Saturday, December 15, 2007

2002 Sine Qua Non "Just For The Love Of It" Syrah (California, USA)

By golly, have I been on a roll. My FIFTH Sine Qua Non in a little over a month, this time courtesy of Bennett Traub and his wonderful wife Linda who hosted Emma and myself for a farewell dinner at their house before we jaunted off to our new home in England.

Now before I get into my tasting note, I wanted to get out in the open my thoughts on "100 Point" wines. This wine was my second Robert Parker 100 Pointer, the other being the 2003 Sine Qua Non "Poker Face". My opinion has always been that there is no such thing as a "100 Point" wine - I mean what happens if you come across a wine that is better? It's not like we live in Nigel Tufnel's world where we can go to eleven ("You're on ten on your guitar. Where do you go from there? Where? Nowhere. Exactly!"). As I pondered this conundrum for the umpteenth time Emma turned to me and said "Well if it's not 100 points, what is the fault [in the wine]?". Ummmmm...

The best thing about Sine Qua Non for me is that it has never (in my five bottles) not lived up to the hype. A dark, brilliant purple in the glass - a hint of what was to come. An exquisite, otherworldly nose that refused to be pinned down. Constantly evolving, first showing mouth-watering meatiness including bacon fat and beef blood, before pushing into more floral (violets) and peppery, coffee territory. In the mouth this was an extraordinarily well constructed wine - Manfred's talents as an artisan can not be exaggerated. The wine had linearity without being straight-forward, it was mouth coating without being unctuous, it hit on every spot on your palate and finished with a clear, ringing finish that I could still taste after the hour long car ride home. This wine had everything.

Still, I haven't got my head around the "100 Point" thing so let me do an artful dodge for now and give it a 99.999 which rounds up to 100. Ehh?!

Score: 99.999
Price: $630 (Saratoga Wine Exchange)

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