2004 Sine Qua Non "Poker Face" Central Coast Syrah
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The recently released 2004 Poker Face (96% Syrah, 2.5% Mourvedre, and 1.5% Viognier) comes from the Eleven Confessions, White Hawk, Alban, Bien Nacido, and Alta Mesa vineyards. Boasting classic blackberry, creme de cassis, charcoal, acacia flower, and subtle background toasty oak notes, it possesses a fabulous texture, beautiful richness and purity, and a finish that lasts nearly a minute. It is a wine of enormous richness, multiple dimensions, and unreal purity. Although approachable, it benefits from several hours of decanting, and should evolve for 15 or more years. To reiterate, it is a challenge to analyze these wines. I know they are distinctive, and I think I am beginning to understand why they are so much greater than just about every other Syrah or Grenache-based wine in California. In short, it is talent and incredibly meticulous hard work. No one works as hard or is as maniacal about a vineyard’s viticulture and winemaking as Manfred Krankl. Take that, add in exceptional talent, humility, top-notch vineyards, and I believe I understand the fundamentals of why these wines are so special.
A big, bombastic wine, the 2004 Syrah Poker Face blasts across the palate with tons of pure density and pure volume. Dark raspberry jam, spices, mint and wild flowers lend complexity in a pliant, inviting Syrah. This is another exceptionally beautiful wine from Manfred and Elaine Krankl. The 2004 is 96% Syrah, with dollops of Mourvèdre and Viognier.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Glass-staining violet. The nose offers an exotic, room-filling array of black and blue fruits, fresh flowers, incense and minerals. Deep black raspberry and candied cherry flavors are complicated by smoked meat and graphite, with silky tannins adding support. Gains sweetness and weight with air, finishing with serious grip and expanding fruit. Remarkably deep and pure: a syrah with stunning clarity and great sex appeal.