Today, we are delighted to release the highly sought-after Sine Qua Non 2017s, which are perennially extremely popular due to their uber scores. The 2017 vintage in California was one of extreme heat, which for SQN has resulted in intense body and power. As a result, in 2017 they have received amongst their highest ever barrel scores, which will make them sell out items. These are given unique names every vintage and in 2017 their scores are exceptional. ‘The Hated Hunter’ Syrah has been awarded 97-100 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate, which she says, ‘pings exuberantly out of the glass with a veritable POP… finishing very long and perfumed.’ She has also awarded ‘The Gorgeous Victim’ Grenache 98-100 points, calling it ‘Just. Magic…explodes from the glass with the most incredible perfume: red roses, cinnamon stick, lilacs and crushed black cherries with chocolate box, aniseed, garrigue and dried herbs plus gentle waves of lavender, dusty soil and smoked meats.’ These could be the first Non EBAs (extended barrel age) to achieve two perfect scores, the finest to date. These are priced today at £220 per bottle, which presents a great way to enjoy Sine Qua Non at a stunning price point. To put this in perspective, the 100-point EBAs start at £650 and rise to £1,000. As one bottle is never enough of this powerhouse wine, we are pleased to offer a special price of £1,250 for three bottles of each, six bottles in total.

Sine Qua Non make less than 4,000 cases a year, split between numerous wines, deriving from several vineyards. Most Sine Qua Non bottles see 18-24 months in oak, however this is extended to 40 months in new oak barrel for the Extended Barrel Aged (EBA) wines. These are mostly derived from the vineyard named ‘Eleven Confessions’ which is cited in the Santa Rita Hills and was the first vineyard purchased by Manfred Krankl. Each year, he makes only one EBA Syrah and one EBA Grenache, he uses a variable composition of these then to make a collector’s case. The Non EBA wines are also stunning propositions, sourced from the same vineyards and leading plots. They undergo less age in oak, but no less of Manfred’s Austrian vine love. He treats them with the same care and passion as his EBA wines, maximising potential. It is noteworthy that these receive scores every year that surpass other leading Californian wines.

Sine Qua Non was created in 1994 by Manfred Krankl, an Austrian immigrant, as a hobby. The reception for this wine named ‘Queen of Spades’ was extraordinary and in 1995 he released the ‘Queen of Hearts’, of which only 24 cases were made: a bottle sold in auction in 2014 for $45,000. The winemaking facility is based in Ventura, close to Santa Barbara, where the grapes are grown. The wines are often compared to Screaming Eagle and Harlan, however, Sine Qua Non focuses on Grenache and Syrah, although Mourvedre, Rousanne and Viognier play a supporting role. Manfred is a Rhone Ranger at heart, focused on creating what he describes as sexy wines which are peerlessly rich, elegant, harmonious and complex. Manfred works with tiny batches, passed through a gravity flow and only starts fermentation with natural yeasts. It is challenging to describe a bottle of Sine Qua Non, it has to be experienced. However, Sine Qua Non is a wine many collectors claim is an essential element in their cellar and the name, which means ‘absolutely necessary’, haughtily suggests just that.

Most wineries focus on a single wine with a single label, to achieve shelf recognition, so people know what to look for. However, Sine Qua Non seldom makes it onto a shelf, few collectors will part with a bottle. Manfred strongly believes that each vintage is completely different and as such each wine should have a unique name.

Only 1,800 cases and 600 magnums were produced of the Syrah 2017 and 1,225 cases and 600 magnums of the Grenache. We expect demand to be high for these potential perfect scoring Sine Qua Non masterpieces.

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