One of the world’s iconic wineries, Sin Qua Non started with an incredible vision with their first release in 1994 as Manfred Krankl’s brainchild remains one of the most famed producers not only in the United States, but across the globe. Born in Austria, Manfred Krankl studied at the Hotel School in Gmunden, Austria and eventually moved to Los Angeles, California where he met his wife, Elaine. In 1989 Manfred became the wine director at Campanile and slowly began learning about winemaking. He first made wine from the 1990 vintage. He would later partner with wine legend John Alban until releasing his first wine, ‘The Queen of Spades’ in 1994 which was met with incredible critical acclaim.
Manfred and his wife now own 30 acres of estate vineyards and produce a massive range of wines, from Roussanne to Syrah to stunning dessert wines. Over the past year I have had ai chance to sit with several of these iconic wines (some enjoyed without tasting notes) and, like many others in the wine community, I am consistently amazed with the quality of the wines, regardless of vintage. A friend recently had me try the 2015 Sin Qua Non ‘Trouver l’arene’ Syrah (WWB, 99) which is up there with the best Syrah that I have ever had from this region. Massive, dense and seductive, this incredible wine is intense yet has incredible poise despite the heat of the vintage. Learn more about these very special wines at https://www.sinequanon.com Here are some of the Sin Qua Non wines that I have recently sampled.
2015 Sin Qua Non ‘Trouver l’arene’ Syrah- The stunning, profound and downright decadent ‘Trouver l’arene’ Syrah is an opulent blend of 80.5% Syrah, with 7% Petite Syrah, 7% Mourvèdre, 2% Grenache and 3.5% Viognier, which were sourced from their estate vineyards. The wine was aged in both neutral and new French oak for 22 months prior to bottling. On the nose this exudes class with sagebrush accents that collide with the blueberry pie, blackberry cordial and potpourri aromatics that all build steam in the glass. The texture to this wine exudes class. Ripe black cherry syrup, Turkish coffee, tar and leather with shades of sweetened licorice all impress on the palate. While a delight to savor in its youth, this stunning wine will evolve well over the next fifteen plus years. Drink 2019-2035- 99
2013 Sin Qua Non ‘Female’ Grenache- The 2013 Sin Qua Non ‘Female’ Grenache is sinfully good following a little time in the bottle. The wine has 19% Syrah blended in with just a touch of Mourvedre, as the ‘Female’ was largely sourced from their Eleven Confessions estate vineyard, located in Sta. Rita Hills AVA. On the nose there is wonderful underbrush undertones that collide with chocolate covered raspberry and shades of pomegranate puree that all continue to impress in the glass. The palate is silky smooth, delivering a soft and satisfying mouthfeel. Red raspberry cordial, lavender, red cherry pie and exotic spices all build momentum on the palate. A delight to savor in its youth, this beautiful wine will cellar well for decades. Drink 2019-2035- 97
2006 Sin Qua Non ‘Mr. K Nobleman’ Chardonnay Dessert Wine (.375 L)- The ‘Mr. K Nobleman’ Chardonnay weighs in at a whopping 200 grams per liter of sugar. Once aroused, the wine slowly unveils intense tropical fruit aromatics that mingle with shades of vanilla creme brûlée and toffee. Unctuous and soft, the wine shows off its unctuous, fleshy texture. The ‘Mr. K Nobleman’ is quite bright once on the mouth, with candied ginger, apricot jelly and shades of honeyed banana and ripe pineapple accents here. Am I really tasting Chardonnay? This unique and vibrant wine still has many years left in the bottle but is fantastic at the thirteen year mark. Drink 2019-2035- 95