Letter from SINE QUA NON....'Our wines were born of pure passion and a wishful dream – to make something that is so distinctive and so delicious as to make it indispensable to wine lovers the world over. Clearly a rather lofty, even unrealistic notion, but one we decided to pursue anyway. And so with the 1994 vintage started , made a whopping four and a half barrels of Syrah that we called “Queen of Spades.”
That first wine was a much greater hit than we could have ever imagined and it literally changed our life. What started as a hobby, more or less on a whim, has become not only our full time occupation, but indeed our life. It is now a part of just about everything we do. We are humbled by all the positive feedback we continuously receive by people like you as well as critics and journalists from all corners of the earth. We take that as our mandate to forever strive to get better, to never compromise and to stay true to ourselves and by extension to all those who have supported us and believed in us since those first 100+ cases of wine left our cellar…now so many years ago.
Although at heart we are a Rhone (Ranger) house where Syrah and Grenache play top fiddle… supported by Mourvedre, Rousanne and Viognier, we have an aversion to labels and dogmas or mindless ritual that are sometimes called tradition. And so we also grow non-Rhone-origin grapes such as Petite Manseng, Touriga Nacional, Graciano and Petite Sirah. Varieties we believe can work well on a Rhone canvas.
We are not working on a grape growing or winemaking THESIS. Instead we want all of our efforts to be reflected in every glass of SQN. And so our goal has been and always will be to understand Mother Nature’s often oblique ways and (re)act accordingly so that we may create wines that express all that Nature has so generously given us. And all that this beautifully warm and sunny place called California has to offer. Wines that speak to the heart and the mind both. Wines that are ripe and flavorful, but also graceful and balanced. Wines that are perfectly enjoyable and delicious young, but that will age and show a new and interesting personality with each passing year. Wines that surprise with each sip and where the last drop – not the first sip – was the best one. Wines that make you smile and happy and appreciate all that is lovely.
Wines that make you sense they were crafted by people who loved making them. With that we hope you’ll join our vinous family and thanks again for looking us up.'
Jeb DunnuckOne of the finest Grenaches to ever pass my lips is the 2016 Grenache Dirt Vernacular and it's 78% Grenache, 11.5% Mourvedre, 7% Touriga Nacional, and the rest Petite Sirah. Reminding me of an old vine Grenache cuvee from the Maurel brothers in Chateauneuf du Pape, it boasts a huge nose of black raspberries, kirsch liqueur, graphite, ground herbs, and pepper. This is one of those wines that offers incredible intensity and depth, yet still just glides over the palate with no sense of heaviness whatsoever. Full-bodied, rich, layered, and pure, it's a riveting example of Grenache that could come from nowhere else. Drink it any time over the coming 15+ years.
Wine AdvocateThe 2016 Grenache Dirt Vernacular wafts from the glass with heady aromas of kirsch, plums and Griotte cherries that mingle with nuances of sweet spice, rose petals and pepper. It saw 34% new oak (along with 53% used oak and 9% concrete), but it's hardly noticeable—much less so than in some of Sine Qua Non's debut Grenache bottlings. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and chewy, with tangy acids despite its considerable power and ripeness, with a deep, layered mid-palate and a long, lusty finish. It's an eclectic blend of 78% Grenache, 11.5% Mourvèdre, 7% Touriga Nacional and 2.5% Petite Sirah that was fermented with 43% whole cluster—whole cluster being largely reserved for the Grenache component. The blend is dominated by estate fruit, but some 9% came from the Krankl's blocks at Bien Nacido Vineyard that are farmed to their specifications. 1,208 cases and 600 magnums were produced.