 page read (including two appendices).  It’s all about tapping into things that you are passionate about, creating blogs, and using social media to build your personal brand.  This book is very entertaining, and… dare I say it… inspiring.  I was just a few weeks into this blog when I read Crush It, and have since been inspired to take on the world.  If you like blogs…  If you have a Facebook or Twitter account…  If you are passionate about anything… You must read this book!

One of the things that Gary preaches in his book is to become an expert on your passion, by reading as much as you can on the topic.  So last week, I picked up this…

"Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" next to some spheres inside some cubes.

This well-written 338 page textbook is the number one selling book about wine in the world.  Kevin takes the reader through a step-by-step guide on getting to know all the wines on the planet.

Right now, I’m in the middle of Class One: The White Wines of France.  I am stoked on the way he presents information in this book.  Zraly makes wine a whole lot easier to understand.  If you like wine, and want to know more about it… Grab this book!

As interesting as Windows on the World is, I’m realizing how much more I have to learn about the subject of French wine (and wine in general).  The good news, according to Zraly, is that the best way to understand wine is to TASTE it.

Looks like someone’s gonna have to make a run to the wine shop and make a raid on the Alsace section.  Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris better watch out… None of them are getting out alive!

Stay Rad,

Jeff


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