2005 Sine Qua Non "The 17th Nail in My Cranium" Sta. Rita Hills Syrah
Buckle your chinstraps folks because tonight we’re headed to the wine world equivalent of the summit of Mt. Everest. The absolute pinnacle in the Universe of wine for yours truly. The “it just don’t get any better than this” moment as far as grapes are concerned. Let me begin first with the name of this magic elixir. If memory serves, it was derived from a combination of the fact that this was the 17th Syrah produced in the Garage d’Or otherwise known as Sine Qua Non, and, in that same year, Manfred was felled by a rogue barrel requiring several staples to close the gash to his cranium, hence... "The 17th Nail in My Cranium"
The wine is a blend of 96.5% Syrah and 3.5% Viognier which was aged 38+ months prior to bottling. % alcohol. 4 hour decant at cellar temperature. Achromatic Raven black motor oil in my Zalto. Undoubtedly, the wines I find most compelling are of the “swirl, sniff and contemplate” variety, and this one might just set the benchmark. Explosive aromatic potpourri of blackberry jam, roasted coffee, fresh ground black pepper, graphite and spice with a faint floral arrangement lurking somewhere in the background. On the palate, sweet cherry compote and black currant with undertones of roasted game and black olives. A big, full bodied wine that’s light on its feet. A tightrope walker. A powerhouse with impeccable manners. Elegant and lithesome. A ballet dancer. Mikhail Nikolayevich Baryshnikov in his prime. Complex, with layers of flavors in beautiful, perfect harmony. Crosby, Stills & Nash singing “Suite Judy Blue Eyes.” The Beach Boys, “Good Vibrations.” Perfect balance. Pure, silky mouth feel. Immeasurable finish. And I mean that literally, as in it just continues on and on. Just utter perfection. A wine that is in fact so entirely perfect as to eliminate the need for a search for an alternative. The last word. To paraphrase The Bard, this wine “might (just) be the be-all and the end-all.”
— 16 days ago
Hadn’t tried this in a while and been letting some bottles rest on the rack. Really enjoyed this more as more earthy flavors came through along with deeper and darker berry tones on the front but still not over powering. Worth having and worth sticking a bottle to rest for another 1-2 years to see how if it matures even more. — 10 days ago
Pali Wine Company Rancho Vina Vineyard. Aged 15 months in 50% new oak. Just feels like a PN day.
Pale ruby (touch darker)in color. Floral, approachable nose. Black plum, black cherry, cranberries, baking spices, vanilla. Nice background of acidity. Drink in the next 4/5 years. Decant for 30 minutes. Edit- The acidity subsides after an hour. The fruit moves forward on the palate. Very nice.
This label has taking it up a notch. Top to bottom, wines are quite good.
— 10 days ago
This is clearly intended to portray a Burgundian profile. And it largely succeeds. The Chablis-like nose has wet stony earth and apply fruit. Crisp acids. Minerally flavors. The problem — and this is a problem I see whenever someone in a region with abundant sunshine actively tries to rein in the ripeness by picking early — is that by picking before the time when nature gives you the ripeness IT wants, the wines somehow lack depth and feel a little “clipped.” So, in sum, I like this, but it lacks the depth to be profound. — 16 days ago
Very impressive pinot from the Central Coast. Not sure if Kris Curran was still making the wine at Sea Smoke through the 2009 vintage...but I’m guessing yes. Some nice secondary aromatics, the wine is probably on the other side of its peak. Still well balanced, with nice evolution on the palate, the wine is a great example of a Central Coast pinot with a little age on it. I doubt this one is going to improve with more time in the bottle, so I’d suggest opening this up sooner rather than later. Excellent wine. — 10 days ago