Varietal: Syrah Region: California Country: United States
ABOUT SINE QUA NON:
Manfred Krankl founded Sine Qua Non in 1994, working in California’s south central coast and Santa Barbara County regions, ground zero for the emerging “Rhône Ranger” scene. He was helped by friends such as Adam Tolmach at Ojai Vineyard and John Alban of Alban Vineyards, and bought grapes from Alban as well as Stolpman, Bien Nacido, Shadow Canyon and White Hawk Vineyards but has since started developing vineyards owned by he and his wife, Elaine, dedicated to Rhone varietals. His estate vineyards include Cumulus Vineyard in Ventura County, 11 Confessions Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, as well as his property in Alisos Canyon. The white wines have always been a blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier and the red wines Syrah and Grenache. Sometimes he produces small amounts of Rose.
Sine Qua Non's winery facility is in Ventura, California. As winemaker, Krankl treats each vintage as a completely unique wine which is why he gives each wine a unique name. He also personally creates the artwork for each new label. His meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, both in the vineyard and in the winery, have been increasingly noticeable in the mid to late 2000's when he seemed to hit full stride. Manfred has turned out successful vintage after vintage and with each amazing vintage comes equally incredible and expressive label artwork and meticulously crafted wood wine boxes.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 100 points
"The recently released 2004 Poker Face (96% Syrah, 2.5% Mourvedre, and 1.5% Viognier) comes from the Eleven Confessions, White Hawk, Alban, Bien Nacido, and Alta Mesa vineyards. Boasting classic blackberry, creme de cassis, charcoal, acacia flower, and subtle background toasty oak notes, it possesses a fabulous texture, beautiful richness and purity, and a finish that lasts nearly a minute. It is a wine of enormous richness, multiple dimensions, and unreal purity. Although approachable, it benefits from several hours of decanting, and should evolve for 15 or more years." (August 2007)
"To reiterate, it is a challenge to analyze these wines. I know they are distinctive, and I think I am beginning to understand why they are so much greater than just about every other Syrah or Grenache-based wine in California. In short, it is talent and incredibly meticulous hard work. No one works as hard or is as maniacal about a vineyard’s viticulture and winemaking as Manfred Krankl. Take that, add in exceptional talent, humility, top-notch vineyards, and I believe I understand the fundamentals of why these wines are so special. "
Antonio Galloni's Vinous - 96 points
"The 2004 Syrah Poker Face remains deep, inky and powerful, even at eleven years of age. A host of black cherry, chocolate, licorice and smoke meld together in this dark, voluptuous Syrah. As good as the 2004 is, it's also quite clear just how far Sine Qua Non has come since the Poker Face was made. The blend is 96% Syrah, with drops of Mourvèdre and Viognier. Vineyard sources are 33% Eleven Confessions, 27% White Hawk, 22% Alban, 16% Bien Nacido and 3% Alta Mesa." (August 2015)