||RP99 - No one ... let me say that again ... no one in the New World makes better Grenache than Manfred Krankl. Tasting four different cuvees was the equivalent of having a great chef, such as Daniel Boulud, cook all your meals for seven straight days. The just released 2004 Into the Dark (a blend of 84% Grenache, 8% Mourvedre, 7% Syrah, and 1% Viognier, primarily from the Eleven Confessions Vineyard) is a knock-out effort. Its inky/blue/purple color is followed by a big, sweet nose of black currants, black cherries, chocolate, spice box, and some toasty oak in the background. Voluptuously-textured and full-bodied with abundant glycerin and fruit hiding the wineâ€™s considerable underlying structure, this is a majestic Grenache that should hit its peak in 2-3 years, and last for 12-15. To reiterate, it is a challenge to analyze these wines. I know they are distinctive, and I think I am beginning to understand why they are so much greater than just about every other Syrah or Grenache-based wine in California. In short, it is talent and incredibly meticulous hard work. No one works as hard or is as maniacal about a vineyardâ€™s viticulture and winemaking as Manfred Krankl. Take that, add in exceptional talent, humility, top-notch vineyards, and I believe I understand the fundamentals of why these wines are so special.