(Rating 97 - 99). Tons of red, blue, and black fruits as well as peppery herbs and liquid violet-like nuances emerge from the 2020 Syrah Distenta II, a full-bodied, concentrated, remarkably balanced barrel sample that's based on 83% Syrah, 7.5% Grenache, and the rest Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Muscat, and Petit Manseng. I love its mid-palate, it has ripe, sweet tannins, and a gorgeous finish. It's unquestionably a brilliant wine in the making. I’ve been visiting with Sine Qua Non for a decade now, and I never cease to be amazed at the quality consistently coming from this address. In addition, Krankl somehow manages to deliver brilliance with just about any variety out there, and whether it’s Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Touriga Nacional, Roussanne, or even Petit Manseng, you can expect a truly riveting wine, as well as a wine with singular characteristics. Unfortunately, it’s all too common, particularly for those who don’t drink the wines often, to assume all California cult wines are over-ripe or heavy. The reality, however, couldn’t be more different, and great wines deliver intensity and depth while staying light on their feet and elegant. And these latest releases from Sine Qua Non are great wines. Reviewed by Jeb Dunnuck, Issue date: August 2022. Drinking window: n/a.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate
The recently bottled 2020 Syrah Distenta II is a blend of 82.9% Syrah, 7.5% Grenache, 3.9% Mourvèdre, 3.4% Petite Sirah and 2.3% white grapes (1.5% Muskat and 0.8% Petit Manseng, to be precise). It comes entirely from estate vineyards: The Third Twin (43%), Eleven Confessions (32%), Cumulus (21%) and Molly Aïda (3%). It was fermented with 16% whole clusters and matured for about 23 months in 66% new French oak. "I like whole cluster less on Syrah," Manfred Krankl explains. "It can be more herbal. But these 2020s are much more fleshy and unctuous, so it shows better." Opaque ruby in color, it opens significantly as it spends time in the decanter, unfolding to cassis, crème de violette, coffee and warm chocolate. The palate embodies weightless power, its concentrated, graphite-laced flavors carried by a velvety, seamless frame, while soft bursts of acidity highlight floral perfume on the long finish. Still very tightly coiled, its intense, latent flavors suggest this has much more to give as it unwinds in bottle. 1,999 cases and 600 magnums will be released in the spring of 2023. Reviewed by Erin Brooks, Issue date: March 2023. Drinking window: 2025 - 2045.
(Rating 96 - 98). The 2020 Syrah Distenta II has turned out beautifully. Rich and ample, with tremendous depth, the 2020 dazzles from start to finish. Black cherry, plum, licorice, incense and mocha all meld together effortlessly. The 16% whole clusters are present, but nearly buried by the sheer richness of the fruit. Dollops of Muscat and Petit Manseng (instead of Roussanne) add an exotic flair. It's a stunning 2020. I tasted it from tank, fully assembled, just prior to bottling. Reviewed by Antonio Galloni, Issue date: June 2022. Drinking window: 2024 - 2034.