Overview of the Wine
Sine Qua Non was created after the 1994 harvest of a Bien Nacido Syrah named “The Queen of Spades”. Winemaker Manfred Krankl feels strongly that each vintage is a completely unique wine and thus he gives each wine a unique name. He also creates the artwork for each new label himself. Previously, Manfred had made wines with Bryan Babcock and John Alban and still sources much of his fruit from Alban’s vineyard. The basic white wines have always been a white blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier and a red wine based on Syrah plus Grenache. Sometimes there are small quantities of Rose and a Grenache-based red.
Sine Qua Non has its own winemaking facility in Ventura, California not far from the Santa Barbara vineyards where the fruit is sourced from. In the last few years Manfred and his wife, Elaine, have begun creating their own vineyards dedicated to Rhone varietals. Their winemaking philosophy is to work in very small batches, gravity flow, natural yeasts (unless a fermentation problem is anticipated), long lees aging for the whites and repeated racking for the reds to open them up. This is a modified explanation of a very dedicated and artistic approach to winemaking. The wines are simultaneously very rich and elegant, superbly balanced and thoroughly harmonious with food, never overwhelming.
Grape / Blend
Syrah: 88% Syrah, a little Grenache
Central Coast, California
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
It's a "majesty" - a bit hyperbolic I guess, but let me tell you...it fits. It is Cary Grant on steroids. Still all class and suave manner, but with great strength and muscle under that starched white tuxedo shirt. It is a Cuvee of 88% Syrah, a little Grenache...namely 7.6%, some .3% Petite Sirah and 1.4% Viognier for lift and high tones... Very, very dark color, but not obscene. A sort of black burgundy color (does that even exist?). Quite open and giving, behaving almost like a bruising Grenache with its generous and welcoming demeanor. There are notes of a richly ripe, black and blue fruit compote, but also with some dried tobacco leaves and faint candied orange peel. The wine is large scaled and rather broad and lush as all get-out. THAT is the word - LUSH. In the mouth it his leathery smooth and I am talking "Corinthian Leather", not some folded satchel fake. There is gently stroking hands. It keeps coming your way and never holds back. The tannins are supremely rich and plentiful, but delightfully polished and elegant. A great partner with the Grenache. Easy to see the family resemblance.
100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Syrah Eleven Confessions Vineyard is the wine of the vintage, and Syrah simply doesn’t get any better. Even in these more difficult vintages, I’m always amazed at what this estate is able to achieve. Dense purple-hued, with an incredible bouquet of sandalwood, dried flowers, incense, saddle leather, and assorted red and blue fruits, it hits the palate with flawless balance, a deep, full-bodied, concentrated mouthfeel, and a heavenly finish. It shows a more up-front, exuberant, sexy style, yet there’s still ample underlying structure and depth. Reminding me of Guigal’s Côte Rôtie La Mouline (maybe amped up just slightly), drink it over the coming 15-20 years. It’s worth pointing out that due to the difficulty in trademarking names today, the longer aged, 100% Eleven Confessions Vineyard Syrah and Grenache will simply bear the name “Eleven Confessions Vineyard” going forward.
98 Points - Vinous
The 2017 Syrah Eleven Confessions Vineyard is a bold, racy wine. Layers of deep, dark fruit build as the 2017 shows off its curves. The purity of the flavors is breathtaking. The 2017 was done with 29% whole clusters and aged in a combination of 59% new oak, 30% concrete and 11% neutral oak. It is a stunning wine in every way.
Product size: 750ml