2003 Sine Qua Non Syrah Papa Central Coast Wine Tasting Note
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!
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!!!