Sine Qua Non Just For The Love of It 2002 0,75
Robert Parker 100PA 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.
Sine Qua Non Upside Down Grenache 2009 0,75
Robert Parker 96+The 2009 Grenache Upside Down emerges from the glass with layers of dark red fruit as it sweeps across the palate. There is an inner sweetness and sheer depth that make the 2009 compelling. The 11% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre make themselves heard clearly in adding layers of depth and pure richness. Tar, anise and graphite meld together on the rich, dramatic finish. This is a striking wine endowed with tons of pure textural dimension. The 2009 was sourced from Eleven Confessions (72%), Cumulus (22%) and Bien Nacido (6%) vineyards. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2021.
Manfred Krankl calls 2011 the most consistently cold year he has ever seen from start to finish, although he adds that every year since 2008 has been cooler than normal. Unlike 2010, there were no heat spikes or even hot days in 2011. A bit of frost in April reduced tiny yields even more, but in retrospect that was a saving grace, as a full crop might never have ripened under the conditions of the year. Vintage 2010 was marked by a late frost that mostly affected Grenache by reducing yields. The rest of the vintage saw quite a bit of rain along with heat spikes during the summer, which produced big, bold wines. Krankl describes 2009 as a vintage that was shaping up to be great, until the rains arrived at the end of the growing season. With one exception, the 2009s are just as sexy and silky as they were last year. Unfortunately, the 2009 Syrah Estate No Name as of Yet was in no mood to be evaluated, so I will have to wait for another opportunity to taste it. In addition to these wines, I also tasted about a dozen library wines that reconfirmed my opinion, stated last year, that the Sine Qua Non wines have gained in elegance and refinement with the gradual move towards estate-owned vineyards. Sine Qua Non fans will find a lot to get excited about with these current and upcoming releases. I also urge readers to check out Manfred and Elaine Krankl’s newest project, Next of Kyn, also reviewed in these pages, and Sine Qua Non’s new website, which gives consumers a rare look at one of this country’s most compelling estates.