2005 Sine Qua Non "17th Nail In My Cranium" Sta. Rita Hills Syrah

SKU #1054977 100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2005 Syrah The 17th Nail In My Cranium, a blend of 96.5% Syrah and 3.5% Viognier which is aged 38 months prior to bottling. (I always wonder what Marcel Guigal would think of a wine like this which seems to tip its hat in the direction of Cote Rotie and then goes into high gear and clearly says, "I’m just something very different, but thanks for even thinking of that appellation while smelling and tasting me.") Black as a moonless night, the 2005 17th Nail reveals a stunning nose of spring flowers intermixed with creme de cassis, blackberries, charcoal, graphite, and hints of lard and barbecue spices. Dense, with an endless (and I mean endless) finish, remarkable purity, and layer upon layer of flavor, but no sense of heaviness or flabbiness, this prodigious Syrah should evolve for 15 or more years. (RP, 2009) Tasted again by Jeb Dunnuck in 2013: "I opted to just list my scores for the older releases as I find Bob-s initial write-ups spot on." (JD)  (8/2013)

98 points Wine Spectator

 *Collectibles* Fantastic spice aromas lead to notes of fresh ground black pepper, beef carpaccio, rich blackberry and roasted coffee, giving this an exotic mix of flavors. Dense, concentrated, structured and tightly focused, striking a balance between the broad array of flavors and the firm tannins.  (2/2010)

97 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Glass-staining purple. Hypnotic bouquet of blackberry, boysenberry, black pepper, olive tapenade and smoked meat, with a strong note of potpourri gaining with aeration. Deep, sweet and remarkably pure, offering broad dark berry and cherry compote flavors, with exotic floral and spice notes adding complexity. Becomes chewier on the finish but yields none of its sweet, palate-saturating fruit.  (12/2009)

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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 Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.