2003 Sine Qua Non "The Inaugural - Eleven Confessions" Syrah

SKU #1054972 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The mind-boggling 2003 The Inaugural Syrah is an emotional experience to taste as well as drink. Aged 38 ½ months in French oak, it was fashioned entirely from the Eleven Confessions Vineyard, which is planted with Syrah clones #470, 174, and the Estrella River and Alban field selections. This stunning Syrah boasts a magnificent bouquet of spring flowers, blueberries, blackberries, charcoal, licorice, and roasted meats. It hits the palate with remarkable intensity, purity, and full-bodied power, but it somehow manages to dance across the taste buds with the gracefulness of a ballerina. Awesomely long, I still tasted this wine 60 seconds after I had spit it out – no easy task, even for a professional. This majestic Syrah should be a modern day legacy for Sine Qua Non, ranking alongside the other stunning Syrahs they have produced, such as the two 2002 cuvees, Just For The Love Of It and Heart Chorea. This is a nuanced, complex wine, whereas the 2004 Poker Face is more exuberant and flamboyant. It should age beautifully for 10-15+ years.  (8/ 2007)

99 points Antonio Galloni

 The 2003 Syrah The Inaugural, the first wine off of Sine Qua Non's Eleven Confessions vineyard, is simply stunning. Dark, rich and magnificently layered in the glass, the Inaugural boasts captivating aromatics married to intense, voluptuous fruit, all backed up by the silkiest tannins imaginable. Hints of mocha, spice, leather and dried flowers meld into the super-expressive, lifted finish. There isn't much else left to say, except the Inaugural is magnificent.  (7/ 2014)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky ruby. Vibrant red and dark berry scents are deepened by black olive, floral oils, cassis and licorice. Even fresher on the palate, displaying sweet raspberry and blackcurrant flavors, with energetic mineral lift and great finishing cling. Very sexy stuff, performing a remarkable balancing act of power and finesse.  (12/ 2007)

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Price: $599.00

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Lucia Highlands