This is a breathtaking set of wines from Sine Qua Non and Manfred Krankl. It's hard to say precisely to what degree a greater reliance on estate owned vineyards, generally cooler growing seasons over the last few years and a reduction in new oak are shaping these wines, but the bottom line is that Krankl is coaxing fruit of incomparable elegance from the sites he works with. The silkiness and polish of the tannins is breathtaking. I also had a chance to see numerous estate vineyards during my visit with Krankl and Cellar Master Jim Binns including the Cumulus vineyard that informs Krankl's newest project, Next of Kyn, which is reviewed separately. That said, there are fewer more perfect matches than Grenache and Syrah as farmed by Krankl in the Eleven Confessions vineyard, which is located in the Santa Rita Hills, one of the cooler spots in California's Central Coast. The wines that emerge from this site are often profound. The sheer drive for perfection and attention to detail at Sine Qua Non is something I have rarely witnessed anywhere else in the world.
The Wine Advocate"The 2008 Syrah B-20 is a cool, inward wine graced with layers of beautifully delineated, chiseled fruit. This is a distinctly mineral, precise style relative to the more outgoing 2009, but both are striking. Floral notes add lift as the finish turns explosive with a burst of dark fruit, tar, licorice and crushed rocks. This is one of the more understated wines readers are likely to come across from Sine Qua Non. It is gorgeous when given the time to open up. The B-20 is predominantly Syrah, with 6% Grenache and 2% Viognier. About half of the Grenache was fermented with whole clusters and the wine was aged in French oak (60% new) for 26 months. The vineyard sources are 52% Eleven Confessions, 18% Cumulus, 18% Bien Nacido and 12% White Hawk. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023."
International Wine CellarGlass-staining purple. Highly aromatic nose combines blackberry, cassis, violet, truffle, graphite and cola, with a strong note of cracked pepper. Juicy, precise and shockingly delicate for a big boy (15.5% alcohol), with intense flavors of dark berry compote and candied violet. This has both weight, silkiness, and a strong, energizing core of minerality. Very suave on the back end, finishing with very suave tannins and superb lift.
Wine SpectatorFresh, rich and vibrant, with a medley of cranberry, spice, pepper, wild berry, blueberry and mineral notes. Full-bodied and supple in texture, ending with game meat and dried berry flavors supported by firm, spicy tannins. Drink now through 2020. 1,320 cases made.
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