Sine Qua Non (also known as SQN), known for its Rhône style blends, has become an international sensation and one of the most collected California wine labels. Winemaker Manfred Krankl started with a vision and a lot of passion and turned it into an incredible success. Sine Qua Non wine is the only American label to have received eight perfect scores from critic Robert Parker. Their wines start in the high $100s and go well over $200 a bottle — if you can get one! Individuals can buy it only if they are on the 1,475-member mailing list (there’s a six-year wait to join). Not only do they sell out, but the wines skyrocket in price shortly after release, some selling for over $1,000 per bottle! The ultimate cult wines!!!
One of the world’s most creative wineries, Sine Qua Non is turning out world-class wines of extraordinary complexity and individuality.
The tasting experience..!
6 Glasses, 6 Wines, and a blind! Each guest will receive a pour of each label. In total, each guest will receive 15oz of SQN wine throughout the event. The experience is limited to 10 guests. ESB Founder Keith Robinson will lead guests through the tasting with notes supplied by SQN. After every 2 wines, there will be an intermezzo, with hors d’oeuvres, cheese, charcuterie, and house made breads & spreads that will compliment the wines (food by ESB Chef Amy Baer Robinson), permitting guests to enjoy every sip of these vintages, and allowing everyone to remain “steady” throughout the tasting. Guests will be able to revisit their favorites following the tasting with the remaining wine. Following the SQN wines, there will be a 6-8 bottle blind tasting featuring select winemakers whose style is similar to, or inspired by SQN. These are wines that deserve all the time in the world to enjoy, and with the blind tasting, we consider this an EPIC experience. Thus, there is no event duration. This is an experience to remember for a lifetime.
Do the producers pick the grapes at night under the full moon?
Do they make it under a secret oath or while sacrificing a small farm animal?
No one will ever know. But at least now, you have an opportunity that thousands of other wine enthusiasts could only dream of having… Join us, won’t you?
This experience has been made possible by Elaine and Manfred Krankl, who after speaking with Keith and Amy, graciously allocated wine from SQN to be shared with members of Epicurean Santa Barbara in support of our mission to offer unique and educational experiences for individuals in the Santa Barbara community. We thank them for their support! See the SQN website click here!
Featured SQN Wines
2011 Dark Blossom – Grenache
2011 Dark Blossom – Syrah
2014 Shakti – Grenache
2014 Piranha Waterdance – Syrah
2017 The Gorgeous Victim – Grenache
2017 The Hated Hunter – Syrah
What makes it a “cult wine”?
Sine Qua Non has sometimes been lumped with other California cult wines such as Screaming Eagle, Colgin and Harlan Estate by the media, but Krankl’s winery is the only winery that isn’t located in Napa Valley and doesn’t produce Cabernet Sauvignon. Instead it is from Ventura County, and the wines are from Rhone varietals. The wines demand Napa-level prices due to the limited production (just 3,500 cases a year) and the ridiculous scores by the critics. Manfred Krankl is one of the most revered winemakers in the world, and the wines he produces are considered to be the finest expression of native Rhône varietals in the new world. In total The Wine Advocate has rated 16 of his wines perfectly, with Guigal (31) and Chapoutier (34) receiving more. These ultra expensive, hard to find wines from California just have more customers than they do bottles to go around. SQN wines defy all odds and Manfred changes the names and varietals of the wines, the bottle shapes, and artistically expressive labels (which are designed by Krankl), every year.
Who is Mandred Krankl?
Our wines were born of pure passion and a wishful dream – to make something that is so distinctive and so delicious as to make it indispensable to wine lovers the world over. Clearly a rather lofty, even unrealistic notion, but one we decided to pursue anyway. And so, with the 1994 vintage started, made a whopping four and a half barrels of Syrah that we called ‘Queen of Spades.’
The dangerous life of Manfred Krankl, the man behind Sine Qua Non, the most coveted California wine you’ve never heard of (or, maybe you have)–turns out to be pretty seductive. In 1994 an Austrian émigré set about purchasing fruit from three leading ‘Rhone Ranger’ California vineyards – Alban, Stolpman, and Bien Nacido. Manfred Krankl, and his wife Elaine, then set about producing 100 cases of what is now the winery Sine Qua Non’s (SQN as it is often known) maiden vintage –named ‘Queen of Spades’. This predominantly Syrah based wine was the first in a now world renowned and sought after list of individually named, bottled and labelled cuvees primarily produced from the Syrah or Grenache varietals. The winery has also grown since 1994, and they now produce wine from grapes grown across four different California vineyards, with the main property situated in Ventura. Krankl’s eccentric, unique, and often brilliant approach to winemaking is one of the fundamental reasons that these wines are amongst the most collectable in the world; comparable to the very top wines produced in the Cote d’Or, Bordeaux and Napa Valley.
“That first wine was a much greater hit than we could have ever imagined and it literally changed our life. What started as a hobby, more or less on a whim, has become not only our full-time occupation, but indeed our life. It is now a part of just about everything we do. These first four and a half barrels have grown into four different vineyard sites, a new winery building and a simply amazing number of loyal wine lovers the world over. In fact, there are so very many lovely folks interested in our wines that we don’t have enough to go around and instead had to create something as annoying as a waiting list. We are humbled by all the positive feedback we continuously receive, as well as critics and journalists from all corners of the earth. We take that as our mandate to forever strive to get better, to never compromise and to stay true to ourselves and by extension to all those who have supported us and believed in us since those first 100+ cases of wine left our cellar…now so many years ago.”
“Although at heart we are a Rhone (Ranger) house where Syrah and Grenache play top fiddle…supported by Mourvedre, Roussanne and Viognier, we have an aversion to labels and dogmas, or mindless rituals that are sometimes called tradition. And so, we also grow non-Rhone-origin grapes such as Petit Manseng, Touriga Nacional, Graciano and Petite Sirah. Varieties we believe can work well on a Rhone canvas.” – Manfred & Elaine Krankl