The intense, distinctive wines of Elaine and Manfred Krankl are highly sought after for good reason: they are some of the very best wines being produced in the United States. And though the wines are already of the highest quality and sell out quickly each vintage, the Krankls continue to strive to make improvements. For those who have had the pleasure (and luck) to taste these wines over the years, one can notice even more refinement and harmony in each new release.
Sine Qua Non was created after the 1994 harvest of a Bien Nacido Syrah which was named The Queen of Spades. Manfred feels strongly that each year, each vintage, is a completely unique wine and thus he gives each wine a unique name. He also creates the artwork for each new label himself. Previously, Manfred had made wines with Bryan Babcock and John Alban. The basic wines have always been a white blend of Chardonnay, Roussanne and Viognier and a red wine based on Syrah plus some Grenache. There are at times small quantities of Rose and a Grenache-based red. They also embarked on a fantastic project with the renowned winemaker Alois Kracher of Austria. The wines are called Mr. K and represent sweet wines made in the world’s greatest styles: Eiswein, Vin de Paille and TBA.
Sine Qua Non has its own winemaking facility in Ventura, not far from the Santa Barbara vineyards where the fruit is sourced from the region’s best vineyards. In the last few years Elaine and Manfred have begun creating their own vineyards dedicated to Rhône varieties and now their Cumulus and Eleven Confessions estate vineyards contribute the majority of the fruit for their wines. Their winemaking philosophy is to work in very small batches, utilizing gravity flow and natural yeasts (unless a fermentation problem is anticipated). They implement long lees aging for the whites and repeated racking for the reds to open them up. This is a simplified explanation of a very dedicated and artistic approach to winemaking. The wines are at once very rich and elegant, superbly balanced and thoroughly harmonious with food, never overwhelming.