2003 Sine Qua Non Lil E Grenache - 750ml

2003 Sine Qua Non Lil E Grenache - 750ml

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2003 Sine Qua Non Lil E Grenache - 96 Pts!!

Sine Qua Non is one of California's most famous wine producers. Based just north of Los Angeles in Ventura County, and with most of its vineyards in Santa Barbara, it eschews the usual image of top California wine as being only from Napa Valley. That is not the only thing eschewed at Sine Qua Non – the same wine is rarely made more than once, turning the idea of the American icon wine on its head.

The cult winery specializes in Rhône grape varieties, with most of the red wines based on Syrah and Grenache. White wines are typically based on Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier and are also modelled after Rhône wines. While most of Sine Qua Non's vineyards are located in Santa Barbara, the home vineyard (and the winery) is located in Oak View. Many of the wines are labeled under the more generic California and Central Coast AVAs, rather than the specific AVAs the vineyards are located in, giving more freedom when it comes to blending.

Sine Qua Non's first vintage was 1994, as Austrian-born winemaker Manfred Krankl released three barrels of Syrah as "Queen of Spades" with a label he had designed himself. Previously, Krankl had made wines with other winemakers – including the "Black and Blue" wine with Havens Cellars and several wines with John Alban of Alban Vineyards. After releasing Queen of Spades, Krankl sent a bottle to Robert Parker, who promptly gave the wine 95 points – then the highest he'd given any American wine based on a Rhône variety


Product Details

Varietal Grenache
Vintage 2003
Rating 96 RP
Bottle Size 750 ml
Bottle Quantity 1
Country USA
Region California
Location
Producer Sine Qua Non
Color Red
Wine Type Table

Robert Parker

Rating 96 RP - Other than Alban Vineyards no California winery makes better Grenache than SQN. Manfred Krankl has produced some magnificent examples including the 2003 Li'l E named after his adorable wife Elaine is a blend of 78% Grenache 12% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah. Half of the grapes are from the Eleven Confessions home vineyard and the rest are from the Alban Alta Mesa and Bien Nacido sites. This cuvee is aged primarily in 300 liter hogsheads and because of extremely tiny yields only a minuscule 150 cases were produced. It boasts a deep ruby/purple hue a wild mountain berry fruit blueberry flower and kirsch-scented nose superb intensity full body good underlying acidity and sneaky tannins lurking under the surface. The latter component does not preclude drinking this wine now but this brilliant Grenache will last for 6-10 years. It is a reference point for what can be achieved with this fickle varietal which is probably even more difficult to make into great wine than Pinot Noir. Vineyard sources are gradually changing at Sine Qua Non as a movement to 100% estate fruit from vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills and sites near the winery in Ventura County come into full production. However at present some grapes emanate from other sources particularly white grapes from the Alban Vineyard and Grenache and Syrah from Alban Alta Mesa Bien Nacido Shadow Canyon and White Hawk vineyards. Yields were unbelievably small in 2003 white varietals yielded .9 tons of fruit per acre Pinot Noir 1.64 tons per acre Grenache .32 tons per acre and Syrah 1.20 tons per acre. In 2004 white varietal yields were 1.49 tons per acre Pinot Noir 1.19 tons per acre Grenache 1.04 tons per acre and Syrah a whopping 1.48 tons per acre. Yields rose by 20-40% in 2005. Longtime readers know that I consider these offerings to be about as remarkable as New World wines can be. They possess extraordinary richness and nuances as well as superb balance purity and aging potential. The whites are whole cluster pressed and go straight to barrel without any stabilization or settling and everything is fermented with indigenous yeasts. No racking takes place until bottling which is usually more than a year after the harvest. The reds are 100% destemmed although Grenache stems have been utilized on occasion. One to two ton open top fermenters are used and following a cold soak that can last up to seven days the wines are fermented with 2-3 daily punch downs. They are kept on their skins for a maximum of 2 plus weeks. All malolactic takes place in barrel and the wines are bottled 18-24 months after the harvest with minimal clarification. Manfred Krankl a true believer in radical viticulture practices extensive crop-thinning shoot positioning etc. The meticulous attention to detail is evident in both the vineyard and the winery. RP

Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator

Burghound

Burghound

Winery Details

Varietal Grenache
Vintage 2003
Rating 96 RP
Bottle Size 750 ml
Bottle Quantity 1
Country USA
Region California
Location
Producer Sine Qua Non
Color Red
Wine Type Table

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