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  #1 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 12:03 AM
Bill Spohn
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes

I have had a long time appreciation for Sassicaia. Seven years ago, I arranged
a vertical tasting of eleven vintages, and I wanted to repeat the event to see
how the wines had matured, and to see how the newer vintages compared with the
old ones, so I set up a 14 vintage vertical to survey the wines.

In my experience, there is no substitute for being able to taste the wines
together at the same time, in order to form a sense of what the wine is all
about. There are always differences attributable to the vintages, but there are
commonalties you can see that are at the root of what the wines are. Once you
have gone through this process, you can say that you really know something
about the wine - it is totally different from trying to form an opinion based
on one vintage you tasted last month, another a year ago, a third tonight.

All of these wines were sourced from my cellar, where they had resided since
release, except for the 81, which came from a cooler cellar, the better to
ensure it was still in good shape, and the 1996 and 1997, one of which flew in
for the event from Toronto with its owner.

If you visit the website for Sassicaia, you will get a slightly Bowdlerised
version of the history of the wine. There is no mention anywhere of Giacomo
Tachis, the winemaker from the first commercial vintage in 1968 until the early
1990s, and the story of the carefully planned viticultural journey from
planting specific varietals to winemaking techniques would indeed seem quite
odd to Tachis, who relates a somewhat different tale.

The vineyards at Bolgheri were planted in the usual hit and miss fashion, with
cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, cannaiolo and sangiovese intermixed. The
latter two were eliminated early on (the wine is now 10-15% cab franc, the rest
cab sauvignon), and the first vintage was 1968. If you read the material on the
site, you'd believe this debut was carefully planned - if you listen to Tachis,
who made the wine, it was a combination of wine salvaged from casks of 1965,
1966, 1967, and mostly 1968, blended and issued as a single vintage, the
balance discarded.

By the 70s, they had sorted the vineyards out and refined the winemaking
technique to the extent that they merited the reputation as the first and
perhaps most reliable 'Super-Tuscan', a wine made from varietals not allowed by
the DOC rules of the region, and thus (until it was awarded a DOC designation
for 1994, the first single wine DOC) it was sold as a vino da tavola.

That this wine is remarkably reliable even in weak vintages, a testament to
technique as much as terroir was amply demonstrated in our tasting, which
spanned three decades, from 1979 to 1997.

Here are the notes:

1991 - I started with this wine as I predicted that it would be the weakest of
the modern vintages. We drank it while I talked a bit about the tasting and the
wines. The best part was the nose, for the wine was a bit tannic and tart, and
the lean profile was acceptable only when taken with food. Definitely the
weakest wine there, and in comparison to the 1991 Tignanello that I opened for
lunch the next day, a less satisfying experience (probably the only vintage I
can think of where the Tig out-shone the Sassicaia).

1980 - a decent mature nose, nice weight in the mouth, soft and ready, with a
nice reprise of fruit right at the end. Perhaps the only wine detectably on the
'other side of the hill'. It faded in the glass, but was presentable at the
beginning.

1986 - much riper fruit in the nose of this wine, and weightier in the mouth,
with the tannins of the vintage finally softened to allow it to be enjoyed.

We had lamb carpaccio with Reggiano, capers, and extra virgin oil from
Sassicaia that I had picked up on a trip to Italy a few years ago with this
flight.


1979 - this wine has never received much respect from the reviewers, nor the
winemaker, but when we tasted it seven years ago, it showed beautifully and was
one of the favourite wines. It started off poorly, though it had good colour,
and I was at first disappointed with the wine, as it seemed too acidic and
closed. Then it started to open and showed some cocoa/mocha in the nose, with
good sweetness on palate. Not as good as it was in the first tasting, but
nonetheless still enjoyable now.


1989 - tough year for the region, but this wine wasn't shabby at all - a
bigger, riper more fruit driven nose, and a good tannin to fruit balance. Best
wine so far.

Served with pan seared sweetbreads with spiced lentils, 'candied' prosciutto
and truffle sauce.


1982 - a really attractive mocha and cassis nose, smooth, balanced, long and
sweet. This wine had the sweetest fruit so far, and was the first one that had
a level of terminal acidity and structure that would allow it to masquerade as
a Bordeaux in a blind tasting. It was also the favourite wine of the night for
a couple of people. Lovely!

1983 - the nose on this one was a bit reticent and took longer to open up, but
eventually showed as a bit riper, perhaps even better balanced than the 82. An
elegant wine.

Served with rabbit loin stuffed with it's own liver, sweet potato roesti and
Port reduction.

1981 - good colour, a nice high-toned nose of cocoa and fruit, excellent sweet
fruit on palate, not too much acidity, and very much like a Bordeaux. This was
the last one I was worried about being in good shape, and I gave a figurative
sigh of relief once we reached this point, as all the rest were sure to be
good.

1990 - this wine was very good - sweet currant and vanilla in the nose, very
full in the mouth, good concentration and sweet fruit like the 82, and the more
typical slightly high terminal acidiy. Will last for years, but drinks very
well now. I cannot recall why I didn't buy more of this vintage!

Served with a wild mushroom ragout with roasted garlic on a brioche.

1985 - this flight were the big guns - this wine is a Parker 100, and it is
really amazing. Very dark; even more so than the already quite dark wines that
preceded it. The nose was a wonderful, luscious black currant extravaganza
topped off with cedar and a little tar. In the mouth, it had a creamy smooth
feel, and the fruit was exemplary with layers of subtlety. The tannins are
soft, the acid lively, and the wine has many years to go yet. It is a truly
great wine, and when I see reports that some people think it to be over the
hill, I have to attribute it to poor storage or lack of tasting experience. It
is magnificent, but having said that, it is also a bit of a blonde among a
family of brunettes - all of the previous wines were clearly identifiable as
cut from the same cloth, while this one was qualitatively different, a more
international style of wine with less regional typicity.


1988 - it is always a bit unfair to compare wines as good as these, but either
would overwhelm any of the other vintages, so I elected to taste them against
each other. In fact while we tried many of the pairings at the beginning of the
courses, together, we most often drank one wine, then moved on to the next, as
this method allows the best opportunity to savour the merits of each wine. The
1988 had a rich nose, and was forward and ready, sweet in the mouth, with great
length. One to drink while waiting for the 85 to develop.

Served with Tournedos Rossini on scalloped potatoes.

1995 - I elected to serve the last 3 vintages from the 90s together with
cheese, which included the often dreaded Vacherin de Mont d'Or, this one at a
perfect stage of ripeness, and therefor approachable with pleasure. Dark, with
a sweet oak/cassis/anise nose. An unusually sweet entry followed by a well
structured forward and drinkable wine with quite a few years of potential
ageing ahead.

1996 - a similar sweet profile, bright, with the most tannins of the three, and
with the nicest nose, I thought. I have a concern about the level of fruit in
proportion to tannin, but trust that it will all sort out in a few years.

1997 - a good nose in the same style, a bit more terminal acidity, good
structure and fruit, but not as fresh as the 1995.

While we could see the family resemblance of this trio to the previous wines,
they did seem to be cut from a different template, more fruit and sweeter, and
the tannins not as tight as the others were at that age. This is nothing new -
many areas went through a revolution in winemaking at the end of the 80s and
beginning of the 90s, and added to this is the fact that Tachis, who made all
of the other wines, was replaced by a new winemaker for these vintages. It will
take a taster with either more experience, or a better crystal ball than I
possess to predict whether these wines will fit easily into the traditional
Sassicaia lineage, or if they represent a departure in a new direction for the
winery.

At the end of the event there was demand made to repeat this tasting again in
another 5-7 years. Some of the older wines would by then be beyond their
drinking plateau, but new vintages could be added to extend the vertical
forward, and perhaps the correct place for the 90s wines could then be more
accurately assessed. I had five people from the original 1997 event at this
tasting. Maybe we should get together again in 2008 or so to repeat the
experience.

  #4 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 12:52 AM
Tom S
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes

Hi, Bill -

You _really_ should move to Los Angeles so that I can partake in your
tastings! ;^D

This sounded like a great extravaganza of food and fine wines. I've pretty
much stuck with traditional Italian wines, so I'm not familiar with
Sassicaia, but I guess I'll have to investigate their wines.

One comment on vertical (and horizontal) tastings:
Although I appreciate the educational value of them, I don't conduct them on
my own anymore. There are always wines that get blown away by a few of
their more stellar peers which would be perfectly lovely if served on their
own. That strikes me as wasteful of merit.

On tannin/fruit balance:
In my experience, wines that go into the bottle out of balance never achieve
balance with aging. They may _improve_, but it's always better if the wine
is balanced to begin with.

Maybe we should get together again in 2008 or so to repeat the

experience.

Is that an open invitation? ;^)

Tom S


  #5 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 01:32 AM
Bill Spohn
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes

Maybe we should get together again in 2008 or so to repeat the
experience.


If you'd need my bottle of '85, count me in.


You don't need to wait for 2008, Michael, nor bring the Sassicaia - just call
if you ever get to this part of the world (BC) and we can arrange to do a bit
of tasting. Mark and others have made their way here, and Ian keeps
threatening.....


  #6 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 01:38 AM
Bill Spohn
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes

One comment on vertical (and horizontal) tastings:
Although I appreciate the educational value of them, I don't conduct them

onmy own anymore. There are always wines that get blown away by a few
oftheir more stellar peers which would be perfectly lovely if served on
theirown. That strikes me as wasteful of merit.


I agree, but find that you can taste together and then go back and drink them
seriatim, savouring one at a time.
That sort of tasting is the only way to know a wine or a vintage!


On tannin/fruit balance:
In my experience, wines that go into the bottle out of balance never

achievebalance with aging. They may _improve_, but it's always better if the
wineis balanced to begin with.

Depends on what you mean by balance. Excessive tannin can conceal exactly how
much fruit is there - examples would be the 1975 Bordeaux when young, and just
about any Dunn.

Past a certain point, there is so much puckery tannin that you have a real hard
time detecting just how much fruit is there. Wait 15 or 20 years and things can
sort out. I'd agree though that if the fruit isn't there to start with (even if
it is 'hiding') ithe wine isn't going anywhere.

  #7 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 01:52 AM
burris
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes

If you get to Miami, please count me in for your next tasting....

burris

Bill Spohn wrote:

I have had a long time appreciation for Sassicaia. Seven years ago, I arranged
a vertical tasting of eleven vintages, and I wanted to repeat the event to see
how the wines had matured, and to see how the newer vintages compared with the
old ones, so I set up a 14 vintage vertical to survey the wines.

In my experience, there is no substitute for being able to taste the wines
together at the same time, in order to form a sense of what the wine is all
about. There are always differences attributable to the vintages, but there are
commonalties you can see that are at the root of what the wines are. Once you
have gone through this process, you can say that you really know something
about the wine - it is totally different from trying to form an opinion based
on one vintage you tasted last month, another a year ago, a third tonight.

All of these wines were sourced from my cellar, where they had resided since
release, except for the 81, which came from a cooler cellar, the better to
ensure it was still in good shape, and the 1996 and 1997, one of which flew in
for the event from Toronto with its owner.

If you visit the website for Sassicaia, you will get a slightly Bowdlerised
version of the history of the wine. There is no mention anywhere of Giacomo
Tachis, the winemaker from the first commercial vintage in 1968 until the early
1990s, and the story of the carefully planned viticultural journey from
planting specific varietals to winemaking techniques would indeed seem quite
odd to Tachis, who relates a somewhat different tale.

The vineyards at Bolgheri were planted in the usual hit and miss fashion, with
cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, cannaiolo and sangiovese intermixed. The
latter two were eliminated early on (the wine is now 10-15% cab franc, the rest
cab sauvignon), and the first vintage was 1968. If you read the material on the
site, you'd believe this debut was carefully planned - if you listen to Tachis,
who made the wine, it was a combination of wine salvaged from casks of 1965,
1966, 1967, and mostly 1968, blended and issued as a single vintage, the
balance discarded.

By the 70s, they had sorted the vineyards out and refined the winemaking
technique to the extent that they merited the reputation as the first and
perhaps most reliable 'Super-Tuscan', a wine made from varietals not allowed by
the DOC rules of the region, and thus (until it was awarded a DOC designation
for 1994, the first single wine DOC) it was sold as a vino da tavola.

That this wine is remarkably reliable even in weak vintages, a testament to
technique as much as terroir was amply demonstrated in our tasting, which
spanned three decades, from 1979 to 1997.

Here are the notes:

1991 - I started with this wine as I predicted that it would be the weakest of
the modern vintages. We drank it while I talked a bit about the tasting and the
wines. The best part was the nose, for the wine was a bit tannic and tart, and
the lean profile was acceptable only when taken with food. Definitely the
weakest wine there, and in comparison to the 1991 Tignanello that I opened for
lunch the next day, a less satisfying experience (probably the only vintage I
can think of where the Tig out-shone the Sassicaia).

1980 - a decent mature nose, nice weight in the mouth, soft and ready, with a
nice reprise of fruit right at the end. Perhaps the only wine detectably on the
'other side of the hill'. It faded in the glass, but was presentable at the
beginning.

1986 - much riper fruit in the nose of this wine, and weightier in the mouth,
with the tannins of the vintage finally softened to allow it to be enjoyed.

We had lamb carpaccio with Reggiano, capers, and extra virgin oil from
Sassicaia that I had picked up on a trip to Italy a few years ago with this
flight.


1979 - this wine has never received much respect from the reviewers, nor the
winemaker, but when we tasted it seven years ago, it showed beautifully and was
one of the favourite wines. It started off poorly, though it had good colour,
and I was at first disappointed with the wine, as it seemed too acidic and
closed. Then it started to open and showed some cocoa/mocha in the nose, with
good sweetness on palate. Not as good as it was in the first tasting, but
nonetheless still enjoyable now.


1989 - tough year for the region, but this wine wasn't shabby at all - a
bigger, riper more fruit driven nose, and a good tannin to fruit balance. Best
wine so far.

Served with pan seared sweetbreads with spiced lentils, 'candied' prosciutto
and truffle sauce.


1982 - a really attractive mocha and cassis nose, smooth, balanced, long and
sweet. This wine had the sweetest fruit so far, and was the first one that had
a level of terminal acidity and structure that would allow it to masquerade as
a Bordeaux in a blind tasting. It was also the favourite wine of the night for
a couple of people. Lovely!

1983 - the nose on this one was a bit reticent and took longer to open up, but
eventually showed as a bit riper, perhaps even better balanced than the 82. An
elegant wine.

Served with rabbit loin stuffed with it's own liver, sweet potato roesti and
Port reduction.

1981 - good colour, a nice high-toned nose of cocoa and fruit, excellent sweet
fruit on palate, not too much acidity, and very much like a Bordeaux. This was
the last one I was worried about being in good shape, and I gave a figurative
sigh of relief once we reached this point, as all the rest were sure to be
good.

1990 - this wine was very good - sweet currant and vanilla in the nose, very
full in the mouth, good concentration and sweet fruit like the 82, and the more
typical slightly high terminal acidiy. Will last for years, but drinks very
well now. I cannot recall why I didn't buy more of this vintage!

Served with a wild mushroom ragout with roasted garlic on a brioche.

1985 - this flight were the big guns - this wine is a Parker 100, and it is
really amazing. Very dark; even more so than the already quite dark wines that
preceded it. The nose was a wonderful, luscious black currant extravaganza
topped off with cedar and a little tar. In the mouth, it had a creamy smooth
feel, and the fruit was exemplary with layers of subtlety. The tannins are
soft, the acid lively, and the wine has many years to go yet. It is a truly
great wine, and when I see reports that some people think it to be over the
hill, I have to attribute it to poor storage or lack of tasting experience. It
is magnificent, but having said that, it is also a bit of a blonde among a
family of brunettes - all of the previous wines were clearly identifiable as
cut from the same cloth, while this one was qualitatively different, a more
international style of wine with less regional typicity.


1988 - it is always a bit unfair to compare wines as good as these, but either
would overwhelm any of the other vintages, so I elected to taste them against
each other. In fact while we tried many of the pairings at the beginning of the
courses, together, we most often drank one wine, then moved on to the next, as
this method allows the best opportunity to savour the merits of each wine. The
1988 had a rich nose, and was forward and ready, sweet in the mouth, with great
length. One to drink while waiting for the 85 to develop.

Served with Tournedos Rossini on scalloped potatoes.

1995 - I elected to serve the last 3 vintages from the 90s together with
cheese, which included the often dreaded Vacherin de Mont d'Or, this one at a
perfect stage of ripeness, and therefor approachable with pleasure. Dark, with
a sweet oak/cassis/anise nose. An unusually sweet entry followed by a well
structured forward and drinkable wine with quite a few years of potential
ageing ahead.

1996 - a similar sweet profile, bright, with the most tannins of the three, and
with the nicest nose, I thought. I have a concern about the level of fruit in
proportion to tannin, but trust that it will all sort out in a few years.

1997 - a good nose in the same style, a bit more terminal acidity, good
structure and fruit, but not as fresh as the 1995.

While we could see the family resemblance of this trio to the previous wines,
they did seem to be cut from a different template, more fruit and sweeter, and
the tannins not as tight as the others were at that age. This is nothing new -
many areas went through a revolution in winemaking at the end of the 80s and
beginning of the 90s, and added to this is the fact that Tachis, who made all
of the other wines, was replaced by a new winemaker for these vintages. It will
take a taster with either more experience, or a better crystal ball than I
possess to predict whether these wines will fit easily into the traditional
Sassicaia lineage, or if they represent a departure in a new direction for the
winery.

At the end of the event there was demand made to repeat this tasting again in
another 5-7 years. Some of the older wines would by then be beyond their
drinking plateau, but new vintages could be added to extend the vertical
forward, and perhaps the correct place for the 90s wines could then be more
accurately assessed. I had five people from the original 1997 event at this
tasting. Maybe we should get together again in 2008 or so to repeat the
experience.


  #8 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 06:14 AM
Tom S
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes


"Bill Spohn" wrote in message
...
One comment on vertical (and horizontal) tastings:
Although I appreciate the educational value of them, I don't conduct them

onmy own anymore. There are always wines that get blown away by a few
oftheir more stellar peers which would be perfectly lovely if served on
theirown. That strikes me as wasteful of merit.


I agree, but find that you can taste together and then go back and drink

them
seriatim, savouring one at a time.
That sort of tasting is the only way to know a wine or a vintage!


Oh, I agree completely on that last, but I'd want to do the vertical at a
""pay for event" tasting - never from my personal collection. One needs
both a lot of depth and breadth in one's cellar to host such extravaganzas.
I have neither.

I _could_ kick in a bottle for a Richie Creek tasting though...

On tannin/fruit balance:
In my experience, wines that go into the bottle out of balance never

achievebalance with aging. They may _improve_, but it's always better if

the
wineis balanced to begin with.

Depends on what you mean by balance. Excessive tannin can conceal exactly

how
much fruit is there - examples would be the 1975 Bordeaux when young, and

just
about any Dunn.


Funny you should mention 1975 Bordeaux. The Mouton I bought proves my
point. It was a tannic monster when released. I _thought_ there was fruit
behind the tannin. When I tasted it a couple of years ago the tannin had
resolved, to reveal...

....not much to speak of.

Don't get me wrong. I've tasted a number of tannic monsters that developed
into extraordinary wines at maturity. The fruit behind the tannin was
always _there_, and was evident in the wines' youth after a good deal of
breathing - sometimes for more than a day.

Past a certain point, there is so much puckery tannin that you have a real

hard
time detecting just how much fruit is there. Wait 15 or 20 years and

things can
sort out. I'd agree though that if the fruit isn't there to start with

(even if
it is 'hiding') ithe wine isn't going anywhere.


OK, we agree on that last, but I believe that it's possible to sort that all
out in _young_ wines too. IOW, it doesn't really take 20 years to decide
whether a wine has any future to speak of. It just takes patience,
attention (over the course of an evening), aeration and perhaps a bit of
imagination.

Tom S


  #9 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 08:56 AM
John Taverner
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes


Thank you for the notes, Bill. Btw, I guess it's the only Parker
100 bottle in my cellar.


I had Lascases 82, (Parker 100), but am selling the last of it, and
replacing it with 2002 white burgundy en primeur..
82 Lascases has always been a let down IMHO. I have had it on five occasions
over the last 15 years and
it is the lack of fruit that lets it down, in fact my last note mentioned
the word "mean".
Members of my wine club have always thought I put the wine down too much,
but one had it last month and said " I see what you mean"

JT


  #11 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 03:41 PM
Bill Spohn
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes

it doesn't really take 20 years to decide
whether a wine has any future to speak of. It just takes patience,
attention (over the course of an evening), aeration and perhaps a bit of
imagination.


And its a bit moot these days as they will never again make a 1928 or 1975
Bordeaux.........
  #12 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 10:10 PM
Larry
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes


One needs
both a lot of depth and breadth in one's cellar to host such extravaganzas.



Bill, if you don't mind a beginner asking; how long have you been
developing your collection? It might give some of us some hope.
How large is your collection in your cellar?

It seems that many of the members with large and varied selections,
also entertain a lot. Is this one of the reasons you have developed
such a wine cellar?

If so, then I'll get out there and make another 100 friends of so ;-}

TIA






Larry Stumpf,
S. Ontario,
Canada
  #13 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-11-2003, 11:40 PM
Joe Beppe Rosenberg
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes

did a similar tasting in 1986 with Mr Parker in attendance. Much to our
mutual regret, once he wrote about the wine, wholesale prices soared. I
bought the 1982 in Firenze for $12 US at 1900L=$ and drank it at a pensione
in Fiesole for a buck or two more!!! At that time the Maryland wholesale
price was about $30 US when the 1982 was released in the US by Julius Wile.
Enoteca Pinchiorri had almost all the vintages with the first selling for
about $150 US, which I skipped in 1985 trip. Most of the older Sassicaia I
bought was purchased at La Frasca in Castrocaro Terme on the Ravenna-Firenze
road SS67. The first Sass I bought was at Weimax in Burlington Ca near the
SF airport for the unheard of price of $30 in 1983 or so.



--
Joe "Beppe" Rosenberg
"Larry" wrote in message
...

One needs
both a lot of depth and breadth in one's cellar to host such

extravaganzas.


Bill, if you don't mind a beginner asking; how long have you been
developing your collection? It might give some of us some hope.
How large is your collection in your cellar?

It seems that many of the members with large and varied selections,
also entertain a lot. Is this one of the reasons you have developed
such a wine cellar?

If so, then I'll get out there and make another 100 friends of so ;-}

TIA






Larry Stumpf,


S. Ontario,
Canada



  #14 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 01-12-2003, 12:49 AM
Bill Spohn
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes

Bill, if you don't mind a beginner asking; how long have you been
developing your collection? It might give some of us some hope.
How large is your collection in your cellar?


I started a cellar around 1980. It just seems to keep growing despite my
efforts to open more bottles and buy less.

It currently runs around 3,700 bottles.

It seems that many of the members with large and varied selections,
also entertain a lot. Is this one of the reasons you have developed
such a wine cellar?


Appreciation of wine can certainly be a social pursuit, but in my case it
wasn't a major consideration. I collect wine because I enjoy it - the social
thing was definitely secondary.

I may also be accused of having a collector mentality, which is why I have
owned probably 6 dozen cars (only about 9 currently) 4000 LPs, untold books,
and just one long-suffering wife.
  #15 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 01-12-2003, 01:30 AM
Tom S
 
Posts: n/a
Default Sassicaia Notes


"Bill Spohn" wrote in message
...
I may also be accused of having a collector mentality, which is why I

have
owned probably 6 dozen cars (only about 9 currently) 4000 LPs, untold

books,
and just one long-suffering wife.


True collectors have _many_ more wives than that. ;^D

Tom S

P.S. - What sort of cars are you into? I've been into big block Fords,
myself. The 1963 Galaxie "R" code is my holy grail - so to speak.




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