It's wines like this that make me raise my eyebrows when professional or amateur American wine tasters make the throwaway lines about "Aussie fruit bombs" or "Aussie oak monsters". This SQN, along with the Colgin IX Estate Syrah 2007, are both so much more fruit bomb/extracted/alcoholic than most table wines that are typically drunk in Australia.
15.5% ABV. Malt aromatics dominant, blue petals and plum. Kirsch cherry, dark plums, licorice flavours - super-extracted, alcohol heat very apparent in the midpalate; full ripe tannins, full-bodied. Almost like drinking a dry port. Lacks definition.
A wine firmly in the style of "more of everything". All curves and skin on display. High alcohol, full bodied, enormously extracted...and yet for all this the wine lacks tension, energy and definition. Hard to drink this with food as it does not complement but instead overpowers, and hard to drink more than a glass of this.
Splash decant for 30 minutes or so...not a fan of long decants for SQN...consumed after 11 other wines, but has the stuff to make you forget what else you've had to drink...nose of spice and pepper...sweet dark fruit and licorice...smooth, long finish.
Great massive EPIC steak dinner. The last I opened this (note is in CT too) this was a good though just shy of great showing. I suspect bottle variation because on that occasion, the cork was dry and broke halfway through the pull. Alternatively, the breathing time was not optimal at 2.5 hours or so, by the time dinner rolled around, the wine was good, but more genteel good than the usual SQN powerhouse. Somewhat flat also stole the gloss off the champion's plate.
This time, the cork was healthily strong and I went with a 4.5~5.5 hour decant. At the pop, a bloom of lavender, cherry, pepper fragrance waffed up from the bottle. The colour was slightly pale crimson, perhaps pointing to the decade in rest. Nose then shut down for a couple of hours, I held off tasting it till it showed signs of opening up again.
Around the 4 hour mark, slight pour to taste and that lush perfume again came back, more developed, hinting at chocolate, gravel, hay, grass in spring, almost Left Bank-ish. Signature candied fruit appeared, and the wine was a muscular sinewy elixir, with flavour you could bite into, concentration yet delicate balance and a airiness supported by its high alcohol punch. A long finish that spreads a warm glow deliciously over one's chest cavity. Very promising.
Into dinner full swing, this was a star. Smooth yet unctuously juicy, with dark chocolate, leather, licorice, seemlessly integrated and cushioned on lovely alcohol levels. Some choice descriptions: 'This is Brooke Shields when she was 18 and in the Blue Lagoon', 'A supercar on stealth wheels'. There is only one thing left to say and do - buy some more !
This was as you'd expect -- thrilling. It was rich and full of polished fruit while holding wonderful balance. Made complex with smoked meat and exotic spice. Long, lingering and fresh finish. Really a credit to some incredible winemaking to pack this much fruit while staying precise and balanced.
Tasting 4 PnP SQN's almost side by side, is like splitting hairs, each one seemingly upping the next.
Again just a dark, almost black in glass purple with a less heat than the '07 Labels, but similar in palate. I seemed to get more Dark Red Fruit from this but still with the underlying Black as the base. Chocolate Covered Dark Cherries, Red Current, Strawberry with Black Current and Roasted Plum. Had that same but more subtle Black Pepper notes mixed with a butcher shop Meatiness that kept you wanting more even a little BBQ like quality, along with black licorice, cocoa and vanilla. Seem to be a bit more polished, if you could make that stretch with any SQN and a finish that seemed like forever, some definite mouth coating tannins!! Was sad to see the bottle gone as would have loved to see how this one would have evolved over a few hours.
Big and Bold Dinner @Shelter In the Woods (Greenwood Ave Singapore): 4[EDIT: Seems like less now given the newer tasting experience] hour decant what first came out was heavy on alcohol vapor and sawdust and cardboard. In the first 40 mins it came to some semblance of the signature candied grapes, super fine spice and smooth leather chocolate concoction M+E produce. Then sat in decanter till poured through mains for dinner. Unusually it had port like characteristics at this stage, slightly heavy and viscous but still giving off plenty of fruit power and balance. Secondary heat was perfect to expand flavours in the mouth and taper to a long nice finish. I suspect had it sat for another hour it would be more on form. Do try to do that. Else I think it's consistent with pro reviews of 93-96, a great wine but less a superstar compared to Ode to E, Mightnight Oil, Atlantis etc.
Aerated with a Vinturi and decanted for two hours. Nose of blackberry, black plum, chocolate, licorice, coffee, vanilla and black pepper. A rich black and blue fruit core integrated with chocolate, underbrush, licorice and vanilla notes on the palate. Full bodied, dense and mouth coating. Waves and waves of flavor. Paired with filet mignon and a brandy cream sauce.
US Wine Dinner with Friends (Paris Club - Chicago IL): Popped and poured, then consumed over a couple of hours. Ripe black cherry and plum, liqueur, cloves, allspice, black pepper, and background floral hints. Same flavor profile. Good structure and balance, particularly once open 15-30 minutes. Best taste was the last.
3 hours of air before consumption. First of all. This wine needs to be brought down to 18-20c. Because at roomtemperature you're killing it, and not in a good way. This is an amazing beast of a wine. Its quite demanding, but holy shit. The nose is rediculous. Its first like an entire garage and butchershop, dark meaty, dades, black olives, tar, sweet plum, rasberry licquer, liquerice, nicely integrated oak and spice.
There are layers rich dark fruit, but also vibrant red strawberry fruit inside of the darkness. Its massive in the mouth, perfect balance of concentration, acids and grippy tannins that are right now letting go into a silky mouthfeel. Hands down one of my top 5.
Decanted for a couple of hours. Intense color, completely opaque almost like ink. The nose was incredibly complex, with roasted meat, dark fruit and balsamic notes. I could just sniff my glass for hours. Very dense and heavy on the palate, yet very complex and intense. The dark fruit was coating the palate, and the overall feeling was that it looked and felt like motor oil (in a positive way!). This a fascinating wine, unapologetically extracted and Californian. This wine is an experience not to be missed. Enthralling.
Excellent! Opened spontaneously not providing time for a decant. Precise flavors of smokey black fruit, Kalamata olive brine, grilled steak, anise, and white pepper. Robust nose and long finish. Will continue to improve with time but in a great place now.
This was bottle no. 4, courtesy to J. This monster clocks in at 15.5% ABV and pours a dark inky, purple color with incredibly long legs, no less because of the high alcohol and glycerin in the wine. Just by looking at the viscosity, it is obvious that the wine is greatly extracted. On the nose, the wine is smoky, supported by black fruits, stewed cherries, rosemary, pepper and copious amounts of Asian spice and bacon fat. On the palate, the wine is thick and unctuous. The heat from the alcohol is apparent as soon as the juice hits the tongue. Again, flavors of spice dominate the core. Along with it comes a melange of cassis, damp earth, black fruits, leather and more bacon fat. Finish is incredibly long, lasting almost a minute. Tannins and acidity are barely present. Finish is super long as the wine lingers on perpetually. Although this wine is not my style (I prefer Norther Rhone syrahs), I can see the finesse of the wine maker and how some others would like this style of wine.
My second, and last bottle, which was excellent - but not quite as good as the first, which I chalk up to the lack of decanting. The nose had a touch of meatiness to it, with a hint of white pepper. The mouthfeel, while nice, was a bit short for an SQN.
The top pick in a tasting of eleven 'big reds'. Dark blackish ink colored, full bodied, complex, big ,bold, rich layers of dark blackberry and black cherry fruits accented by hints of blueberry and plum, creosote, mocha and spice with tones of anise and pepper turning to a thick tongue coating tangy chewy tannin lingering finish.
just amazing!!1 deeeeeep dark colour, bordering on black. but not over baked or heavy on the palate just loads of black fruit and a finish that goes onnnnnnnnnnnnnn. dont know how this gets any better, will be drinking my last one soon
This wine was opened with the Coravin system at home. The wine was clear and mid level garnet (with a slight orange tinge) in colour. The wine had quite a lot of red cherries and some smokiness on the nose. These same smells were tasted in the glass but add to that some burnt spices. The tannins were mid level and the acidity was quite light. This was a very enjoyable bottle tonight.
At the end of a long dinner, so I did not spend a lot of time with this, but it was showing really well. Lots of dark, lush fruit. Supporting tannins but not at all noticeable, and a nice long finish. Great balance for Cali Syrah and a wonderful way to finish a meal. A
Open almost 3 hours before serving. Opulent start with lots of ripe black fruit, liqueur notes, black pepper, baking spice and background floral hints. Same rich and extravagant blackberry and black cherry flavors with plenty of spice. Very elegant tannins and a satisfying level of acidity to keep everything in balance.
Wine Flock - Central Coast Syrah Intro/Retro (My Place - Chicago, IL): Nose is more muted initially - not showing much delineation. With time picks up smoked meat and bacon notes. Palate shows immense depth. Black fruit with pepper and mineral. There is terrific persistence in this wine, yet restraint and balance. Less complex and developed than a couple of the other SQNs. My 6/12. Group 5/12.
Chicago Wine Flock..."Top Central Coast Syrah from Rich" (House of Nanda - Chicago IL): Tasted double blind. Open 5+ hours before serving, with a quick double decant when first opened. Restrained aromatic start at first, then increasing amounts of licorice, black pepper and more spice starting emerging over several hours. Less restrained to start on palate, with large scaled fruit that retained good balance. Tightly wound, this really to have lots of coiled energy. Also got much better over time.
Deeply colored with a full-blown nose which initially showed ripe plummy fruit together with blackcurrant notes and quickly developed violet nuances and graphite minerality. Also chocoloate, licorice and what have you... Full bodied but light on its feet, excellent balance - truly remarkable. Hedonistic wine, great SQN! It is a truism but these wines are from a different world than let's say traditional Bordeaux altough both can be top class. I have the tendency to compare and I admit that I sip an aged Mouton with slightly more reverence but both are top wines but completely different. If I had to find an analogy in film, I would compare Mouton to Antonioni's L'aventura and Sine Qua Non to... not the Lord of the Rings but to John Ford's The Searchers. Yes, that's right! A crowd pleasing epic which can be viewed in more than one levels. [series #no.5]
(This bottle was Raven #5, for whatever reason there are different bottlings). Nose not giving a ton, even after two hours. Maybe lavender, some dark fruit there. Dark color. Beautiful palate, well integrated despite high alcohol (almost 16%). Great smooth mouthful of dark fruit, delicious. Plenty of life left, maybe even a year or two of improvement ahead. I'd score higher but for me, there is a little bit of alcohol on the finish that undermines it.
Friday Night in Toronto (10tation Catering): Ahhh, my first SQN, and quite possibly my last. A deep inky purple in the glass. My first SQN. Deep inky purple in the glass, with a boisterous nose of blue fruits, brown sugar, vanilla, spice cake, fresh picked herbs, coffee grinds, florals, smoked brisket and pepper. On the palate, massive viscosity, but quite svelte and exhibiting reasonable balance, however, I do catch a bit of heat on the finish, and a slight deficiency in acid. Not a fan of this style of wine, but you can't deny the level of complexity and craftsmanship in this wine. Personally, I wouldn't opt to age this out.
A Friday Night Toronto Wine Dinner: Loaded nose chalk full of complexity, however it is quite brutish. Nose of capers, motor oil, diesel, tar, stewed blackberries and blueberries, crushed pepper, vanilla, bacon fat. Palate is almost a bit creamy with a sweet entry and a vanilla, tar tinged finish. If this is your style then you will go crazy. For me it's a bit big, but does keep fine balance. I could see how others could score this higher.
I liked this, though it reminded me much like some of the better Australian Shiraz from the Barossa valley. Loads of blueberry and smoky meats, both on the nose and palate. The wine was mouth coating with fine tannins. I would compare this to Greenock Creek or 3 Rings reserve withouth the thickness or really high ABV. The ABV on this was totally held in check by the fruit and structure.
I think this wine has been one of my dark horse favorites that got lost in the wake of JFTLOI, Papa, Poker Face, and Atlantis. Reminded me a bit of the Atlantis--just like the last bottle nearly 18 months ago. There is a streak of raciness, and something like black pepper, along with a grainy (in a good way) aspect that gives this a really interesting mouthfeel. Decanted for only a couple hours, it was nonetheless showing well, with plenty of dark fruit balanced by a lightness that, to me, is the hallmark of SQN Syrahs and Grenaches. As a bit of a soapbox moment, I'm always amazed when these are referred to as "heavy" or "ponderous" or "over the top"--I don't believe I've ever gotten that, even with brand new releases fresh off the GSO truck. This is starting to soften a bit and integrate, but just barely. I hope I can hang on to these for at least 10 more years. (PE: 96)
This is one of the most fascinating SQN's I've ever had. Some (Poker Face) have been more decadent, others (JFTLOI) more luxurious. This one is the most exotic of the SQN syrahs I've had. It is elegant, sophisticated, and somewhat delicate. It is by no means lightweight though. The nose starts with familiar syrah components of creamy red fruits, but then unexpectedly arrives floral notes of jasmine and lavender. No doubt this comes from the splash of viognier in the blend. On the palate, there are sweet and tart fruits and savory charred grilled meats, counterbalanced with a vegetable garden with fresh herbs, spices (maybe sumac?), celery root, and peppery greens (arugula?). After all the years of drinking SQN, this is the one that really opened my eyes to Manfred Krankl's talent as a winemaker. His equivalent in the culinary world wouldn't be an up-and-coming rockstar chef as one might expect. It would be a chef like Eric Ripert, whose plates are forward-thinking but rooted in French tradition and technique. Each of Krankl's wines, like Eric's dishes, are unique and thoughtfully composed plates. The people who have established their prejudices against SQN, believing that they are over-extracted, over-worked, over-alcoholic Parker-ized wines, simply have not tasted SQN. And that's a shame. To conclude, the fact that no one's tasting notes on this wine sound the same speaks to how interesting it will be to track the evolution of this wine. My WOTY at the 3/4 mark of 2013. This is going to be tough to top. Consumed at Flemings in Newport Beach.
Great Syrah. Like non other I have tasted. So many things happening in this wine. Dark purple. Did not decant due to no more decanters left, but bottle was opened for 3 hours. Nose was like banana cake and dark boisen berries. A lot of heat came off this nose almost like a desert liqueur. Taste had the banana or rum aspect to it, hints of tobacco, and strong vanilla taste as well. I do not know If I would recommend with a steak almost better to eat halfway through the steak due to the desert type flavors. Great wine would like to try again.
Superb bottle of Syrah - magical wine...just amazing how they can make it taste so smooth...So many interesting things going on here it is hard to pinpoint where to start, but it has some real smokey kind of a bbq sauce texture and scent followed by extremely ripe and sweet red and dark fruits all flowing in perfect harmony. Finish that I believe I can still taste the next day..This is a massive wine that is absolutely delicious.
Eric's 40th Birthday Party: Very dark and opaque. Very meaty, with a strong impression of smoky bacon. Lot of blueberries, some licorice, and a hint of spices. It also has a savory olive tapenade aspect to it. Very open and expressive.
Opened and decanted for 3 hours. This was drank alongside a 2009 SQN upside down Grenache. The raven had a classic SQN Syrah nose of charcoal, some licorice, and black fruit. The wine was very elegant and smooth but did lack the "wow" factor for me. I think the wine may improve slightly but tonight it was just okay.
What else to open for the Super Bowl? OK, time for some first sips prior to kickoff. Dark Raven purple to rim. Rich nose of backberries, cherries, licorice, meat, smoke and tar. Intense powerful palate attack but very smooth, lush ripe fruits with smoky meaty tones, palate coating, low acid, long finish. This is a love it or hate it kind of wine, and I love it.
By halftime, the SQN Raven is coming on as strong as the NFL Ravens, showing even more ripe fruit, smoke and earth and a smooth mellow palate feel that actually went well with the grilled ribeye. Now sipping it on its own, it is a seamless, powerful package.
After the power outage the NFL Ravens looked listless, but they finished strong with a gutsy goal-line stand to pull it off. The SQN never let up.
Cassoulet Night (Jimmy's Apartment - Chicago, IL): Thought the aromas were really nice - meaty, briny, dark fruits, anise, and warm spices. Palate was big, bold and sappy. Its dark fruits are really dialed up and the acid is really dialed down which isn't really a surprise. Loved the aromas here, but the palate was just too young and burly at the moment. I think there's potential for this over the next 10 years. The lack of acid, in my opinion, limits how long this can go.
Looking more and more like the Niners are taking on the ravens in Super Bowl 47- so I gotta see what raven tastes like! Go niners! Licorice, pepper, framboise, minerals, a little salt, some char, and quite dense- looooong finish... Nice wine. Raven tastes good.
New Years Eve 2013: This was decanted for 10+ hours, and the leftovers rebottled overnight. TN done on the leftovers this morning. 15.5% ABV
An outstanding bottle of wine as always. Blackberry, blueberry, eucalyptus, meat, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and more...tons of aromas and flavors to find in here :) Silky smooth but grippy tannins, nice acidity, almost like tart green apple.
Drinking quite well now, but certainly quite a bit of life left in it.
This was the Raven No 4, a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Viognier, weighing in at a head bludgeoning 15.5%. The wine was decanted for 4 hours. In colour it was like an opaque deep red ink, but surprisingly it was very approachable. The nose of blackcurrant, blackcurrant and even more blackcurrant, was glorious; the kind of wine you can sit and smell all night. On the palate it was full-bodied, but with surprisingly smooth tannins and it slipped down remarkably easily. I suspect the inclusion of Viognier helps add approachability. The flavours are intense and complex and the length goes on for 60+ seconds. Enormously impressive. Estimated maturity: Now - 2020
Consumed at the SAFW Reunion. This had a complex nose and flavors of blackberry, soft black currant, raspberry, violets, some black pepper, a touch of meatiness, spice, cigar box. In the mouth, it has big, highly concentrated and succulent velvety fruit. Great structure and balance. Smooth and velvety on the long finish. A top tier syrah. Many thanks and appreciation to the aficionado who brought this wine to the tasting.
We had Raven Syrah No.5. Great wine, but still not this absolut outperfomring of 2006 En Cerise. The Raven is powerfull and very rich in extract. Smell reminds me on essential oils. Ripe black fruits, chocolate, speck (bacon), some menthol, and at the end some black pepper. The 15,5% Alc is very well integrated, cool on the palate, very well balanced. At all a masculin, powerful wine, with polished tannins and a youthful elegance.
Friday Night Wine Night 8/3: Had this bottle last Friday at Vidalia in DC, but that was basically a pop 'n pour. This one was decanted for 6+ hours.
This is gorgeous again, but with the decant I'll give it a point more than I did last week. I would say this is unmistakably SQN. First things I get are cured meats, pepper, blueberry, eucalyptus...my wife said this smells like 'purple' and freshly crushed grapes :) I think everything is well balanced here; it's all huge. The eucalyptus faded quickly in the decanter.
Very fine, smooth tannins, 40 second finish or so.
Next day follow up: Happily, there was a bit of this left over from last night that was rebottled and corked overnight. Next afternoon, this is still firing on all cylinders. Still gorgeous, with some floral notes I didn't notice last night, and I thought I caught coconut for a second. Overall exceptional wine.
Dinner at Vidalia with PinkMoonWinery (Vidalia in DC): I'll tail onto PinkMoon's tasting note a bit, since we had this together...I thought it was definitely interesting to juxtapose the SQN and Schrader. I thought this edged out the Schrader, but they both were fabulous. Rich dark fruits, spice...hints of chocolate and eucalyptus maybe? Layers of flavors that evolved through the finish. Silky smooth, really fine tannins. Decanted, but poured almost immediately.
Love this stuff, I can't wait to get on Manfred's mailing list...
wineberg welcoming me to DC (Vidalia, Washington): this was on par with the 2004 schrader ccs but obviously very different in style. curry leaves, sunday roast, nice blackberries. loads of minerals, that feel much more present when comparing these wines with napa, it didnt strike me when i tasted it last. excellent!
Rhys, Flam, Sineann, Saxum, SQN: Another fantastic wine. It was interesting to drink right after the 07 Saxum JBV. It has more grilled steak on the nose. A bit deeper and less exuberant in personality (relatively speaking of course), but still wonderful. Purple in color. The nose has black raspberries, grilled steak and black pepper. Full bodied. Less, "sweet/ripe" than the Saxum, but still a ton of fruit. Seems to be ageing very slowly and has years from maturity. Sensational.
Whoops, I meant to bring a Raven Grenache but this one will have to do. Haha! Decanted for approximately one hour. Showed as very deep in colour with a bouquet that was really quite underwhelming. Not that it was bad, just that nothing stood out. The wine itself was everything that I like in a syrah with wonderful balances of the spices as well as the tannins. I did taste lots of caramel in this tonight. Although it's quite heavy on the alcohol levels, there was no hotness coming out of this bottle. All in all, another great SQN bottle.
An evening with Chave, SQN, Captain Kirk and others (The Greenhouse Tavern): This almost seemed a step back in our spoiled world of last night. The nose is boysenberries, camphor, violets, cocoa, and a mineral/pencil lead note. Not the texture of the prior two wines, but full bodied. Needs air/time to unwind. Very nice blueberries/black raspberry fruit. Great balance. Long finish. Not as seamless as the other wines, the oak and "gobs of fruit" need some time to integrate.
Aerated with Vinturi and decanted for 2 hours. Nose of blackberry jam, cassis, black pepper, vanilla, tobacco, and pine needles. Jammy dark fruit, a hint of tobacco, and soft tannins leading to a very long finish. Full bodied, layered, complex and well balanced. Amazing, once again. Paired very well with roast lamb.
Reminded me a bit of the Atlantis, which this has never done. Hints of black pepper spread amongst blue and black fruits. Plenty of oomph, but also good delineation--kind of that SQN conundrum that seems to occur in most of the Krankls' wines. Really enjoyable, and I may have to crack another one soon.
Almost three years since my last bottle of this. Decanted for a couple of hours prior to tasting. Extremely complex and evolving nose - dark fruit, coffee and game. The last glass showed some red fruit. Still quite structured (more so than other SQN bottlings I've had at similar ages), I believe this will continue to evolve positively and will try to save my last bottle for a couple of years. 96+
Very dark and brooding. Slow-O'd for several hours. Intensely dark purple in the glass, powerful nose and palate with incredibly dense, but very smooth fruit. Completely coats the mouth and tongue before giving way to a lonnnnnnnng finish. Stunning.
This was another winner from Manfred. 30 minutes of decanting showed this to have a very deep colour with a nose of mixed berries. Almost perfect for my liking on the spice factor with some chocolate thrown in the mix. As well, although fairly strong in alcohol content, the balance on this wine was wonderful.
Popped, decanted for 45 mins, after reading the press and tasting notes, I expected more from this mild mannered Syrah. Nothing really jumped out of the glass, a fairly neutral nose, with lighter fruit...not juicy juice for sure! The mid-palette was again mild and not the earthy dark fruit you would expect from a $250 Syrah. The finish was smooth enough, but again lacking any memorable notes. Being a Syrah "freak" I would opt for a Pax or Melville any day for 1/8 of the cost. 91 is a generous score for such a xpensive bottle of swill. The only hedonistic thing about this wine was the $$$$$.
Pitsch dark in color, full of fruit, lovely on the nose, balanced - this is delicious. Not elegant but lasts on the palate for 45 sec.I think this might increase somewhat in complexitiy but I don't see any reason to keep this - it's fantastic to drink now!
Unreal in quality, flavor, and finish. Like no other Syrah I've ever had. It's too difficult for me to describe what I experienced with this wine. The taste was so unique that mentally I have to put it in a class by itself. It was tasted next to a 2006 Alban Reva and a 2008 La Sangre de Jonata. All three wines were astounding, but the Sine Qua Non was so unusual that it felt somewhere off on its own universe.
Inte min stil, alldeles för mycket alkohol, ekfat och syltad frukt. Den påminner mig om de inlagda bär som säljs i Österrike, Jag vet att det här ska vara ett kultvin men det är för mycket av allt. Alkoholhalten är angiven till 15.5% men jag tror den är högre. Frukten tillsammans med den allt för överdrivna alkoholen skapar en massiv grötig allt för kraftig smak som dödar eventuella nyanser i vinet. För mig känns det obalanserat och drar åt Amaronehållet i sin stil.Nästan lite sötsliskigt.
Siggy Turns Forty!!!: My first taste of SQN and I only had a very small pour. Nonetheless, this but it lived up to any expectations I could have for SQN. Dark black color. Pleasant nose of mostly dark fruit. Really excellent on the palate with a silky texture that was stunning and tons of beautiful fruit flavors. Packed with fruit, but also well structured -- meaning perfect balance. Great long finish.
Wow--really good showing of this wine. Seems like it has opened up and become more complex since the last bottle about a year ago. Also seems lighter on its feet than I remember the previous bottle. Great combination of red and black fruits, bacon, black pepper hints, some soy undertones, and a bit of Christmas spice. Tannins are silky smooth and almost not noticeable--wonder if this will have the same age ability of some of Manfred's other wines? Great, great stuff right now. (PE: 97)
2 hour decant. A very dark garnet color. Blackberry, black currant, earth, black pepper, spice, cedar, and vanilla aromas and flavors. Luscious dark berries with smooth tannins integrated on the mid-palate; jammy, layered, balanced, and complex. Full bodied with a very long, lingering finish. This bottle was amazing three hours after it was decanted, and rewarded patience. Paired beautifully with roast beef. I was simply blown away, this is a great wine.
Decanted for three hours, utilizing a funnel. An almost black garnet, with a lightening rim - showing ruby as well. A nose that makes you want to salute! There's braised meat, paprika, blueberry, mocha and river stones. The palate is also heavily nuanced, showing the spice and berry. A nice and long finish with the tannins exhibiting a lot of flesh. I could see how this has room to harmonize more over time, however, with a proper decant the beauty is very noticeable and refreshing. I do have a preference for Labels (98pts) and Alantis (also 98 pts), but this is still very much a classic wine by arguably California's finest Vintner/Winemaker. Drink 2012 - 2025.
PnP, very open from the outset. Beautiful purple color in the glass. A swirling blend of brine, dark berries, bacon and pepper on the nose, dark berries and spice dominated the palate. Silky mouthfeel and amazingly well balanced, no single element stuck out. Not a hint of the 15.5% ABV, which was tucked away nicely. Long finish. Another fine example of Krankl magic.
elzer cancer society charity dinner. there was some talk of this being a flawed bottle. no, it's just a crummy bottle of wine. not my first rodeo with this, they have all been harshly tannic with no connection of fruit and tannin. stiff as a (insert your own ribald noun here).
Decanted for one hour and consumed over the next three hours. Very dark garnet in the decanter with no real noticeable sediment. Initial smells of Rhone funk which blew off after the first hour. I really enjoy this wine. Great nose of olive brine, blackberry jam, toffee nut mocha and eucalyptus (at the very end). The midpalate was multidimensional with more initial flavors of Rhone, ripe dark currants and pepper. The ALC is listed at 15.5% and very well balenced. The finish lingers and lingers with a pleasing, astringent ending. Addictive. I'm a huge fan of SQN wines and this is one that is "relatively affordable" and a great one.
SQN Dinner (Lockkeepers): Purple in color. This took some time to open and got better all night long. The nose has black raspberries, pepper, bacon fat. Silky and soft. Complex if tightly layered. Black raspberries on the palate with some pie filling qualities. Long and complex finish. Just delicious.
Decanted 1 hour. A truly balanced Cali Syrah. Rich ripe fruit without being over the top. We were impressed at this wine's lack of heat despite its relatively high alcohol content. This worked nicely with a venison dish. Bravo.
Wow, drinkable art. Opened and decanted for a couple of hours. Personally I was surprised by this wines power and excellence. Enjoyed with a group of professional wine connoisseur's (screw those guys!). Their responses were beyond favorable. Several of them were enamored with this wine. Beautiful bouquet of sweet dark currants, blackberries, a hint of olive juice and spearmint. This wine has awesome tastes of ripe dark currants, raspberries, espresso and finishing tastes of dark chocolate. This wine is truely multi-dimensional and a beautiful piece of work. Great job SQN, B Dub.
Decanted two hours, this was suprisingly open for business-very full bodied and rich, full of blackberries, olive. Not heavy and carries it alcohol level(15.5%) easily....a very balanced mouthfull of wine.
was opened and decanted for about an hour and a half prior to drinking. the first smell was unbelievable... consisting of dark fruit, licorice, and a background of a touch of earth. i could have smelled this wine all afternoon, but tasting it proved all the better. The palate was an explosion of dark fruit and spice, with a touch of candied fruit and a splash of black pepper. it transitioned across the palate to a smooth, long finish that seemed like it wouldn't end. On this day this wine showed perfect, and i don't know if i can find a thing wrong with it. it was so good it was almost addictive. to not drink more of this will take a lot of restraint.
Killed off two bottle of SQN Raven Syrah over a L O N G dinner event at Mortons in Jacksonville. Other wines included a 1999 Quilceda Creek (WOTN - 99) a 1990 N Potel Montrachet (long decant - good, not great), a1985 Hermitage (90+). The SQN was very drinkable after a 45 minute decant, great dark ruby color, exceptional nose, solid legs. Blackberry oil gave way to extracted purity of dark grapes and walking barefooted on the summer breezes in the hills near Cambria. My last 2 bottles.... perhaps readers who feel sorry for this poor wino who have an extra case around would part with a couple of bottles? Ah... I thought not....
Much better this time with shorter decant. Decanted for a few minutes, rebottled, then opened about 2 hours later. Rich, dense, sweet black fruits & a little pepper, best bottle so far. Finally ok to drink but can cellar for awhile too. Crowd pleaser!
Dark purple and heavy in the glass. Big nose with dark fruit, smoked bacon, bramble, cocoa powder and herbs. Same on the palette in rich, thick and consistent layers all the way thru the long finish. Though some detectable heat gets in the way. Decanted for an hour and paired with pork.
I'm not sure what else I can add to my previous note after drinking this wine again. This wine is so gorgeous, seamless, and delicious. It sings of blackberry, cassis, and perfectly ripe dark cherries. The mid-palate is so smooth and transitions into the never ending finish with ease. There is no noticeable heat. This wine was decanted for 3 hours. Amazing and worth every penny IMHO.
Decanted 8+ hours, then rebottled and opened at restaurant 2 hours later. Tasted blind with 10 other Syrah's & Shiraz's. This wine came in #3 out of 11. Blackberry is the predominant part of the nose. Still slightly tight, even after this long decant. Give it time, or a frind who drank it last week after just a 1 hour decant said that time it was great. He thought I decanted too long and the wine shutdown after that many hours. I'll have to drink another one with a shortened decant time to see if that's true.
Sine Qua Non Dinner: the Younger Wines (Custom House Tavern - Chicago IL): Black fruit on nose with some background spice. Viognier didn't seem to come through here tonight, taking away from the charm that was added in the SQN cuvees where it was more apparent. Good black and blue fruit on the palate, but moderate intensity and moderate spice, moderate finish. On its own, a really excellent wine, but not in tonight's SQN company.
Some Pinots and Syrahs: Possibly the biggest disappointment for many and yet it was an outstanding wine IMO. Yet, when you factor in the price (and I am not sure that makes sense), I would also hope for me. Perhaps though this was not a pristine bottle either. In any event, I liked this wine more than the group. Purple, ruby at the core. The nose has a heavy dose of what we call charred oak. Lots of black raspberries. Great texture (best of any wine this night). Complexity really comes out on the finish. Lots of fruit. Certainly needs more time. A controversial wine for the group.
Stefania Tasting at The Backyard Bistro! (Bordentown, NJ): Popped and poured this bad boy right behind a Lillian syrah for Paul and Stefania as we were on a syrah kick. This is the second time that we have had this wine, and once again it was solid. On the nose, again, the black and blue fruits dominate. For me, the blackberry and blueberry were the standout stars, with other nuances of plum, mocha, and coffee tones. The pepper and spice where there, but I was missing the tar and rubber from the last bottles. On the palate, the jammy berries dominate, and this bottles seems to be even more youthful from the first bottle we had as the alcohol seems more prevelant. Bottles variation? Doubtful, but there seems to be a lot more heat on this bottle from what I remember. This wine is loaded with layers of big fruits in the typical, high throttle, over ripe Manfred way, which is the very reason we love these wines! Now if only we could get off the mailing list! More black cherry and raspberry on the palate, again, with some pepper and spice, and a hint of smokiness. This was by far the most peppery syrah we had tonight, again, I don't remember it being so prevelant in the last bottle. Even so, this was an outstanding bottle, and there is nothing more enjoyable about this hobby than opening up a bottle like this for friends, and seeing them enjoy it! As with the last bottle, I am going to refrain from scoring it, and in all honesty, I think that the Lillian prior to this edged it out. Call me crazy! Cheers!
To previous tasters who said this wine was in it's prime they are absolutely right. It's definitely in it's prime and so good that it's hard to believe that it will improve with time but it might. One of the best SQNs I've ever had the opportunity to consume. A monumental effort.
06 Sine Qua Non Raven pops from the glass like a jack in the box! Espresso, blackberry, blueberry, black raspberry, spice, jam and vanilla aromatics are all over the place. Thick, rich, dense and packed with layers of juicy ripe and over ripe fruit, this powerful Syrah ends with ripe jammy berries, chocolate, plums and oak. With so much fruit, I believe the oak will fully integrate. This wine is showing much better than it did a year ago.
Tastes from Hezi's dinner at Ria (Ria Restaurant - Elysian Hotel, Chicago): Taste from Hezi's dinner at Ria. Virtually black in color - purple at the rim. Meaty with lots of black pepper spice. Blackberries, blueberries, tar, charcoal, black olives, with a really gamey savory personality. So so good. Weighty and full of rich viscous glycerin on the finish. The palate is multi-layered with enormous personality. A masculine effort with a touch of enjoyable heat on the back end. Blueberry cobbler aromas and flavors coming through as well. Purple flowers - lilacs. Really really lovely wine. High alcohol but it's in check and is very well integrated with tannins and acid. Bravo. A true winner. This will age effortlessly for two or more decades. But it's drinking well now - as many of Krankl's wines do during their infintile stages.
SQN, Saxum, Peay, Mollydooker, BV, Paloma, R Wines: A spectacular wine. Inky purple in color. The nose has black raspberries, leather, smoke and some toast. On the palate, this is huge but deft, and complex. Very smooth despite the 15.5% alc. Black cherries and black raspberries with a nice minerals streak. Long finish. Got better all afternoon long. Accessible right now but its best days are anywhere from 2 to 10 years ahead depending on your tastes. In a day of great wines, this was my favorite.
This was a fantastic bottle that we drank after opening it an hour earlier. Lots of vanilla notes on the nose. Not overly heavy on the spices and a great balance to the wine. I could drink these bottles all day.
Decanted 2 hrs, seamless nose. Huge but balanced wine. Incredibly dark and thick in color. Very rich nose of tar, dark fruits, blueberry, chocolate. Everything was incredibly well integrated. Way too young but the fruit is delicious.
97+ OMG delicious. The nose is incredible with flowers and overflowing blackberries and dark fruits. The palate is as delicious as a sex addict who is obsessed with oral, as it explodes in the mouth. I have never had a wine like this; I will mortgage the house to get more. The 15.5% alcohol is seamless in the minute plus finish. If you can buy, do so and drink now, you will not be disappointed.
2nd bottle. Decanted (3/4 of bottle) for 2 hours, in-glass for another 3 hours; 1/4 of bottle was left in bottle, resealed, and consumed over the next 2 days. Dark purple color and typically effusive nose of blackberries and sweet spices. The palate is full, round, and smooth. Well-integrated flavors of blackberry, plum, sweet dough, and a mild pepperiness on the finish. The following days revealed more floral aromas, and the palate added a honey-bacon element, and remained in balance for the duration. Impressive now, but I'm certain that this wine's best days are still a good 2+ years out. Far better than the first bottle (about a year ago), and nearly as good as the Atlantis Syrah.
OMG. Is this for real? Blueberry compote, chocolate drizzle with enought brettiness to make it an intellectual pursuit. This is hedonistic and sexy. Explodes in mouth with berry and bacon fat. Finish is long and extremely well integrated. Some heat but manageable.
Decanted for only 1 hour and drank over the next hour. Subtle nose of black pepper and burnt rubber, got softer with time. Rich & dense, dark color & dark fruit. Smelled & tasted best at end, though still tight, unrevealing. Needs more time or much longer decant.
Oh my, my first experience with SQN. Poured into decanter about 30 minutes before tasting (No long decant so as to watch the evolution of the wine.) Dark purple color. At first nose was a little closed, but blue and black fruit were shining though and a bit, just a bit, heavy on the alcohol. Fears of a hot wine dissipated quickly and the fruit got more pronounced and slightly sweeter to the nose. Over time the wine just kept evolving and getting better and better. Balanced fruit and alcohol and length form an almost perfect marriage. After about 2 hours some baking spices and a bit of vanilla appeared but the wine didn't last much longer to show even further evolution of which I am sure it is capable.
Decanted 1 hour and drunk in 30 minutes (it was that good;-) Already drinking well. Based on experience from earlier vintages I would have expected it to be somewhat closed at this stage. I feel that SQN Syrahs normally drink well for a few months after delivery but then lose a lot for a couple of years and then come back and get even better. This bottle however was great. Rich, dense, spicy, with lots of black and some red fruit. Tobacco, chocolate and some raw meet. it is impeccably balanced and it has great aftertaste. 98p.
This is about the 8th or 9th bottle I've had of this and if nothing else, it's consistent. It takes awhile to open up and is pretty rich and dense at first opening. It tames down after a few hours and starts to shed some fat. Lots of black pepper throughout with VERY dark fruit and decently integrated alcohol. Somewhat one dimensional and could pass for alot of other high end syrahs. Love the wine and think it will improve with age so I'm going to have to try to keep my hands off the rest of my stash for awhile. Preferred the Raven grenache.
Decanted for almost six hours, drank over the next three.
An inky core fading into burgundy tones with a purple rim. The nose brings very concentrated, focused aromas of tobacco, bittersweet chocolate covered blackberry, blueberry coulis, and cut red flowers. There is a liveliness at the front of the palate that hints at red fruit and is then devoured by black and blues. Blueberry syrup, blackberry jam, and brandied cherries carry an exotic mix of intense fruit and spice. A black pepper finish lingers.
This is my first SQN. It is an important experience for me. It needed all eight hours that I gave it to evolve into what it is now. I wrote that black pepper thing about a minute ago and I'm still experiencing it. Drink now with plenty air, or hold for a dozen years. Really memorable stuff.
Took some time, but is starting to open up (after 90 minutes). Deep blue/black fruits, with black pepper and the slightest hint of clove. This is still pretty primary and one-dimensional (as one-dimensional as a SQN can be), and I imagine that it will benefit hugely from time. That said, it is very tasty now--the tannins are soft, the fruit is rich, and there's good balance overall. Interestingly, this has less alcohol than the Hoodoo Man we're also drinking--I always think of whites as the low-alcohol wines. (PE: 94)
another killer bottle. decanted, then in the glass for 1-3 hours. deep dark color. opulent nose of black fruit, some tar, licorice, pepper, deep floral. palate is all consuming. fills every crevice of the mouth. excellent balance of all components. surprisingly not hot at all. as predicted the finish, again, ongoing forever. everyone at the table loved this wine. tasted against alban reva, which really couldn't hold up - and i usually love the reva as well.
At the end of a great evening, when we were all laughing and talking in the wine cellar, I popped this beauty. Wow!!! Rich, layered and opulent. A mere babe in the woods. This has many, many, many years to go, but was still wonderful now.
Sine Qua Non never disappoint me. Again with this 2006 Raven Syrah offer a dense, thick nose of blackberries, blueberries with fine caramel, vanilla. Ridiculously delicious, big in mouth but non alcohol detected. Big and killing finish, far better and accessible than the 06 Raven Grenache had 2 weeks before
Easily one of the best wines I have every had. Uncorked for six hours, and then decanted right before serving. Nose was spectacular, full of dark fruits. Deep dark color, and with a finish that lasted forever. The somelier said he could smell it from across the room. My first SQN red, and hopefully not the last.
Words cannot not describe how much of a treat this wine truly is, especially if you are a fan of great syrah. This is by far in the Top 10 of wines that I have been lucky enough to experience over the years. This bottle was opened for 4 hours, and then decanted a 1/2 hour before serving. The first thing you'll notice is the ridiculous, dark, almost black ink color. WOW is this wine dark. On the nose, tons of dark black fruits: blackberry, plum, blueberry, and spice, with hints of tar and rubber. Also slight hints of a sweet vanilla oak. On the palate, this is smooth and elegant, with hints of blueberry, chocolate, creamy dark fruits, slightly shy of candied, and a hint of anise. All I can say is that this is a huge wine, and is not for the faint at heart. The finish lingers for a minute plus, and this wine is just a pure joy. I would recommend holding this wine for another 3-5 years plus, as I think it will be peaking after that timeframe. If you are going to drink it now, I would suggest a long decant at cellar temp prior to serving. In trying this wine at such a young stage, I was expecting it to be a little rough around the edges, showing a lot of alcohol, and harsh tannins. Not the case at all, and well deserved kudos go to Manfred ad Elaine for crafting such another outstanding and unique wine! Cheers! 95-96 points
Duck Dinner; 11/5/2009-11/6/2009 (Peter Pratt's Inn): I decanted this for 24hrs hoping to take the edge off and fool some of the Francophiles, it didn't really work. Someone actually guessed SQN Raven Syrah. Anyway, it poured black, was stuffed with black fruit, black olives, huge nose of burnt rubber, and strong notes of licorice. This is a big, bad wine and has some serious grip to it. The finish went on and on. Really nice.
The most interesting and enlighting wine of the night for me. Dark dark purple in color almost black, I swear light probably can't pass through this puppy. Nose jumps of black pepper, to a point where W+A suggested it was causing him to sneeze Also, I got a lot of oak, blue fruits, vanilla and whiff of alcohol. I thought to myself, here we go another cali bomb tasting like sugar water that will kill my palate. To my pleasant surprise, this wine was so balanced and elegant on the palate. The fruit came across in a laser beam with such precision. The tannins and alcohol were completely hidden by the elegance and fruit. The finish was similar to jumping in an abyss, there is no end. Very educational for me. 96++
Bottle opened for 3 hours and then decanted. Still very young. Dark purple/black color. Powerful wine with flavors of plums, blackberries, white pepper, petrol, gunmetal, mineral, tar and briar. Alcohol still needs time to burn off, but should balance out after a few years of cellaring. I would say it is a notch below the recent SQN Syrahs of Midnight Oil, Just for the Love of It, Papa, Poker Face and Atlantis. However, still a great wine in its own right. Circle back in 3 years. 96+
This wine was tasted in double-blind fashion, generously contributed to our Friday tasting by one of the tasters. Opaque purple and lacking nothing in intensity, this wine sports aromas and gustatory elements of assorted black fruits, coffee, bacon and minerals. Full-bodied on the palate, with low acidity and massive ripe tannins. Despite the power of the wine, the mouth texture is silky and the finish goes on forever. Amazing juice! Drink now-12/15.
Purple and opaque, huge nose of blueberry, blackberry, tar, a touch of orange blossom, and a full robust palate that hides the 15%+ alcohol, and has good acidity to give it lift and balance. Only going to get better and one of the most light on it's feet SQN Syrahs I have had. Opened and left to breathe for 24 hours. Only upside here.
Way to young at this point. Don't drink the around an open flame. Had the massive depth and complexity similar to other SQN syrahs. Massive blueberry, chocolate and mocha tones. One lone glass was on the table around about 5 hours of air time, was drinking beautifully until psmith bamboozled me and drank it all
Good syrah, but nowhere near the heights achieved by previous sqn's. At 30 bucks a bottle I'd buy it all day long but not at these prices. Just doesn't have the balance, nose, or mouthfeel I'm used to.
This bottle was opened and then poured right into the decanter. Nose initially was very gamey and beefy but blew off to reveal more blue and black fruits. After an hour of air, the nose begins to reveal cracked peppercorn, smoked bacon, crushed gravel, extremely perfume all intertwined with blue and black fruits. This wine is very cotie rotie like with smoked meats, touches of minerality and integrated fruits. Palate is has touches of brambly black fruits, boysenberries, caramelized meats, white pepper and toasty oak. Creamy red fruits start to evolve on the notes giving it hints of sweet fruit. Palate is very balanced, big bold fruits that are not jammy in any way. Don't get me wrong, this is a huge wine but very balanced and round. Nose begins to gain more pronounced notes of smoked meats and honey baked ham. Palate is big, in check and bold, tremendous wine.
Deep and dark, brooding yet inviting. Lots of dark fruit, lead, flowers, meat and asphalt. Easy to drink, hard to contemplate where this is heading. Not quite fully integrated, but amazingly interesting, thoughtful and enjoyable.
15.5% alcohol. not decanted at first, but about a half an hour after opening...splash. the air has been inconsequential. i think i have a pretty well established rep as a SQN fan, longtime mailing list customer, personal friend of manfred, you name it. i am not happy about the direction the syrahs have taken in 05 and 06. i know that more estate grapes, i.e. eleven confessions is dominating these blends, and maybe even a change in winemaking strategy, e.g. to wines that require cellaring to show well? i'm unclear on that, but i fear it. in the past, both the syrahs and grenaches seemed to defy logic, being open and delicious virtually from the get go, even the extended aging examples. they never seem to shut down. i'm tepid on the atlantis syrah, but i'm almost hostile toward this wine. bitter tannins, clumpy fruit, extremely sweet/confectionary, angular. man...it pains me to type this review. i have enough of this to exercise some patience, but if this were the first/only SQN of your life, one would never understand the fuss. i'm confused by the performance of this.
Decanted for two hours at cellar temp. Quite lovely. Smoky, meaty and oaky on the nose with a hint of menthol. The palate is a cavalcade of juicy red and black fruit, stunningly light on its feet with a nice dose of acidity. I expected this to be bigger, hotter, meatier and chunkier, but the beauty of this wine is its subtlety. More savory than sweet and more red than black, the more time I spend with this the more obvious the structure is, especially without food. Still, for a large wine the sheer genius of this is the utter silken texture and polish of the tannins. Utterly delicious.
IS SINE QUA NON THE GREATEST WINE IN THE WORLD? We go to school to find out!; 5/22/2009-5/25/2009: By far the darkest SQN of the night. Pop and pour A nose of jolly rancherish watermelon at it's peak with ripe crushed grapes and strawberries and some 5 spice. Interestingly enough, the first wine i've had with a really pronounced "grapey smell". There is a bit of that toasted oak with vanilla on the nose but it's overwhelmed by the fruits. The most full bodied wine of the night, mouth coating freshly picked raspberries with a well balanced portion of vanilla, vegetation, earth, and a very very small hint of gamey meat. Tart fresh cherries on a really really really long finish with acidity to match. I think this wine will be going places in a few years, right now it's a bit young... all the flavors haven't balanced completely with each other and the fruit isn't as pronounced as the vanilla and vegetation.
Huge, dense, intense, loaded with dark fruits complicated by scorched earth, vanilla, and floral aromas. So powerful on the nose I expected a syrupy texture but it was elegant despite its weight. Still very primary and needs a couple of years but this is heading to 97-98 point territory for me.
decanted for four hours, then tasted over a couple hours more. i had been waiting to pop one of these and the time was right. deep dark purple. killer nose of dark fruits, game meats, spiciness and volcanic smokiness - really. palate is huge but fairly well balanced for a young syrah. fruits, earth, tannins and spice all fit together nicely and continually coat the palate and keep coming. the finish lingers seemingly forever - 60 seconds plus on this night. absolutely great fun. it will be fun to taste these over the long haul. i have a feeling that this wine will get better and better.
Wowzers! Dark purple (but not as dark as the 2005 Alban Lorainne). Incredible nose of ground black pepper, ripe plums, and blueberries. Full-bodied and extracted. Finish lasts 45 sec. Drinking GREAT now... why wait?
First SQN red and tasted along with Saxum, Linne Calodo, and Carlisle. Expectations were high and met somewhat. Definitely a memorabe wine but it did not overwhelm the competition, in fact the Saxum Bone Rock 2005 was the WOTN. The Raven did have a tremendous and unique nose of spice (clover?) along with dark fruits and a mineral component. Palate carried through with good mouthfeel and soft tannins. The finish was good but not as memorable as others have found. Will certainly experiment with decanting of future bottles.
expectations were high, the wine, dark, good nose, flavors are different with each sip as the wine swirls, leather, tin, roasted oats, meat, dark fruit, gives the taste buds a rush that begs to be repeated. I would drink more of this than I should if I could
Very aromatic and expressive with quite a bit of blueberry, bing cherry and blackberry aromas. Nice acidity, and the tannins were definitely present, but very refined. Certainly a "wow" wine with a certain amount of elegance--should get better with a bit of age.