2005 Sine Qua Non The 17th Nail in My Cranium & The Naked Truth Assortment Sine Qua Non, Sta. Rita Hills, California, USA
100 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (August 2009)
The 17th Nail In My Cranium Syrah: The 2005 Syrah The 17th Nail In My Cranium, a blend of 96.5% Syrah and 3.5% Viognier which is aged 38 months prior to bottling. (I always wonder what Marcel Guigal would think of a wine like this which seems to tip its hat in the direction of Cote Rotie and then goes into high gear and clearly says, “I’m just something very different, but thanks for even thinking of that appellation while smelling and tasting me.”) Black as a moonless night, the 2005 17th Nail reveals a stunning nose of spring flowers intermixed with creme de cassis, blackberries, charcoal, graphite, and hints of lard and barbecue spices. Dense, with an endless (and I mean endless) finish, remarkable purity, and layer upon layer of flavor, but no sense of heaviness or flabbiness, this prodigious Syrah should evolve for 15 or more years.
97 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (August 2011)
The Naked Truth Grenache: Manfred Krankl’s obvious love for his wife Elaine seems very apparent with the 2003, followed by the 2004 Ode to E, and here again, a sketch of his wife unclothed (sorry, back view only) appears on the label of the 2005. (I only know it’s his wife because I asked him!) A blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah (any Mourvedre added to the Grenache is now a thing of the past), this wine, made totally from the 11 Confessions Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, is young, yet like all the SQN wines, approachable in its glorious display of fruit, purity and freshness. Dense purple, and offering up notes of cranberries, pepper, boysenberries, raspberries and cherries, a cornucopia of red and black fruits emerge from the aromatics, gently dosed with some spicy oak and Provencal herbs. Full-bodied, gutsy and fleshy, with loads of glycerin, a heady mouthfeel and a long finish, this wine has beautiful freshness and delineation, and should continue to drink well for 10-12+ more years. How did this label get past the puritanical bureaucrats at BATF?
97 Josh Raynolds, Vinous (November 2009)
The 17th Nail In My Cranium Syrah: (includes 3.5% viognier; 38 months in barrels) Glass-staining purple. Hypnotic bouquet of blackberry, boysenberry, black pepper, olive tapenade and smoked meat, with a strong note of potpourri gaining with aeration. Deep, sweet and remarkably pure, offering broad dark berry and cherry compote flavors, with exotic floral and spice notes adding complexity. Becomes chewier on the finish but yields none of its sweet, palate-saturating fruit.
96 Josh Raynolds, Vinous (November 2009)
The Naked Truth Grenache: (includes 10% syrah; made with all estate fruit and 38% whole clusters; aged for 38 months in barrel) Dark purple color. Powerful scents of blueberry, blackcurrant, cracked pepper and fruitcake, with a suave undertone of violet and smoky minerals. Very spicy in the mouth, displaying concentrated, mineral-driven dark fruit preserve flavors and a velvety texture. The peppery note returns on the finish, which is tightly focused and extremely persistent, featuring an exotic note of blood orange. This superb wine is very primary today and would benefit from decanting or a few more years of cellaring.