Sine Qua Non Raven Series Grenache 2006
Grenache from Central Coast, California
96-100 Points "The 2006 Grenache Raven Series (92% Grenache and 8% Syrah with 26% whole clusters) was aged in 43% new oak, including both small barrels and demi-muids. It is a slightly smaller production (880 cases) than the 2005 Atlantis Fe 203-2a. The 2006 Raven Series exhibits that chocolate character that very ripe Grenache can sometimes possess, along with black cherry and black currant notes. Full-bodied and seamlessly constructed, it offers hints of graphite, licorice, smoke, and meat. The chocolate component appears to be vintage specific as I have not noticed it in other SQN Grenache offerings. This beauty, a superb success in a challenging vintage, is another example of how intensive, radical work in the vineyard as well as meticulous attention to detail in both the vineyard and cellar can produce a prodigious wine in a less than stellar year." 96-100 Points,
The Wine Advocate - "2006 Ravens Series: This blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah, largely from the 11 Confessions Vineyard, with a small amount from Bien Nacido, spent 21 months in barrel. It is really strutting its stuff now, and showing even better than my original note predicted in August of 2009. The wine has loads of meat, licorice, smoke, charcoal and graphite, as well as huge peppery, blackberry and black cherry notes. Full-bodied, with great acidity, nicely integrated tannin, an admirable mouthfeel and tremendous length..."
Wine Spectator - "Deliciously complex, bold, rich and layered, with dark berry, plum, mocha and spice. Full-bodied and mouth-coating, this is dense without being heavy. Ends with a long, persistent finish."
International Wine Cellar - "Opaque violet. Complex bouquet of cassis, blueberry and pipe tobacco, complicated by smoky Indian spices and dried rose. Expansive and open-knit, offering sweet dark berry preserve flavors and complementary notes of candied flowers and fruitcake. The smoky element gains strength on the finish, which is long, energetic and refreshingly mineral-driven. This is remarkably lithe for such power; I underestimated its potential last year. Includes 94% estate fruit, vinified with 25% whole clusters."
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Sine Qua Non Winery
Sine Qua Non was created after the 1994 harvest of a Bien Nacido Syrah named “The Queen of Spades”. Winemaker Manfred Krankl feels strongly that each vintage is a completely unique wine and thus he gives each wine a unique name. He also creates the artwork for each new label himself. Previously, Manfred had made wines with Bryan Babcock and John Alban and still sources much of his fruit from Alban’s vineyard. The basic white wines have always been a white blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier and a red wine based on Syrah plus Grenache. Sometimes there are small quantities of Rose and a Grenache-based red.
Sine Qua Non has its own winemaking facility in Ventura, California not far from the Santa Barbara vineyards where the fruit is sourced from. In the last few years Manfred and his wife, Elaine, have begun creating their own vineyards dedicated to Rhone varietals. Their winemaking philosophy is to work in very small batches, gravity flow, natural yeasts (unless a fermentation problem is anticipated), long lees aging for the whites and repeated racking for the reds to open them up. This is a modified explanation of a very dedicated and artistic approach to winemaking. The wines are simultaneously very rich and elegant, superbly balanced and thoroughly harmonious with food, never overwhelming. View all Sine Qua Non Wines
About Central Coast
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Notable FactsGrape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.