2003 Sine Qua Non Syrah Papa Central Coast Wine Tasting Note

2003 Sine Qua Non Syrah Papa  (Central Coast) 98

This has really calmed down and morphed into a beauty. The wine reminds me of a very, ripe vintage of Cote Rotie, with its silky tannins, soft, sweet, ripe, red and boysenberry fruits, concentration and crushed rock character. Powerful, but refined, concentrated and balanced, this has a lot to offer today.

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"Papa" wants to know, "Who's your daddy now?" The only answer possible is, "You are!" Intense layers of fat, ripe, juicy dark berries, smoke, espresso bean, blueberry, truffles and spice, what's not to like? With so much weight, it's amazing to experience equal amounts of finesse and precision. The mouth feel combines hedonism with polish. The label like all of Manfred Krankl's is a work of art dedicated to his father. The chocolate covered blue and black fruit finish remains on your palate for close to sixty seconds! This is drinking at perfection today. The only reason this does not hit triple digits is, as hard as it is to believe, Inaugural and a few other vintages of Sine Qua Non are even better!

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Sine Qua Non Grapes1 Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

Sine Qua Non Grapes 300x257 Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

Everything about Sine Qua Non Santa Barbara, Central Coast California, Rhone, Grape varietal, wine producer profile, wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, history of the property, information on their wine making techniques, terroir and soil. You can also read about the Grapes used for California wine and learn about the extensive History of Napa Valley, California Wines

Sine Qua Non History, Overview

Manfred Krankl was born in Austria. Following an education capped by a degree from the Hotel School in Gmunden, Austria, in 1980, Manfred Krankl moved and settled in Los Angeles, California where he met his future wife and partner Elaine.

In Los Angeles, Manfred Krankl worked a myriad of jobs before starting his tenure as the director of wines at Campanile in 1989. At the same time, Manfred Krankl began conducting his first experiments as a wine maker. His initial efforts were produced in partnership with other, younger, but already established efforts. The first two releases were from the 1990 vintage.

There was a Chardonnay produced with the help of Bryan Babcock of Babcock vineyards called The Thief and a wine made exclusively for Campanile from Italian grape varieties called “Terzetto, ” which translated into the trio, for the three varietals, due to the blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Barbera and 20% Freisa. This was followed by a release in partnership with Havens Cellars.

“Black and Blue,” a wine produced from a blend of 55% Syrah and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. From that point forward, Manfred Krankl became devoted to Rhone varietals. His next two releases were in partnership with John Alban of Alban Vineyards, “Roussanne is Coming” made from 100% Roussanne and finally the 1995 “Tant Pis!” also made in conjunction with John Alban from 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah.

Sine Qua Non was officially founded in 1994, by Manfred and Elaine Krankl, within a few years, Sine Qua Non began making the benchmark wines for Rhone wine varietals produced in California. 

The first official release from Sine Qua Non, "1994 Queen of Spades" is one of the most collectible and expensive wines made in the history of California. Produced from 100% Syrah, a whopping 100 cases were produced. However, a small amount of bottles and even a few magnums were hand painted and distributed randomly by Manfred Krankl and Sine Qua Non. According to Manfred Krankl, the name Queen of Spades came from the wine, he saw as majestic and feminine, thus, The Queen of Spades was born. From that day forward, there was no looking back for Sine Qua Non or Manfred Krankl and Elaine Krankl. At the time, in their formative years, they made their wine in the cellars of Alban vineyards. By 1997, they had expanded their output, necessitating their own winery. They built the original Sine Qua Non winery in Ventura, California, just a bit south, of where they had been making wine,

In some years, other wineries might produce a better Syrah or Grenache than Sine Qua Non, but there is no competition when it comes to consistency. Once past consistency, there is no winery on earth that competes with what Manfred and Elaine Krankl have done at Sine Qua Non for creativity. Since 1990, Manfred Krankl has produced unique wines in every vintage he has produced before and after creating Sine Qua Non.

Not only do all of the wines have different blends year after year, but each wine has a unique name, label and bottle shape. The wine and the bottles are hand crafted works of art. Like Rod Stewart said, "Every Picture Tells s Story." With that in mind, it's easy to understand why Manfred Krankl and the wines of Sine Qua Non are known for more than just the quality of the wine in the bottle. Each label was created and designed by Manfred Krankl. All the wines made before he started Sine Qua Non were also designed and created by Manfred Krankl. Manfred Krankl has stated as each wine has a unique personality, so should its label. This wonderful tradition of never repeating a label, bottle shape or blend has continued to this day, making Sine Qua Non a truly unique wine and winery every year.

Sine Qua Non Manfred Krankl 300x224 Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

When Manfred and Elaine Krankl first started Sine Qua Non, the wines were produced from a variety of sources, including the famed Alban vineyards. Today, with almost 30 acres under vine, they are slowly moving to producing wine from their own vineyards. Much of their plantings are located in Santa Rita as well as in Ventura county.

Sine Qua Non is a wine many Rhone wine fans claim is an essential element in their cellar. Some collectors say the wines are indispensable. This makes sense when you consider that Sine Qua Non is an archaic, Latin legal term which is loosely translated into an essential action, condition, or ingredient, that without which, something cannot be. This is clearly the case because Sine Qua Non holds the record for the highest price paid for a single bottle of a contemporary wine as well as for the most expensive bottle of California wine.

In May, 2014, one bottle of the 1995 "Queen of Hearts," a rose' wine sold at an auction for the astronomical sum of $37,200! That price is even more incredible when you consider the buyer also paid a buyers commission bring the total to almost $45,000 for one bottle of wine! That amazing record was soon broke when a second bottle was sold a few short weeks later for 58,075, smashing the previous record! Not much of this was produced. In fact only one barrel of wine was made, which yielded a whopping 25 cases. The wine was sold directly to some very lucky customers on the Sine Qua Non mailing list.

Queen of Hearts Sine Qua Non Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

Following the record setting price for both bottles in Sine Qua Non rose' wine, as only Manfred Krankl can and would do, as a bonus to his mailing list customers, in the next release for Sine Qua Non, Krankl offered the 2013 rose' "And an Eight Track' for the grand sum of one cent! That's right. You read it correctly. Customers taking their full order were offered the rose' for just one penny. That is only one example of why Elaine and Manfred Krankl are such class acts.

Sine Quq Non Vineyards, Wines, Winemaking

Sine Qua Non produces wines from white and red Rhone wine varietals that are typically grown in Chateauneuf du Pape and Cote Rotie. Krankl discontinued their Pinot Noir program with the aptly named “Over and Out.” While most Sine Qua Non Syrah Syrah and Grenache bottling’s see 18-24 months in oak, Krankl began a program of making some wines that see extended aging in new oak. This is similar to what Guigal does with their legendary Cote Rotie wines, La Mouline, La Landonne and La Turque. Those see between 36 and over 40 months in 100% new oak barrels. The majority of the Sine Qua Non production is sold through a mailing list with a wait list of several thousand thirsty fans.

Sine Qua Non has used a variety of vineyard sources over the years, mostly from the Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Rita Hills. In their formative years, Sine Qua Non entered into farming contracts and purchased grapes. Today, much of their fruit comes from their own vines planted in the Santa Rita Hills Appellation. In 2001, they planted their 22 acre vineyard, named Eleven Confessions Vineyard to 10 acres of Syrah, 8 acres of Grenache, 3 acres of Roussanne and 1 acre of Viognier. The Eleven Confessions vineyard is well situated in the Santa Rita Hills, just north of Santa Barbara, not too far from Buellton.

Manfred Krankl introduced a new wine with the 2007 vintage, Next of Kyn. In fact, according to Manfred Krankl, the name was picked because they feel it shares a close relationship to Sine Qua Non, and thus, it is the Next of Kyn to Sine Qua Non. Most of the fruit used for Next of Kyn is sourced from their Cumulus vineyard in Santa Rita, Eleven Confessions. Some of the fruit might also come from vines planted in Bien Nacido and the White Hawk vineyard where Sine Qua Non sill has contracts with various growers.

The vines used for Next of Kyn were originally planted in 2004. The vineyard is planted to Syrah, Grenache and Roussanne. The vineyard has clay, loam and limestone soils. The planting is a dense, 3,960 vines per acre or 9,785 vines per hectare. The wine is aged in French, oak barrels that vary in age. The wine is sold in a massive, custom, amazing wood box that contains 3 bottles and a magnum. Not much Next of Kyn is made. The wines are severely allocated and are sold to a small list of customers. Only 300 sets were sold for the first few vintages. From that point forward, production was increased, but Next of Kyn remains quite difficult to find.

Hold on to your hats for this one. Starting with the 2012 vintage, Sine Qua Non entered the Petite Sirah sweepstakes when they released a Petite Sirah and Viognier blend called "The Writing on The Wall!" Surely, this instant collectible will be the most expensive Petite Sirah wine ever produced. More importantly, it's a wine I cannot wait to taste! The Petite Sirah from Sine Qua Non, "The Writing on the Wall" is only available in magnum. The bottles come in a stunning, bamboo wood, boxed set with a signed and numbered copy of "The Art of Sine Qua Non." 350 signed and numbered copies were offered to long time customers of the Sine Qua Non mailing list program. The 250 page book is a stunner featuring a complete history of Sine Qua Non and images of every Sine Qua Non label and news letter.

After Manfred Krankl decided to produce Petite Sirah, their next move came in 2009 with the purchase of a 2 acre vineyard in Tepusquet Canyon called Molly Aida. In 2010 Manfred and Elaine Krankl bought a vineyard with 15 acres of vines close to Los Alamos called The Third Twin, which is located in the northern part of Santa Barbara. Since their initial purchase of the Third Twin, they have added at least another 11 acres of vines. With the 2012 vintage, Sine Qua Non began producing their first 100% Chardonnay white wine. However, while this is the first Chardonnay for Sine Qua Non, it was not the debut for Manfred Krankl, as far as producing Chardonnay. In 1990, Manfred Krankl produced a small amount of Chardonnay, (About 225 cases) with Bryan Babcock called "Thief." The label was designed by Manfred as well.

The debut Chardonnay from Sine Qua Non is labeled "Pearl Clutcher." The fruit for Pearl Clutcher comes the Bien Nacido vineyard. The wine is aged in 92%, new French oak barrels for 19 months before bottling. Not much Pearl Clutcher was produced, in total only 50 cases were made. Pearl Clutcher is in so much demand, single bottles are already being sold for more than $2,000 per bottle!

Pearl Clutcher 290x300 Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

For an overview of the vineyards owned and used by Manfred and Elaine Krankl for Sine Qua Non and Next of Kyn...

Eleven Confessions is located in Santa Rita Hills. Eleven Confessions was the first vineyard purchased by Manfred Krankl and in the beginning, the fruit was placed into different bottlings. Today, the Eleven Confessions vineyard is the source for fruit used for the extended aging bottles.

Cumulus Vineyards, which is considered their home vineyard is situated in Oak View in Ojai California. Cumulus is the source of fruit used to produce the Next of Kyn wines. Although fruit from Cumulus is also used for the production of other Sine Qua Non wines as well. Cumulus Vineyards is a special place, because it is where Manfred Krankl and Elaine Krankl call home. This is also where the winery is located.

Starting with the 2014 vintage, Sine Qua Non added a new, and unusual wine to their lineup, "The Third Twin Graciano." The wine is produced from a blend of 90% Graciano and 10% Mourvedre. The fruit is from vines planted in the Third Twin Vineyard located in Los Alamos. The vines for this seldom seen grape variety were planted in mostly sandy soils in 2011. The grapes are completely destemmed. The wine is aged in neutral, used, French oak barrels for between 26-28 months before bottling. Very little Graciano is produced. The debut vintage yielded close to a whopping 65 cases of wine. Sine Qua Non, "The Third Twin Graciano" will be sold exclusively to mailing list customers.

The Third Twin vineyards are well placed in Los Alamos on Alisis Canyon Road.

Molly Aida vineyard is located in Tepusquet Canyon in the Santa Maria area.

According to Manfred Krankl, "Fruit from each of these vineyards is used in varying combinations from year to year to make the Sine Qua Non wines. I just use any sort of fruit combination, vineyard source to make the best wine I think we can make. I got myself a certain fool's freedom I guess."

Their vineyards are more than a place for growing grapes. It is also quite the pet menagerie. Depending on where you are, you can easily find horses, cows, turkeys, donkeys, cats and dogs.

Manfred Krankl is also producing wine in The Rhone Valley in the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation called Chimere with Philippe Cambie, the most famous consultant in the Southern Rhone. The wine is produced at Clos Saint Jean. Chimere made its debut vintage in 2010. The majority of Chimere will be sold via a mailing list, similar to the practice of Sine Qua Non. So far, this very small production wine is only available in magnum. So far, Chimere has only been produced in 3 vintages, 2010, 2012 and 2015.

In incredibly sad, and scary news, Manfred Krankl was involved in a severe motorcycle accident, Septemeber 2014. He is expected to slowly make a full recovery.

Serving and Decanting Sine Qua Non with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Sine Qua Non wines are best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages of their red wine can be decanted for 1-4 hours, depending on the character of the vintage. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Sine Qua Non wines can be enjoyed in their youth, due the lusciously, textured fruits, ripe tannins and forward style. But don't let that fool you, as the wines can age for years as well.

The red wine of Sine Qua Non is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, ribs, hamburgers, barbecue, roasted, braised, grilled dishes and stews. Aubert is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.

The white wine of Sine Qua Non is best served with all types of seafood and shellfish, sushi, sashimi, chicken, veal, pork and cheese.

The style of Sine Qua Non wine at its best is, rich, full bodied, ripe, concentrated, mouth filling, decadent and opulent. The texture can be akin to liquid silk with the density of motor oil. The wine is stunning young and with bottle age. There is nothing out there like it. The wine, due to its style has its detractors. But I love it!!!

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