2008 Next of Kyn (Sine Qua Non) "Cumulus Vineyard No. 2" Central Coast Syrah. Pictured next to the inaugural vintage box, and documenting my disturbing inability to remove the cork in one piece, let’s begin with a quote from Manfred regarding the genesis of the brand: “The name is in reference to the fact that it is the next closest relative to SINE QUA NON, yet it is separate and different, and with its own personality, character and style. Implied is also a dose of hopefulness, of wishful thinking, that one of our five kids will someday take it over as his or her own.” (Unless my reverse adoption petition is granted, fingers crossed). The wines all emanate from Cumulus Vineyard, the Krankls’ first true estate vineyard. Most of the Syrah is planted on own-rooted, head-trained vines. The first three vintages were essentially Syrah-based, with some Grenache and Roussanne, all done with fully destemmed fruit. The wine spends around 30 months in French oak, with around 50% new oak. This particular vintage, which might very well be my favorite, is absolutely firing on all cylinders right now on its 10th Anniversary. So good in fact, that I will be looking to pick up a few more asap. 4 hour decant. Midnight black in the stem. Darker even than the 17th Nail from a week ago. Gorgeous bouquet of freshly baked, smokey blueberry pie cooling on the windowsill next to a vase of violets and lavender. Pleasing palate of sweet black cherry compote, licorice and Asian spices with just a hint of bacon fat. Lengthy, spicy finish. Beautiful structure. Lush and concentrated. I may need to add this to my guilty pleasures list as I don’t believe this was a critical standout. At least not by Manfred Krankl standards. Maybe the experts need to revisit?
— 5 days ago
Wow. What a stunningly great wine. Nose is custardy with stunning gras and richness. Marzipan and yellow fruits. Huge aromas. A sense of deepness. But the party starts on the palate. Incredible decadent texture and richness but fresh as a daisy from good acid and profound minerality. So much depth, so clean and so startlingly pure. Insane wine. Drinking great now. — 2 days ago
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.”
— 12 days ago
On day 1 this was simply showing too concentrated, sirupy, smooth and flabby for my liking.
Day 2: while still intense it has mellowed down considerably, now with some refreshing structure and backbone emerging allowing it to be enjoyed (at least by this humble palate).
I think this wine primarily will please the “Big & Bold” fans as a pop n’ pour but that shouldn’t be a surprise given Maggie’s past at SQN.
(if you haven’t tried them already and think Maggie Harrison only is a one trick pony you should try her Antica Terra Pinot’s from Oregon. A gifted winemaker!).
— 11 days ago
Gorgeous mulberry, underbrush, smoked brisket nose! Fresh cracked pepper dusted blackberries too. Even at 8-yrs old, this was still fairly young on the palate and evolved beautifully on day 2. Harmonious blend of red and black fruit with secondary notes of meat & iron. Not full on funk like Cayuse, but not a dark, heavy fruit forward Syrah from Cali. Marriage of both. Smooth from front to mid palate with a spiced pepper finish. Fantastic and happy to have more (but not enough...need to secure more!) Had this @Bill Bender ? — 4 days ago
Dominated by tertiary character typical of origin and the sweet lingering of new oak. Past its prime as the palate has shed a lot of flesh by now. The nose is gorgeous; burnt ends, toasted herbs de Provence, hardwood smoke, ash, pepper, licorice root, coffee grounds, vanilla, baked plum and dried red fruit. Wood tannins have some firmness, but there’s an acid component balancing it out. Still found this enjoyable though — a day ago
Deep crimson with youthful purple tinges. Notes of ripe plum and wood spice. Beautiful texture - lush mouthfeel - also some savouriness preventing it from being a Barossa fruit bomb (% of whole bunch?). Great balance and amazing QPR. My first of 6 from Little Wine #6 Mainly from the 2015 vintage. — 6 days ago
Austere. Elegant but concentrated with all classic cool climate varietal aromas and flavours. Still very tight, even backwards, but promising. Green herbs, powerful tannins, tart acidity and slowly emerging, reddish berries unfolding on the unleashed finish. Best from 2025. — 5 days ago