Sine Qua Non Winery
Sine Qua Non was created after the 1994 harvest of a Bien Nacido Syrah which was named The Queen of Spades. Manfred feels strongly that each year, each vintage, is a completely unique wine and thus he gives each wine a unique name. He also creates the artwork for each new label himself. Previously, Manfred had made wines with Bryan Babcock and John Alban and still sources much of his fruit from the Alban vineyard. The basic wines have always been a white blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier and a red wine based on Syrah plus some Grenache. There are at times small quantities of Rose and a Grenache-based red. They have also embarked on a fantastic project with the renowned winemaker Alois Kracher of Austria. The wines are called Mr. K and represent sweet wines made in the world's greatest styles: Eiswein, Vin de Paille and TBA. The next wines to come out will be dry red and white wines from Austria under the Schwarz label.
Sine Qua Non has its own winemaking facility in Ventura, not far from the Santa Barbara vineyards where the fruit is sourced from the region's best vineyards. In the last few years Elaine and Manfred have begun creating their own vineyards dedicated to Rhone varietals. Their winemaking philosophy is to work in very small batches, gravity flow, natural yeasts (unless a fermentation problem is anticipated), long lees aging for the whites and repeated racking for the reds to open them up. This is a simplified explanation of a very dedicated and artistic approach to winemaking. The wines are at once very rich and elegant, superbly balanced and thoroughly harmonious with food, never overwhelming.
- whisperin E
- This their current white wine blend. The E is for Elaine Krankl. 50% Roussanne, 31% Viognier, 19% Chardonnay. Mostly from the Alban Vineyard with a touch from the Stolpman Vineyard.
- Rien Ne Va Plus
- 100% Roussanne left on its original lees for an incredible 26 months. Krankl says this wine is all about texture. PARKER: “One of the most amazing dry whites I have ever tasted…it is undeniably the greatest New World expression of Roussanne made to date.”
- hollerin M
- 100% Pinot Noir form the Shea Vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Oregon enjoyed a sensational vintage in 2002. PARKER: “Absolutely mind-blowing Pinot, one of the most compelling examples I have ever tasted from Oregon.”
- Just for the love of it
- The 2002 Syrah release is 96% Syrah, 2% Grenache, 2% Viognier from Alban, Bien Nacido, Shadow Canyon, Stolpman and White Hawk vineyards.
- SQN Grenache
- This is their 2002 Grenache offering made with 20% Syrah from the Alban, Stolpman and Shadow Canyon vineyards.
- The Noble Man
- This is the Sauternes-style wine affected by noble rot (botrytis). This year the varietal is Chardonnay, a switch from last year’s Viognier, all from the Alban Vineyard. Chardonnay has thinner skins and is thus more easily affected by botrytis. 11.2% Alcohol – 11 grams per liter of acidity – 25% Residual Sugar
- The Straw Man
- This is their Vin de Paille. Semillon from the Brander Vineyard. The carefully-harvested clusters are air-dried for forty days. This wine is always the richest of the three. 4 tons of fruit yielded only 1500 half bottles which translates into 5.6 pounds of fruit for each half bottle produced. 10% Alcohol – 8.7 grams per liter of acidity – 37.1% Residual Sugar
- The Ice Man
- Gewurztraminer from the Babcock Vineyard. Krankl says this wine is more intense than the 2001. 12% Alcohol – 7.7 grams per liter of acidity – 25.7% Residual Sugar