Sine Qua Non - Dangerous Birds
We just received two wines form Sine Qua Non and one of our tasters proposed to put both wines next to each other. Naturally, we thought: Good idea!
Sine Qua Non, meaning as much as ‘without which there is not’, is a relatively new winery, having released their first vintage in 1994. The main goal of Sine Qua Non is to produce honest and pure wines, reflecting the beauty of each vintage. They produce wines in the tradition of the Rhône, with Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre as their main red grapes and Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier as the main white grapes.
That every vintage is unique can clearly be seen in the way Sine Qua Non releases their bottles. Each vintage has a unique (if not completely insane) name and label. Just to give you an idea of the names winemaker Krankl makes up for his range, some examples are:
Just for the love of it
Packing Rosy rose
The Thrill of Stamp Collecting
A Shot in the Dark
17th nail in my Cranium
Not only does Manfred Krankl show his creativity with inventing a new name for every vintage he releases, the striking artwork is also drawn by the winemaker himself. Though he has never professionally done anything with his talent for drawing, the little pieces of art on every individual label are almost as desired as the wine itself, becoming a big part of the beauty of Sine qua Non.
Anyway, I’m drifting off. We were here to discuss two amazing wines, the Dangerous Birds. In the Dangerous Birds series, both a Syrah and a Grenache were made, vintage 2007. Manfred Krankl managed to make two beautiful wines from the Eleven Confessions Vineyard. Both wines are not cepage wines, however very typical. Both wines are really amazing, though we had a very slight preference for the Syrah.
The Syrah started surprisingly elegant, with hints of red fruits, some coffee and even very slight hints of pistachios. A typical Syrah, which kept developing, gaining more ripeness over time. After about fifteen minutes in the glass, deeper notes of chocolate and cherry started to develop. The finish was long and smooth.
The Grenache started off as it should, immediately engulfing us in aromas of red fruits and some smokiness. An absolute stunner this one, and very steady. The wine was nicely balanced, though the red fruits slightly superseded some of the intense notes. It wasn’t until the finish when the chocolate and coffee gave the wine a firmer character.
The wines were at the same high level of quality, both extremely well-balanced and both showing the complexity of the vintage. The preference for the Syrah is strictly personal. From the five of us tasting the wines, three preferred the Syrah over the Grenache. The wines left us silent for a while and were the absolute ‘sine qua non’ of the evening.