Sine Qua Non is yet another cult winery from California, USA. Manfred Krankl and his wife Elaine began starting their own winery after first working at several other estates and enhancing their skills.
The name “Sine Qua Non” means “without which there is nothing”. Their first vintage was 1994 (three barrels of the Syrah “Queen of Spades”). A specialist in Rhône varietals, most of their red wines are made from Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes, while Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier grapes are used for the white wines.
They also produced some sweet wines, with the help of famous Austrian winemaker Alois Kracher. However, when Alois Kracher suddenly passed away in 2006, Sine Qua Non stopped producing those rare wines.
Every year, Manfred Krankl uses his own artwork to create labels for the various wines they produce. Furthermore: Each vintage they bring out wines under a new (sometimes funny) name. Both the label and the wine’s name has to be approved by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A long and sometimes frustrating process, because of the numerous rejections.
The philosophy of Sine Qua Non is to make perfectly ripe, full bodied and full-flavored wines, that express the uniqueness of each vintage. In general, they use 40-60% new oak for the white wines and 60-100% new oak for the red wines and there is hardly any fining or filtration.
Sometimes Sine Qua Non also releases a rosé, made from Grenache grapes. The average annual production for all the wines is about 3500 cases, but since there is a waiting list for new consumers, it might take up to 10 years to get hold of some bottles. Multiple wines received the full 100 points by Robert Parker.Read more