2002 Sine Qua Non "Just for the Love of It" Syrah

SKU #1014629 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A dead-ringer (at least aromatically) for Guigal’s single vineyard Cote Rotie La Mouline, the 2002 Just For The Love of It is the greatest California Syrah I have yet tasted. A one-thousand case blend of 96% Syrah, 2% Grenache, and 2% Viognier, it is nearly equal parts Alban, Bien Nacido, and Stolpman fruit with a small amount from both Shadow Canyon and White Hawk. It boasts a provocative perfume of creme de cassis, toast, blackberries, licorice, barbecue spice, and exotic floral scents. Extremely full-bodied, with fabulous intensity, great purity, awesome length, and a finish that lasts over a minute, this classic is a must purchase. Already accessible, it will drink well for 10-15 years. (RP)  (8/2004)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep ruby-red. Black fruits, orange peel, Tellicherry pepper, sandalwood incense and black walnut on the highly complex nose. Quite youthful, even a bit clenched, in the mouth, with extremely intense, juicy, peppery fruit and a lovely coolness that promises a long evolution in bottle. Compared to the lush grenache bottling, this comes across as somewhat rigid today, but it possesses superb underlying sappiness. Finishes with firm tannins and superb persistence. One of those rare wines that seem to grow darker with aeration. This should have a long and rewarding evolution in bottle and may ultimately merit an even higher score. (ST)  (2/2005)

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Price: $789.99
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- 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.

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.


- 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.