Manfred Krankl über seine neuen Jahrgänge von Sine Qua Non: Well, my friend, the story at our little winery continues. Since we feel we can never properly thank you enough, we will not only end this news bulletin / offering letter with a hearty thank you, we’ll also begin it with a big, cheery T.Y. 2013 Syrah and Grenache. Although generally speaking I find this kind of talk rather trite and most definitely uninspired, I will engage in it a bit anyway because we, in California, have clearly been blessed by Mother Nature over the last couple of years. 2011 originally felt like the odd man out, but even that vintage produced rather giving and even some profound wines in the right hands. 2012, 2013 and 2014 have all been absolutely stellar from the perspective of weather / growing conditions (and although too early to fully call, 2015 looks like it will be incredible as well - we could have used a little more water in the winter, but the growing season since bud break has been rather ideal.) The 2013 vintage has brought forth wines that are right up the SQN alley. They are perfectly ripe (despite what a few nincompoops seem to believe fruit for great wine DOES have to be completely / fully ripe. Not over ripe, not raisined, not artificially mucked with, but ripe, ripe, RIPE nonetheless), unctuous and sexily flavorful, but they also have backbone and structure and verve and muscle and a surprisingly lively, almost playful personality for such complex, clearly age worthy wines. Now if you have been a SQNer for a while and as such have received more than a couple of these communiqués you may recall and be aware of the fact that I have often (maybe always) referred to Syrah as a male and Grenache as a female. It is tough to precisely and fully explain why, but it has never changed and I still feel that way now. If anything this may be even more evident (to me, Manfred, anyway) with these majestic 2013s. So we decided to just go whole hog - or maybe another way of saying it would be we have gone Prince (the musician) and named them with a symbol (if God willing the pleasure police at the TTB will allow us.) So the 2013 Syrah shall be called ♂ and the 2013 Grenache shall carry the symbol ♀ (can’t wait to see how the restaurant wine lists will deal with that.) Initially there was the fancy consideration to call the Syrah Ish and the Grenache Ishsha after reading the following (see below here), but it was decided to stick to the symbolism no matter how fitting this writing seemed. I don’t recall who wrote it, but it was a woman of terrific intellect: There’s one Southern phrase I’m quite drawn to - “Steel Magnolia.” I love the phrase, because to me it speaks to the essence of womanhood. The image melds beauty with perseverance, softness with backbone, delicacy with durability and sweetness with stamina. It reminds me of what the first man exclaimed when he saw the first woman. When Adam laid his eyes on her, he broke into an exuberant, spontaneous poem: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman (Ishsha), because she was taken out of Man (Ish.) The first man called himself “Ish” and the woman “Ishsha.” This appears to be an extremely clever and profound play on words. The sound of these two Hebrew words is nearly identical - Ishsha merely adds a feminine ending - but the two words have a complementary meaning. Ish comes from the root meaning “strength” while Ishsha comes from the root meaning “soft.” The implication becomes clearer when we observe the biblical meaning of a man’s “strength.” Strength refers to a man’s manhood - his potency, virility, and procreative power (Ps. 105:36; Prov. 31:3; Gen. 49:3.) By contrast, a woman’s “softness” has to do with her pregnability, penetrability, and vulnerability (in a very positive sense.) One commentator has suggested English equivalents of “Piercer” and “Pierced One.” The bodies of male and female reflect this idea. A man’s body is built to move toward the woman. The woman’s body is built to receive the man. But the pattern goes beyond the mere physical difference between men and women to encompass the totality of their essence: the man was created to joyfully and actively initiate and give. The woman was created to joyfully and actively respond and receive. The woman is the “soft” one - the receiver, responder, and relater. The man is the “strong” one with greater capacity to initiate, protect, and provide. Each is a perfect counterpart to the other. Yes, you don’t know these particular wines from the great year 2013, but you have got to admit there is something very fitting for Syrah being thought of as a male and Grenache as a female. The Syrah is a powerhouse for sure, but an elegant one. It is like a hypothetical crossing of George Clooney and Mike Tyson... dressed in a dang near black, custom made tuxedo. All power and strength and muscle and sinew and beautifully proportioned, but also with smooth moves and a suave, charming, deep and sophisticated personality. The ultimate rarity = body AND brains. The Grenache, no doubt, is very much like the above mentioned Ishsha (lady.) This wine is just so, so welcoming and soft and subtle and joyful and graceful and inviting and interesting. Although it too is plenty ripped and equipped to be here for the long haul. The bouquet is expressive and even a little showy (in a positive sense), full of chalk and damp earth and crushed berry compote, flowers, some moss and just ripe Grenache fruit with supple, smooth, long, long tannins. If Humphrey Bogart were here today and looking for a female partner again... he surely would try and snatch this Grenache. We have used a fair amount of whole clusters in the fermentation of both of these wines, albeit more in the Grenache. It gave both wines a certain savoriness and spiciness that gives an extra dimension. What we’ve also got for you today is our two Eleven Confessions vineyard Estate wines (Syrah and Grenache from the 2011 vintage), both to be called PATINE as well as our delightful 2013 White Cuvee. The off-the-charts sexy Syrah is in fact a cuvee of 93% Syrah, 4% Petite Sirah and 1.6% of the white Roussanne and 1.4% of Viognier. We used 22% whole clusters when fermenting this majesty and 63% new French barrels were employed to raise this beauty, most from the Allier and Troncaise forests. The wine spent some 40 months in its elaborate prisons/barriques before we finally bottled it for your enjoyment. I bet you’ve heard this more than necessary or kind, 2011 was an unusually cool and to me - at the time - rather distressing growing season, but the wines that came from it surprised everyone including me. This baby is simply dead on. My notes read “I really, really like this. The wine has structure and backbone, but is very silky and long and feels like a balm for the mouth. Way better than I ever thought any 2011 could become and it just gets better and better as the night wears on. If you drink it reasonably soon, as you darn well should, a decently long decant will surely be rewarded.” It is an incredibly powerful wine that behaves elegantly and with delightful grace. The Grenache isn’t exactly a slouch either. It is made up of 78% Grenache, 21% Syrah and 1% Viognier...the flutes of the orchestra. We used 25% whole clusters when fermenting this queen. To emphasize or underline if you will the gorgeous Grenache fruit we only used some 11% new French wood here and most of the barrels were larger than barriques. Even concrete vessels were employed. This darling spent +/- 33 months in its training camp before we pulled the trigger on bottling it. I always think of Grenache as female and this wine definitely fits that thought process. Although the wine flaunts a well over 15% alcohol, it is curvaceous, supple, alluring and filled to the brim with charm and winking eyes. I think of her as Syrah’s beautifully patinaed wife. 2013 was an outstanding grape growing year, no matter how you look at it and it brought us our amazing White Wine, one we named RÉSISTÉ. To non SQNers it may appear to be an unusual cuvee of 45%Roussanne, 26% Chardonnay, 13.5% Petite Manseng, 10.5% Viognier and 5% Marsanne. Most of the fruit was carefully grown at our home Estate vineyards “Eleven Confessions” and “Cumulus.” The Chardonnay and Marsanne come from the Bien Nacido vineyard in Santa Maria where my longtime friend Chris Hammell meticulously looks after them in accordance with my whims. This wine too leaves nothing unsaid and if there is such a thing, it is a classic SQN White Wine. A gorgeously youthful greenish-golden color and almost dessert-wine-like nose put forth promises that minutes later are held and confirmed by the unforgiving palate. Although this hussy is refreshing, lively, sprite and even a little spicy, at its core it is all creamy, lacey, seductive and clean and wonderfully long... No communication, no offering letter, no SQN story will ever go out without Elaine and I sending a hearty, deeply felt THANK YOU. It is hard to put into words just how grateful and happy we are that you and so many other wonderfully warm, caring, interesting wine lovers have supported us for so long. It is almost a miracle and has allowed us to do what we love to do and your kindness continues to inspire us and keeps us trying harder and harder every year. You are a hero to us and once again thank you very, very much. Elaine & Manfred Krankl A couple of quick P.S.’s from Manfred: ♠ As you probably know I had a darn motorcycle accident at the end of last year (dumb? YES) and it messed me up pretty good. But I have been home since January, continue my home rehab process and I am getting better all the time. It’s been a grand learning experience for me in many ways. I love being back at work... which I have been almost since the time I did get back home and I have learned that I love Elaine even more than I ever realized. She takes great care of me in every respect and treats me like the puppy...that...I am clearly not. ♠ A man who was not as lucky as me was the great musician LOU REED. He passed away on October 27, 2013. Like Dennis Hopper, he too had a big influence on me. Like “Easy Rider,” Lou’s music, his wanting to be wild and different and counter-culture etc. etc. has always been appealing to me. Warhol, Velvet Underground, Joe Dallessandro... all were a little scary because of their very differentness. It is all about getting better with age, with knocks, with hardships and weakness in the bones... like a bull after the picadores got to him. Some bleed dry, others get tougher, more calculating, precise and smart. Everyone at some point has to kiss their ass goodbye. It would seem legends - like Lou - would be around forever to be our guiding light... provide courage and strength... but everyone goes and we have to steer our ship more and more alone... in the dark.
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