2005 Sine Qua Non "17th Nail In My Cranium" Sta. Rita Hills Syrah (1.5L)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
In addition to these new releases, I was also able to taste through a number of older vintages, including the 2001 Albino, 2006 Hoodoo Man, 2003 The Inaugural, 2004 Ode to E, 1998 E Raised, 2001 On Your Toes, 2005 Nail in My Cranium and 2007 Syrah Dangerous Birds. To say I came away impressed would be an understatement. Anyone who claims this big, rich style can't age, needs to taste these wines. I opted to just list my scores for the older releases as I find Bob-s initial write-ups spot on. About as good as it gets across the board, these singular, incredible wines are the result of an obsessive attention to detail at all stages of the wine making process. There is no secret or hidden magic going on here. The incredibly talented and down-to-earth Manfred Krankl simply walks the walk as opposed to only talking about attention to detail or offering up the standard, wine is made in the vineyard comments. (JD)
***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. Drink now through 2018. 398 cases made. (JL)
(includes 3.5% viognier; 38 months in barrels) 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. (JR)
Sine Qua Non is one of California's most famous wine producers. Based just north of Los Angeles in Ventura County, and with most of its vineyards in Santa Barbara, it eschews the usual image of top California wine as being only from Napa Valley. That is not the only thing eschewed at Sine Qua Non – the same wine is rarely made more than once, turning the idea of the American icon wine on its head. The "cult winery" specializes in Rhône grape varieties, with most of the red wines based on Syrah and Grenache. White wines are typically based on Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier and are also modeled after Rhône wines.