100 points - limited
Limited new wine from cult producer Sine Qua Non. Perfect Score.
100 Points Robert Parker: "The 2016 Grenache Pajarito Del Amor is a single-vineyard wine—a barrel selection from the Eleven Confessions estate vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills. "This vineyard is by far our coolest," Manfred said. "Sometimes we don’t harvest this vineyard until November. The wines from here have a lot of structure and presence. The soil is a heavy clay, so the wines can be pretty muscular."
I asked Manfred what he considers when he is looking to make a single-vineyard expression. "I pick out the wines that can have longer barrel aging," he replied. "The wine has to be meaningfully dense and balanced. I try to make the selection early on, when the wines go into barrel, to decide which barrels they will go into. I take thicker barrels from Seguin Moreau so that the wine evolves longer and slower."
Indeed, this wine spent 38 months in barrel, which is amazing when you consider how vibrant and fresh this Grenache is, also knowing how easily Grenache can oxidize. Fifty-four percent of the wine was aged in large (600-liter) new French oak, while the remainder was aged in used vessels of various ages and sizes.
Composed of 85.4% Grenache, 7.1% Petite Sirah, 6.9% Syrah and 0.6% Viognier, employing 56% whole cluster, the nose of this opaque, garnet-purple colored uber-Grenache completely explodes with a candied violets, mandarin peel and Indian spices perfume, giving way to a core of bursting-ripe red berries—redcurrants, Morello cherries and raspberries—with an undercurrent of earth, earth and more sweet, fragrant earth. The numbers are telling me this is a full-bodied wine (16.9% alcohol), but the palate is deceptively ethereal, possessing more of a medium to full-bodied feel, thanks in part to bags of well-integrated freshness and fantastic harmony, with soft, silt-like tannins, finishing with loads of savory layers and a fragrant, floral breeze. Yowza, that's good. 916 cases, 228 magnums and 30 double magnums were made.
p.s. - I thought I had recognized the reference to "Pajarito del Amor", so I had a look in "The Art of Sine Qua Non", Manfred Krankl's book, and in the 2010 release section, there is this: "P.S.: Haven't given you a music recommendation for a long time. So maybe while you are placing your order you may want to have a little background music. Listen to the lovely Carla Morrison and her song, "Pajarito del Amor" (that little bird of love). For some reason it seems fitting."
Limited new white release from cult producer Sine Qua Non. SQN 2017 "Tectumque" White now available.
97 Points Robert Parker: "Tectumque means 'shelter' in Latin. This wine was initially going to be called 'Inconnue' ('unknown' in French), but that name had already been trademarked. Naming wines is becoming impossible,' mentioned Manfred. 'Everything has already been taken. Even, 'No Name!'-- This is a blend of 38% Roussanne, 31% Petit Manseng, 18% Chardonnay, 9% Viognier and 4% Muscat. The vineyard components are 52% Cumulus Estate, 19% Eleven Confessions Estate, 18% Bien Nacido Vineyard and 11% The Third Twin Estate. It spent around 20 months aging in 9% concrete eggs, 4% amphora, 9% used barrels and 78% new French oak puncheons."
94 Points Jeb Dunnuck: "Checking in as a blend of 38% Roussanne, 31% Petit Manseng, 18% Chardonnay, and the rest Viognier and Muscat, the 2017 White Wine Tectumque boasts a vivid gold hue as well as exotic notes of caramelized Meyer lemons, dried herbs, spice, and some distinct rocky, mineral-like nuances. With full-bodied richness and bright, racy acidity, this beautiful white is going to come together nicely with 2-3 years of bottle age. Give it plenty of air if drinking any time soon. "
100 points - limited
Limited new wine from cult producer Sine Qua Non.
99 Points Robert Parker: "The 2018 Grenache Profuga is composed of 77.5% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 8.3% Syrah, 3.3% Petite Sirah and 0.9% Viognier. The vineyard sources are 38% Cumulus Estate, 35% The Third Twin Estate, 23% Eleven Confessions Estate and 4% Bien Nacido Vineyard. Forty-one percent whole cluster was performed, predominately on the Grenache. The small proportion of Viognier was co-fermented with red grapes, but interestingly, because it ripens earlier than the reds, the white berries were frozen and added to the reds at the time of fermentation. As an added bonus, these frozen grapes help to cool and, therefore, slow the fermentation. The wine was aged for around 23 months in 37% new French oak, 57.8% used oak and 5.2% concrete...
...Deep garnet-purple in color, the wine does bedazzling pirouettes out of the glass with the most gorgeous rose oil, kirsch, licorice and fragrant earth scents, leading into a powerful core of black raspberries, redcurrant jelly and powdered cinnamon plus a waft of underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is incredibly fresh, elegant and polished, yet make no mistake—there is a lot of power and energy on the mid-palate. This is all beautifully framed by tightly knit, very finely grained tannins, and the finish holds this provocative, lingering siren’s note, delivering exotic spices and rose-laced accents. Beguiling. This wine was tasted as a tank sample to be bottled in two days, so this is pretty much “it.” With regard to name, according to Elaine and Manfred Krankl, Profuga is "the Latin female version of refugee, fugitive, deserter, exiled, eluding one's grasp."
"There are few greater success stories in wine than that of Sine Qua Non’s Manfred Krankl. Austrian-born and showing up penniless in Los Angeles in 1980, he went on to create one of the greatest wine estates in the world today by sheer talent and work ethic."