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2012 Sine Qua Non Stock Syrah

2012 Sine Qua Non Stock Syrah

98 RP

From the critics:

96+ VM

Critic Reviews

A step up from the Grenache, the blockbuster-styled 2012 Syrah Stock checks in as a blend of 84% Syrah, 7% Grenache, 6% Petit Sirah, and the rest Viognier and Mourvedre, that was fermented with 32% whole clusters and aged in just over half new French oak. It offers stunning notes of blackcurrants, cassis, smoked meats, ground pepper and wild herbs to go with a full-bodied, unctuous, layered, yet always graceful and elegant feel on the palate. Nicely structured, with perfect overall balance, it still has the open-knit character of the vintage, yet has plenty of underlying structure, which at the moment is slightly hidden by the wine’s lavish fruit. It will be better in 2-3 years, and have two decades of overall longevity.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RP
The 2012 Syrah Stock has come together beautifully since I last tasted it a year ago. In particular, the Stock seems to have gained a measure of focus and precision I did not see back then. The inclusion of 32% whole clusters is felt in the wine’s floral, savory aromatics and overall sense of freshness. The spherical, creamy finish alone is simply stunning. This is a fabulous showing. The 2012 is 84% Syrah, 7% Grenache, 6% Petite Sirah, 1% Mourvèdre and 2% Viognier, done with 32% whole clusters. The wine spent about 21 months in French oak, 52% new. Vineyard sources are 47% Eleven Confessions, 27% Cumulus, 17% Third Twin and 9% White Hawk.

Vinous Media | 96+ VM

Wine Details for 2012 Sine Qua Non Stock Syrah

Type of Wine California Red : Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
Varietal Syrah : Something magical occurred when two ancient French grapes procreated and the varietal of Syrah entered the world of winegrowing. The exact time period of its inception is still undetermined; however, the origin of Syrah’s parentage confirms it was birthed in the Rhone Valley. DNA testing performed by UC Davis has indicated that Syrah is the progeny of the varietals Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche, both of Rhone origin. Syrah dominates its native homeland of Northern Rhone and has become one of the most popular grape varietals in the world.

Syrah, Shiraz and Petite Sirah have often been confused and misunderstood, some consumers believing them to all be the same grape, while others thinking the opposite. Petite Sirah is actually the offspring of Syrah and Peloursin and though related, is an entirely different grape variety. Its official name is Durif, for the name of the French nurseryman who first propagated the varietal in the 1880s; it is called Petite Sirah in California (due to the resemblance of Syrah, but smaller berries). Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape. Producers in Australia have been labelling Syrah as “Shiraz” since James Busby first introduced the varietal to the continent. The Scottish viticulturist brought Syrah from France to Australia in the middle of the 18th century and labelled the cuttings as “Sycras” and “Ciras,” which may have led to the naming. Most California vintners label their bottlings as Syrah and of course in French style and tradition, the name of the village or area the grape is cultivated dictates the label name.

The Syrah grape is at home in Northern Rhone where the climate is cool and the terroir is filled with gravel, schist, limestone, iron, granite and sandy soils. It thrives on rocky, hilly terrain with a southern exposure, due to its need for sunlight. Syrah is a very vigorous grape with a spreading growth habit. The berries are small to medium oval shaped blue-black and tend to shrivel when ripe.

Today, Syrah is one of the most popular and widely planted grape varietals in the world, covering almost 190,000 hectares across the earth’s surface. It is the only red grape variety permitted by AOC regulations in the appellations of Hermitage and Cote-Rotie, where it has breathed life into some of the most tremendous wines on the planet. Languedoc-Roussilon has the most surface area planted in France with 43,200 hectares dedicated to Syrah. The varietal is used for blending in Southern Rhone, Provence and even Bordeaux. Syrah has spread worldwide from Australia to California and South Africa to Spain creating the ‘New World’ hype of the varietal. Since the 1990’s, Syrah winegrowing and production has increased exponentially; for example, in 1958 there were a mere 2,000 hectares planted in France. By 2005 that number increased to over 68,000 hectares and today it is well over 70,000. The same holds true for California, Australia and other ‘New World’ producers that have jumped “all in.” World-wide there are approximately 190,000 hectares of Syrah currently being cultivated.

The allure of Syrah has taken the world by storm, but is important to note where the hype began. Long before Syrah was being stamped with ‘New World’ or of ‘cult status,’ the tremendous quality of Hermitage was being written about in Thomas Jefferson’s diary. Today, the grape variety can be grown, fashioned, named and enjoyed in a myriad of ways, but the quality of Syrah grape remains the same – incredible.

Country US : As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
Region California : With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.

Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
Subregion Central Coast


Producer Sine Qua Non : Manfred Krankl may be just as quirky and artistic as the wines he creates at Sine Qua Non. From his unique blending of varietals, to the imaginative wine names that grace the unique and often sly, psychologically dark labels, Krankl’s unusual approach to winemaking is viewed as artisanal as well as unorthodox. However unpredictable he may be, the consistency of quality wine production has allowed Sine Qua Non to establish a very special niche in today’s wine world. One in which the famed Robert Parker stated that Manfred Krankl is, “One of the most creative and multidimensional winemakers on planet earth.”

Great praise has come frequently for Sine Qua Non since its inception, which Krankl states was coincidental. His wines have earned multiple 100- point ratings from Robert Parker; though, Krankl finds his new “insider-y” fame humorous. His comfort level with all the weirdness has taken on the afterglow of shrewd marketing tactics. Nothing seems usual about the operation here, where each vintage brings a slew of wines that may be structured entirely different from the previous year. Varietals change, as do the label artwork, but the quality remains consistent.

Krankl is non-conforming to traditional winemaking nor marketing and will not allow the market to dictate his approach. He was once consulted by a business man who encouraged him to use the same label on each vintage so consumers could identify his wines, to which Krankl replied, “hell no.” His ability to artistically design wines that truly express the varietals is unprecedented and though he has been mentioned along with other California Cult producers such as Screaming Eagle and Harlan, Sine Qua Non does not reside in Napa Valley.

The winery hails from Santa Barbara, Central Coast and deems itself a Rhone Ranger of California, as a majority of their wines are made from Syrah and Grenache. Krankl’s love of the Rhone varietals is evident in his bottlings and isn’t ashamed of his neglect of Cabernet Sauvignon which reigns king in California. He concedes that “Cabernet can be great, sure, but its’ not sexy. It makes me think of Masterpiece Theatre.” A staunch stance on a varietal that has brought California into the apex of winemaking. But then again, nothing about Krankl is ordinary, nor are the wines of Sine Qua Non.

Krankl has never had the desire to be the world’s greatest wine producers or to produce big wines laden with alcohol which are so prevalent in America. Nor has he had the ambition to be the largest, as his annual production is a mere 3,500 cases. His vision was to craft a wine that is not purely intellectual, that has sex appeal, juicy and full bodied, liveliness, agility and grace, but isn’t a fruit bomb, or overly alcoholic.

What is accomplished at Sine Qua Non is so incredible, so impressive, inventive and complex that it is difficult to describe the portfolio of wines, the varietals harvested and the intricate manner in which they are produced. Each bottle of Sine Qua Non is a piece of art and perhaps that is the subliminal message sent by Krankl himself who uses winemaking as his canvas. Much like a classical piece by impressionist, Claude Monet, Sine Qua Non must be witnessed personally to fully understand and appreciate.

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