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. "
98 points - limited
Limited new wine from cult producer Sine Qua Non.
96 Points Robert Parker: "The 2016 Grenache Dirt Vernacular wafts from the glass with heady aromas of kirsch, plums and Griotte cherries that mingle with nuances of sweet spice, rose petals and pepper. It saw 34% new oak (along with 53% used oak and 9% concrete), but it's hardly noticeable—much less so than in some of Sine Qua Non's debut Grenache bottlings. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and chewy, with tangy acids despite its considerable power and ripeness, with a deep, layered mid-palate and a long, lusty finish. It's an eclectic blend of 78% Grenache, 11.5% Mourvèdre, 7% Touriga Nacional and 2.5% Petite Sirah that was fermented with 43% whole cluster—whole cluster being largely reserved for the Grenache component. The blend is dominated by estate fruit, but some 9% came from the Krankl's blocks at Bien Nacido Vineyard that are farmed to their specifications."
"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."