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Based in the Southern Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is bodega producing expressive, regionally specific wines at very reasonable prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and snow-covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. Martínez Alesanco's Blanco is made from equal parts Viura, White Tempranillo, Malvasi...
Price: $10.99

93 points James Suckling: "Blackberries and black cherries on the nose with walnuts, cedar and some sweet tobacco. Medium to full body with creamy texture and a juicy, deliciously ripe red. But balanced and soft. Drink or hold." (11/2020) K&L Notes: Based in the Southern Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a bodega producing expressive, regionally specific wines at very reasonable prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyar...
Price: $29.99
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93 points James Suckling: "Polished and transparent with blueberries and hints of mushrooms and dried flowers. Medium-to full-bodied, tight and focused. One for now or later. Always excellent. " (09/2020) 92 points Wine & Spirits: "This is the kind of brisk, savory red that sets Rioja apart, especially when you can catch it for $15 a bottle. Michael Kowalski of Miraval Berkshires in Lenox, Mass., described the savory mix of fruit as tart red cherry, celery leaf and pomegranate. You might also find a sweet earthy note of fruity black mushrooms, all of i...
Price: $12.99

2015 CVNE "Cune" Gran Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
94 points James Suckling: "Blackberry, bark and wet-earth aromas follow through to a medium body with firm, lightly chewy tannins and a long, flavorful finish with hints of chocolate, and vanilla to the dark fruit. Tempranillo." (09/2021) 93 points Vinous: "Glistening ruby. Expansive red and blue fruit, pipe tobacco, potpourri and baking spice aromas, with vanilla and smoky mineral notes slowly emerging. Sappy and gently chewy on the palate, offering spice-accented black raspberry, bitter cherry and rose pastille flavors that turn sweeter on the back h...
Price: $34.99

Jancis Robinson: "Garnacha Blanca, Viura. Vineyards planted between 500 and 550 m above sea level in Briones. Old vines between 40 and 70 years old. Sustainable viticulture. Hand-harvested with selection of each variety separately for fermentation in French oak barrels of 500 litres. Temperature was controlled by moving the vats out of the winery during the nights. Blended and aged in the same vats for 11 months, then bottled. 2,600 bottles. Tasted blind. Fluid, saline, delicate with a lot of flavour and freshness thanks to notes of fennel and pear. On t...
Price: $39.99

Composed of the same grapes in the same percentages as the Crianza, the Reserva is a barrel selection of wines that Angel feels can undergo longer aging in barrel and then in bottle. Aged a total of 27 months in barrels, then into concrete for more than a year, the Reserva also sees bottle aging until Angel deems it ready for release. This wine ramps up the intensity of the Crianza, with more pungent fruit as well as a real spicy and wild quality. As with many of the best Riojas, this wine is quite delicious right now if you want to drink some bottles wh...
Price: $39.99

A 50-50 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, with great structure, fruit and minerality, particularly for a sub-$20 bottle of red. Native South African Bryan MacRobert grew up in a farming family, and has been quietly making some of that country's best value wines. He fell in love with a girl from Rioja as well as the region's wines (we forget in which order) but quickly became fascinated with the inimitable terroirs and endless potential for wines in the region. A proponent not only of organic viticulture, but also a strong believer in the importance of l...
Price: Hidden

Luis Gutierrez of Wine Advocate writes: "There is a generational change at Miguel Merino, as Miguel Merino Jr. returned home in 2016 to join his father, after more than 10 years away from the family winery. I found wines cleaner than ever and an improved range that got me excited. This could very well be a brand new project. In the last couple of years, they have purchased four hectares of old vines in Briones, their village, have released two new wines and revamped the existing range. They now control close to 13 hectares in 24 small plots (six owned, s...
Price: $21.99

2015 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
92 points Decanter: "Juicy, rich, deep, expressive, showing elegant American oak hints and a suave tannic architecture. Benchmark reserva, which could be taken as a gran reserva. Old-style Rioja, with a touch of extra fruit, and class. (SJ)" (11/2021) K&L Notes: Miguel Merino makes, as he likes to put it, an "updated classic" style of Rioja, all from his own 2 hectares of vines and several hectares of vineyards owned by a close friend. All the fruit is from sloped vineyards (Miguel is a fan of his slopes) within the cooler climate Rioja Alta town of Br...
Price: $34.99

2014 Miguel Merino Gran Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Like the Reserva, the 2014 Gran Reserva also shows brilliantly, complex, nuanced, polished and elegant, showing the essence of traditional Rioja in a clean and expressive way. They selected grapes from old vines (planted between 1918 and 1960) that fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts and matured in new French oak barrels. The wine has absorbed most of the new oak by now and feels quite classical, perhaps a little creamier than the old-timers, with fine tannins and developed flavors. 4,821 bottles ...
Price: $44.99

96 points Decanter: "Arana commemorates one of La Rioja Alta's historic families. The Tempranillo (95%) and Graciano (5%) are aged separately in American oak barrels for three years before blending, then for three years in bottle (two years less than the 904, and six years less than the 890). The winery's keynote to this Rioja is 'freshness'. I agree. (SJE)" (08/2020) 96 points James Suckling: "Lots of mushroom and walnut aromas with plum and leather, too. It’s full-bodied, but very soft and creamy-textured with lots of old wood, mushroom and ripe frui...
Price: $41.99

2015 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
96 points James Suckling: "A rich nose of raspberry, crushed strawberry, blueberry, coconut, cedar and sweet spice. It’s medium-to full-bodied with fine tannins and fresh acidity. Creamy, balanced and layered with vibrant, spicy character. Long and polished. 80% tempranillo and 20% garnacha." (08/2021) 94 points Vinous: "Deep magenta. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black raspberry, cherry cola, potpourri, tobacco and exotic spices, plus a smoky mineral flourish. Sweet and broad in the mouth, offering lush red and blue fruit, spicecake, mocha...
Price: $39.99

Native South African Bryan MacRobert grew up in a farming family, and has been quietly making some of that country's best value wines. He fell in love with a girl from Rioja as well as the region's wines (we forget in which order) but quickly became fascinated with the inimitable terroirs and endless potential for wines in the region. A proponent not only of organic viticulture, but also a strong believer in the importance of legacy organically cultivated vines on top quality sites, Bryan is picky about where he grows and sources vines. The winemaking is...
Price: $19.99

97 points James Suckling: "Sweet berries, cherries, cedar and dried flowers on the nose. Some lemon and lime zest, too! Medium-to full-bodied with tight, integrated tannins that show wonderful length and reserve. So fresh and vivid. Lots of energy. A wonderful, classic wine." (09/2021) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As with many wines this time, I had two vintages to taste of the Reserva from the Tondonia vineyard, 2009 and 2008, two very different, almost opposite vintages. The 2009 Viña Tondonia Reserva, a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Gar...
Price: $54.99

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Viña Gravonia Blanco comes from a rainy, cool and challenging vintage when the grapes didn't reach the perfect ripeness the 2012 (that I tasted next to it) displayed. It has citrus notes (orange peel, yuzu) and an herbal twist, balsamic with the unmistakably white López de Heredia aroma of mushrooms that you smell as soon as you enter their ancient cellars. It's quite pale, and the palate is sharp and austere, quite light but with the pungent flavors and a long and tasty finish. This is a relatively simp...
Price: $49.99

91 points James Suckling: "Pomegranate, dark cherries, dragon fruit and candied orange peel are interspersed among vanilla-bean and clove character. Quite muscular on the palate, which has a lot of tannins that surround layers of dark cherries." (06/2019)
Price: $15.99

Founded in 1890, La Rioja Alta is one of the most experienced and universally respected wineries in Rioja. Viña Alberdi is La Rioja Alta's juiciest, most approachable Rioja to drink on the younger side. That said, it still is one of the standard bearers of great quality, affordable, traditional Rioja, aged for two full years in barrels produced on site by the company's own coopers.
Price: $21.99

91 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby. Aromas of cherry pit, blackberry, licorice and cola are complemented by a subtle hint of dill. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering cherry preserve, red berry, vanilla and rose pastille flavors that spread out slowly on the back half. Shows very good clarity and appealing juiciness on a long, supple finish framed by well-knit tannins. Raised in a combination of French and American oak barrels. (JR)" (04/2021)
Price: $15.99

2018 Ramirez de la Piscina Crianza Rioja
Top Pick!
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Blackberry, tar and violet aromas. Wet earth, too. Medium to full body with firm, racy tannins and a solid finish. A structured and very classic Rioja. " (08/2021)
Price: $15.99


94 points James Suckling: "Very pure fruit to this with blackberries and blueberries and some dried flowers. Medium-bodied with very fine tannins and a linear, refined finish. From organically grown grapes." (08/2021) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The young red 2018 Viñas de Gaín follows the same philosophy as the white, grapes from a variety of vineyards in Laguardia and Elvillar ferment in oak and stainless steel vats followed by malolactic in barrel and an élevage in oak of nine months. It showcases the serious and fresh style of the bes...
Price: $23.99

2014 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
97 points James Suckling: "Really beautiful aromas of crushed blackberry, brambleberry, hazelnut, walnut and light coffee, following through to a full yet so reserved and polished body with fine, creamy-textured tannins. Fresh and exquisite finish. This is a much more refined and harmonic rendition of their classic wine. Three years in French oak from their own production. Very enjoyable now, but this will improve with age for a long time." (07/2021) 95 points Wine & Spirits: "The Muga family got its start as winegrowers in Villalba, in the eastern mou...
Price: $79.99

2015 CVNE "Cune Imperial" Gran Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
97 points James Suckling: "This is very ripe with blackberries, dried fruit, toasted oak and black licorice on the nose. Full-bodied with ultra-fine, linear tannins and a racy, refined finish. This has fantastic structure and length. It goes on for minutes. It needs time to open and refine even more. One of the best Imperiale Gran Reservas in a very long time. Drink after 2023." (09/2021) 95 points Vinous: "Deep, brilliant ruby. Offers sharply defined, mineral-inflected red and dark berries, cherry liqueur, pipe tobacco, vanilla and exotic spice scents...
Price: $79.99

98 points Tim Atkin MW "Wow! How good is this! La Loma is a 1.4-hectare parcel of co-planted Tempranillo and 10% Garnacha in Briones on red clay and limestone soils. It's always been a special vineyard, but Miguel Merino Junior has taken the resulting wine to new heights. Subtle and refined, with barely noticeable 50% new wood, svelte tannins, red berry and blackberry fruit and a ferrous undertone."
Price: Hidden

94 points James Suckling: "A perfumed nose of dark cherries, dried herbs, tea leaves, smoke and wet earth. It’s full-bodied with fine tannins and fresh acidity. Vibrant and balanced with a velvety texture. A beautiful red with tension and harmony. Long, flavorful long finish." (08/2021)
Price: $35.99

2014 Remelluri Reserva Rioja
Top Pick!
93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of dried flowers, ripe berries and tobacco continue to the palate that is medium-to full-bodied with firm, silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Classic style. Better with a little more bottle age, but already very pretty." (09/2020) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The estate red 2014 Reserva was produced with the grapes from a challenging year with abundant rain and high temperatures in September. They started picking the 11th of October and had to rush and do a severe selection of grapes. It fermented in sm...
Price: $37.99

2015 CVNE "Imperial" Gran Reserva Rioja (1.5L)
Top Pick!
97 points James Suckling: "This is very ripe with blackberries, dried fruit, toasted oak and black licorice on the nose. Full-bodied with ultra-fine, linear tannins and a racy, refined finish. This has fantastic structure and length. It goes on for minutes. It needs time to open and refine even more. One of the best Imperiale Gran Reservas in a very long time." (09/2021) 95 points Vinous: "Deep, brilliant ruby. Offers sharply defined, mineral-inflected red and dark berries, cherry liqueur, pipe tobacco, vanilla and exotic spice scents. Chewy and penetr...
Price: $169.99

93 points Wine Spectator: "This polished red shows focus and depth. Cherry and currant flavors are balanced by sanguine, mineral and anise notes. Firm, well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity provide a balanced structure. Expressive and elegant. (TM)" (10/2020) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Balsamic berry fruit aromas are appropriate for a warm year like 2012. This is bullish and tannic, and definitely riper than most vintages of Monte Real gran reserva. Plum and prune flavors stay giant on a tannic finish. (MS)" (10/2020) K&L Notes: Bodegas Rioja...
Price: Hidden

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2001 Gran Reserva 904 will not be released for another 3 years. Dark ruby-colored with a garnet rim, it displays a lovely nose of Asian spices, incense, tobacco, balsamic, and blackberry. On the palate it has exceptional depth, layers of spicy black fruit, excellent ripeness, and an elegant personality. Upon release it should continue to evolve for another 5-6 years and drink well through 2040. " (06/2010)
Price: $275.00

94 points James Suckling: "A deep and aromatic red showing ripe-blackberry, rosemary and slate character. Hints of bark, too. Full-bodied and round with firm and concentrated tannins in addition to a long, refreshing yet subtle finish with hints of tea. Delicious and balanced." (12/2016) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Viña Real Reserva is a blend of mostly Tempranillo with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano from Rioja Alavesa; it fermented in stainless steel and aged in new oak barriques for 22 months with rackings every four months. I ...

2011 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja (1.5L)
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99 points James Suckling: "The most structured Prado Enea ever. A reduced center palate that is so compact with dark fruit, dark mushrooms and cedary spice. Full body. Wonderfully polished tannins and a long, long finish. Electric acidity. Muscular and well toned. The is a new classic that reminds me of great Spanish wines from the 1940s and 1950s. Better after 2021, but already so impressive." (07/2019) 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The most classical of the wines from Muga, the 2011 Prado Enea Gran Reserva comes from a warm year that here...

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2017 Lanzaga comes from a harvest marked by the killer frost (-5 degrees Celsius) of April 27th and 28th, but the higher-altitude vines from the village of Lanciego escaped the disaster. This is a blend from their 15 to 20 hectares of organically farmed vines, all head-pruned on slopes rich in clay and limestone, mixing red and white soils, places with more sandstone, others with more marl, looking for complexity. It fermented in 6,000-liter concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in 1,500- and 2,500...
Price: $39.99

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The wine that represents the traditional and serious reds from Haro, the 2012 Imperial Gran Reserva is a classical blend of Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo that matured in barrel for two years. It has a textbook serious Haro nose, with dark spices, ripe fruit, something balsamic and a round, full-bodied palate within the straight and serious style of the wine. 2012 was a warm year, but the wines are fresher than those from 2011. This has fine, slightly grainy tannins with good grip. A textbook Imperi...

94 points James Suckling: "Lovely, succulent red with juicy berries and plums, together with some chocolate, spice, walnut and cedar. It’s medium-bodied with round tannins and a flavorful finish. Touch of dried fruit in the center palate. A pretty combination of savory and fresh-fruit character. Some orange peel as well. A baby Prado Enea. Drink now." (10/2020) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The red 2017 Reserva, which is sold as Crianza in Spain, is their most popular wine, representing half of the total production of the firm. As is the no...
Price: $27.99

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The iconic Rioja Alavesa red 2014 Viña Real Gran Reserva was produced with grapes from their own vineyards in the villages of Laguardia and Labastida, mostly Tempranillo with 5% Graciano fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts and matured in new and second use barriques for 24 months. As with the Imperial Gran Reserva, I found great balance and elegance here, transcending the character of the year. It's a little shy and takes time to show aromas of fine spices, decayed leaves, wild berries and flowers...

This Gran Reserva is from some of their oldest Tempranillo and Graciano vines, planted in 1931 and 1946. It is elegant, generous, and a precociously delicious treat for now, or over the next 15 years. Miguel Merino makes, as he likes to put it, an "updated classic" style of Rioja, all from his own 2 hectares of vines and several hectares of vineyards owned by a close friend. All the fruit is from sloped vineyards (Miguel is a fan of his slopes) within the cooler climate Rioja Alta town of Briones, which makes his wine a terrific showcase of the terroir (...
Price: Hidden

95 points James Suckling: "A tight and linear red now with very long and direct palate that is driven and intense. Medium to full body, bright blackberry and mineral character. Just a baby now. Give it three to four years to soften. A beauty." (01/2019) 94 points Jeb Dunnuck: "Based on 85% Tempranillo, with the balance Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha, the 2015 Imperial Reserva was fermented in larger French oak vats and aged in a combination of French and American oak. Dense purple-hued, with a killer nose of smoked blackcurrants, vanilla, violets, oran...

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 1981 Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva has a vibrant nose reminiscent of coeval Burgundy, with scents of citrus peel, orange rind, singed leather and a Tuscan delicatessen. The palate has a penetrating orange peel and tart cherry entry with potent earthy notes at its core. It is supremely well-balanced with an energetic finish underpinned by crisp dry tannins. This wonderful Rioja is drinking perfectly now and will age effortlessly. (NM)" (08/2012) 93 points Vinous: "Light red. Strawberry, dried cherry, vanilla, ...
Price: $399.99

94 points James Suckling: "A fine-tuned and polished gran reserva with lots of finesse and linear character. Medium body. Refined and beautiful." (07/2019) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There is a developed and subtle nose reminiscent of petrol (is it mineral?), hints of iodine and sweet spices. The palate is powerful and still a little tannic, as the wine was released even earlier because they skipped one vintage. Serious, austere, faithful to its character. (LG)" (10/2020) 94 points Vinous: "Shimmering ruby-red. An intensely perfumed no...

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I'm glad I had time to pay a quick visit to the vineyard where Bryan MacRobert grows the grapes for the 2016 Barranco del San Ginés. It's a 1.18-hectare plot in the village of Laguardia that was planted in 1935 (or at least registered that year) with an old selection of Tempranillo on small terraces on a slope at some 570 meters in altitude following the contour lines. The vineyard has been organically farmed for the last five years, and it's full of life; it's a vineyard like the old Rioja used to be, intermixed...
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96 points James Suckling: "This shows the ripeness and intensity of the vintage with truffles and hints of tea. Full body, layered and beautiful. Flavorful finish." (07/2017) 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The most classic cuvée was not produced in 2007 or 2008, so we jumped to the phenomenal 2009 Prado Enea. It was produced with grapes from cooler vineyards that enjoyed 20 extra days of slow ripening compared with warmer zones, which provided them with perfect ripeness and deep flavors. This blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and the re...

2010 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja (1.5L)
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99 points James Suckling: "The wonderfully silky texture with an added juiciness is what makes this wine so very special. The flawless and seamless nature to the wine is so impressive that it takes you breath away. Plenty of beautiful fruit but what mouthfeel. Drink now and forever. " (01/2018) 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is the most classical among the wines in the portfolio, the one with the longer élevage, a little bit like the wines from yesteryear but with today's knowledge about vineyards and vinification/élevage. This has sett...

Bid on this 4-bottle lot of 2007 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja (97JS, 95JG, 95RP). James Suckling: "Wonderful purity of fruit with a strawberry, currant and plum character. Full and velvety body with ultra-fine tannins and a delicious fresh and fruity finish. Classic Rioja style. Que lindo!" (10/2016)
Starting Bid: $260.00

Bid on this 5-bottle lot of 1989 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja (93VN). Vinous: "Medium red. Maturing Burgundy aromas of plum, dried cherry, loam and milk chocolate, plus a whiff of coconut. Big, rich and sweet, with huge palate presence; flavors of plum, bitter chocolate and coconut are given clarity by ripe, integrated acidity. Lovely sweet finishing flavors stain the palate. Very impressive. (ST)" (09/1998)
Starting Bid: $325.00

Bid on this 4-bottle lot of 1995 Bodegas Roda "Roda II" Rioja Reserva. Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep red with ruby highlights. Sappy, fruit-driven aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, blueberry and spicy, smoky French oak. Sweet and nicely concentrated, with harmonious acids giving the flavors a racy firmness. A wine of good but not outstanding texture and depth. Slightly aggressive in its youthfulness, but finishes with rather suave tannins. This new-wave Rioja came as a distinct shock directly following my visits to traditionalists La Rioja Alta and López de Heredia on my first morning in the region. (ST)" (11/1999)
Starting Bid: $260.00

Bid on this 3-bottle lot of 2010 Cune "Imperial" Reserva Rioja (94JS, 93VN, 93WE, 93WS, 92RP, 92W&S). James Suckling: "Lots of plum, chocolate and rose aromas. Licorice and cloves too. Very subtle yet rich. Full-bodied, very fine and balanced. Lovely firm and silky mouthfeel. It still needs some bottle age to soften but is already long and beautiful. Elegant. Drink or hold." (07/2015)

Bid on this 5-bottle lot of 1982 Lagunilla Rioja. Classic Rioja from a respected winery coming from what Decanter described as "an outstandingly good vintage."
Starting Bid: $150.00

Bid on this 4-bottle lot of 2005 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja (95RP, 94JS, 94ST, 92W&S). Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I posted the eternal question about 2004 versus 2005 when tasting the 2004 Prado Enea. Instead of answering the question, they reached for a bottle of the 2005 Prado Enea Gran Reserva to check what is happening. The nose is almost as young and undeveloped as the 2004, but it's on the palate where I see that the 2005 shows a little more polish and is perhaps a little less complete than the 2004. (LG)" (02/2018)
Starting Bid: $360.00

Bid on this 2-bottle lot of 2001 López de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Reserva Rioja (95JS, 95RP, 94JG, 93W&S, 92VN). Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2001 Vina Tondonia Reserva is bridled with a lovely nose of decayed red fruit, fireside hearth, a touch of mulberry and small red cherry. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, crisp red fruits (wild strawberry and cranberry) with a sharp, vibrant, tense, tannic finish that has immense precision. There is a slight saline note lingering in the mouth after the wine has (regretfully) departed. (NM)" (08/2012)
Starting Bid: $160.00

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