Sine Qua Non goes beyond the cult wine definition, its status is mystical, a contradiction with enormous global demand. The wine’s names and labels make the wines almost indecipherable, enigmatically made to provide incredible drinking experiences, not preconceived norms: Sine Qua Non is a parody of itself.
Sine Qua Non make less than 4,000 cases a year, split between numerous wines, some spending 24 months in barrel, others given extra barrel age, spending 40 months in oak. Each sells out 10 times over on their mailing list and rises in price quickly, each awarded near perfect scores. To date Parker has awarded fourteen 100 pointers, in this regard it is in a league of its own and is the most coveted Californian wine.
Today, for the first time ever, we have managed to secure a parcel that we can release, moreover at a very sharp price! In 2013, maybe the greatest vintage ever in California, they have called their legendary Syrah and Grenache wines ‘Male’ and ‘Female’. The Female is made from Grenache, crafted in a Rhone shaped bottle, the Male Syrah, in a Bordeaux shaped bottle, see photo above. We are delighted to be able to offer a starter pack, one loose bottle of the Male and one loose bottle of the Female for £410, £205 per bottle. To put this into perspective the 100 point scoring 2005 Syrah equivalent named ‘Atlantis Fe 203’ trades at £500 a bottle. The 2013s are destined for greatness and future 100 pointers.
Sine Qua Non was created in 1994 by Manfred Krankl, an Austrian émigré, as a hobby. The reception for this wine named ‘Queen of Spades’ was extraordinary and in 1995 he released the ‘Queen of Hearts’, of which only 24 cases were made: a bottle sold in auction in 2014 for $45,000.
The winemaking facility is based in Ventura, close to Santa Barbara, where the grapes are grown. The wines are often compared to Screaming Eagle and Harlan, however Sine Qua Non focuses on Grenache and Syrah, although Mourvedre, Rousanne and Viognier play a supporting role. Manfred is a Rhone Ranger at heart, focused on creating what he describes as sexy wines which are peerlessly rich, elegant, harmonious and complex. Manfred works with tiny batches, passed through a gravity flow and only starts fermentation with natural yeasts. It is challenging to describe a bottle of Sine Qua Non, it has to be experienced. However, Sine Qua Non is a wine many collectors claim is an essential element in their cellar and the name, which means ‘absolutely necessary’ haughtily suggests just that.
Most wineries focus on a single wine with a single label, to achieve shelf recognition, so people know what to look for. However, Sine Qua Non seldom makes it onto a shelf, few collectors will part with a bottle. Manfred strongly believes that each vintage is completely different and as such each wine should have a unique name.
Sine Qua Non “Male & Female” Syrah & Grenache 2013 – 2×75 – £410 IB, £497 incl duty and VAT.
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