2005 Sine Qua Non Atlantis Fe 203 Syrah - 100 pts - 750ml

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2005 Sine Qua Non Atlantis Fe Syrah - 100 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 Syrah
Vintage 2005
Rating 100 RP
Bottle Size 750 ml
Bottle Quantity 1
Country USA
Region California
Location Central Coast
Producer Sine Qua Non
Color Red
Wine Type Table

Robert Parker

Rating 100 RP - 2005 Sine Qua Non Atlantis Fe Syrah - 100 Pts! Surprise Surprise Surprise another Perfect 100pt Wine from the Krankls The perfect 2005 Syrah Atlantis Fe 203-1abc is a blend of 93% Syrah 5% Grenache and 2% Viognier with 25% whole clusters. Whereas the Ode to E is all from the Eleven Confessions Vineyard this cuvee is a combination of 43% from the estate vineyard 28% from the White Hawk Vineyard 21% from the Alban Vineyard and 8% from the Bien Nacido Vineyard. The good news is there are nearly 1500 cases of this recently released offering. An extraordinarily flowery nose interwoven with scents of blueberries blackberries incense and graphite soars from the glass. Although not the biggest or most concentrated Syrah Krankl has made it is one of the most nuanced elegant and complex. It remains full-bodied but builds incrementally on the palate and comes across as elegant and delicate especially when compared to many California Syrahs. Nevertheless the intensity is mind-boggling and the finish lasts for nearly a minute. Drink this amazing effort over the next 10-15+ years. I don't know whether it's catching on or not but there is a school of nonsense going around that somehow low yields are overrated. Of course farmers who treat their vineyards like industrial plants and wineries who do not control vineyards or have accountants running the bottom line are the usual suspects making this specious argument. From my perspective thirty years of experience have always suggested that vineyards with the lowest yields tend to produce the most interesting wines. Sine Qua Non has emerged as one of the world's greatest wineries over the last decade and low yields are part of the reason. Yields for their white wine varietals have gone from .91 tons per acre in 2003 to their most generous yield of 1.86 tons per acre in 2005. Their red varietal yields have increased from a scary financially disastrous .32 tons per acre for the 2003 Grenache to a whopping 2.11 tons per acre in 2005. In 2007 yields averaged 1.28 tons per acre for the white varietals 1.31 tons per acre for Grenache and 1.52 tons per acre for Syrah. (I did not taste the 2007 SQN wines but other Central Coast 2007s I did taste suggest this will be a great vintage for this region.) When tasting wines such as Sine Qua Non these statistics mean something because the Grenache is the finest in the New World the Syrah begs to be compared with the greatest of France California and Australia and the white wine blends assembled by Manfred Krankl are as sumptuous and complex as the world's finest Chardonnays even though there is little Chardonnay included in recent vintages and there will be none in future releases. The ultimate "garage" winery this operation's back alley warehouse looks like a set scene from the movie Mad Max but inside are the elixirs of dreams. Despite Krankl's already lofty reputation he continues to fine tune and build more nuances and complexity into his wines without sacrificing their intrinsic exuberance purity intensity and individuality. I am increasingly convinced that no one in Australia America South America or anywhere else in the New World makes a finer more complex and compelling Grenache than Manfred Krankl. He is now producing two Grenache cuvees an experimental highly successful long barrel-aged (40-43 months) effort and a Grenache that is aged in oak for nearly two years prior to bottling. There are also two renditions of Syrah a long-aged offering that is essentially an hommage to Marcel Guigal's single vineyard Cote Roties (the SQN Syrahs are aged 42 months in 100% new French oak) and a Syrah that is bottled after 21-22 months in oak. These cuvees are rarely 100% Syrah as Krankl frequently adds in some co-fermented Viognier as well as Grenache. There are four sweet wines being made but unfortunately the Mr. K. series will end because of the premature and tragic death of the renowned Alois (Luis) Kracher the genius behind so many extraordinary sweet wines from Austria and a partner with Krankl. In a year filled with some extraordinary tastings (2005 Bordeaux 2007 Southern Rhones to come) this tasting at the so-called "garage d'or" on the back streets of Ventura stands along side the wine-tasting/dinner at the Great Wall of China as one of the two wine-tasting events of the year. RP

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