February 7, 2007 - Jack
Wine Blogging Wednesday #30

This month's theme is New World Syrah.
It is hosted by Tim at WineCast.
The round-up is forthcoming.

1997 Sine Qua Non Imposter McCoy

Our wine this month is:

1997 Sine Qua Non Imposter McCoy

Sine Qua Non is a tiny winery which was started back in 1994 by Manfred and Elaine Krankl. From nowhere, the winery has risen to be one of the top (if not the top) Syrah producers in the USA (especially if you go by prices and Robert Parker scores). Due to the tiny quantities of wine made and the recent 98-100 point scores for their Syrahs, Sine Qua Non is now unquestionably regarded as a "California Cult" wine producer.

Sine Qua NonSine Qua Non is also quite famous for it's wine names, label artwork and bottle shapes. Each label features artwork by Manfred.

Sine Qua Non LetterAbout this wine: To quote Manfred Krankl from the original offering:

"It is made from predominantely Syrah with a dash of Grenache - like the Grenadine is a good Papa Doble. The fruit sources are, as always, Alban, Bien Nacido and Stolpman vineyards. The wine was kept in barrels - a large proportion of which were new - for some 9teen months and it was never pumped (and we mean NEVER), never fined and never filtered."
Sine Qua Non Letter - back
These mailings offers are always fun to read. We've reproduced the rest of this one here to give you an idea.

Joanne's tasting notes: Nose of Kirsch with a hint of tobacco and crushed cherries. Alcohol ever-present in mid-notes. Center of supple leather, tobacco and bitter dark cherry. Acids bite slightly on the finish. The finish has an liquer-like slightly woodsy element which reminds me of a single-malt scotch. Slight smokeyness on the finish. Body is medium. There is no extra weight or heaviness present in this wine. Second day: Nose of violets and almond paste or marzipan. Tobacco and leather but more cherry this second day and less bitterness, still a hint of the "whiskey" element on the finish.

Jack's tasting notes: Initially presents itself as a Barossa shiraz, but then softens a bit, making you wonder. Still quite brassy on day one, but it smooths out just a bit on day two, hiding it's 15.3% alcohol better. This is a very nice, smooth wine with the right amount of acids. Medium-length finish (was shorter on day one). Nose is still not very expressive. This wine has many years of life left. Day 3 it is even smoother, making me want to open the next bottle in 6-8 years.

A note about the future of Sine Qua Non: In a recent interview on Grape Radio, Manfred Krankl stated that the goal is for Sine Qua Non to be 100% estate-grown wines. The new estate vineyards are planted as follows: the larger one, Eleven Confessions, consists of 10 acres of Syrah, 8 acres of Grenache, 3 acres of Roussane and 1 acre of Viognier. A second, 6-acre vineyard is comprised of 2.5 acres of Syrah, 2.5 of Grenache, 1 Roussane, with an nearby acre of Viognier.

1997 Sine Qua Non Imposter McCoy

1997 Sine Qua Non Imposter McCoy Back Label

Wine Data:
95% Syrah, 5% Grenache

46% Alban Vyd
35% Stolpman Vyd
19% Bien Nacido Vyd

85% in new oak (81% Fr.)

Production: 529 cases

Released: Spring, 2000
How to acquire this wine: Know a friend who has a bottle who will share, pay $400 here, or buy it at auction for more than $250. (We purchased it directly from the winery upon release for $59.)

Mailing List: To get on the waiting list, you can phone (805) 649-8901 for instructions. There is no website.

A complete list of Sine Qua Non wines can be found on CellarTracker. As you can see, every wine has a unique name and label except for the 'Mr. K' dessert wines (in partnership with Austria's Alois Kracher).

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