New here: tips on SQN aging

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Matt Stenerson
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New here: tips on SQN aging

#1 Post by Matt Stenerson » March 12th, 2019, 4:22 pm

Hi everyone,

I am a college student who has been working on growing a small wine collection, and a couple nights ago, on something of an impulse, I bought several bottles of SQN in an online auction. I have been fascinated by this winery for quite some time and just couldn't resist any longer. I am thrilled and honored to have snagged two bottles of each of the following: the 2010 Stockholm Syndrome Grenache, the Stockholm Syndrome Syrah, and the 2012 Touche Syrah. However, aside from one experience as an adolescent, I have never drunk a wine this expensive, and would be hard pressed to find a justification for opening any of these. Plus, from what I hear, these wines are not yet mature, anyway.

I wanted to ask the forum about their experience with these wines in terms of their aging and their value. I have read conflicting things about them on this forum and CellarTracker. Although built for aging, many people report these wines to be over-the-hill by about 12 or so years. Is that true? Finally, if you had to guess, what would your expectations be of these wines' value projections? (I.e., are they likely to go up in value if I sit on them for 10 years?)

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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ky1em!ttskus
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#2 Post by ky1em!ttskus » March 12th, 2019, 5:01 pm

You have two of each? Open one of each now to celebrate the beginning of your downfall! [berserker.gif]

When I was in college, I was chasing first editions books. Wine came in grad school. But I still haven’t dropped the coin on SQN (finances change with kids).

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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#3 Post by Kirk.Grant » March 12th, 2019, 5:18 pm

If you have two of each...I agree. You should enjoy them in their youth and with some age. I've only been on the list since 2012 vintages but think there is real value in enjoying some of them now.
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#4 Post by R. Gaston » March 12th, 2019, 5:26 pm

Open one now, they should drink great!!
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#5 Post by Ron F r e e d » March 12th, 2019, 6:24 pm

A couple of weeks ago, a friend brought over a Dangerous Birds (2007) syrah, which was singing at PnP. The Patine (2011) grenache, however, had been decanted and was really a few years (or a few more hours in decanter) away from being at its prime.

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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#6 Post by J a y H a c k » March 12th, 2019, 6:35 pm

I discussed this issue two years ago by email with Elaine Krankl when I was serving a 2011 Dark Blossom and a 2012 Stock to Leo's Blind Tasting Group (NKA FKALBTG). She suggested at least a two hour decant and serve them cooler than normal for red wines. I seem to recall another email, which I cannot find, in which she suggested that I should either drink them young or leave them for 8-10 years.
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#7 Post by Kris Patten » March 12th, 2019, 6:52 pm

I would say with the Estate wines and these in particular they'll start a great drinking window from 2025 - 2030.

As to the value if no one ever drinks them they'll never become rarer, so I suggest you drink one of each.

If it were me, I'd drink a SS Syrah in 2020, a SS Grenache in 2022, a Touche in 2024 and repeat til 2030.

Better 1 day too young than 1 day too old.
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#8 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » March 12th, 2019, 6:57 pm

We had the 10 Stockholm Syndrome Syrah last Sept during my wife’s 50th. It was very good and I can’t imagine any reasonable preparation that would influence this wine at all, positively or negatively.

Might be a different story this time next decade.
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#9 Post by Steven Orloff » March 13th, 2019, 10:44 am

I have been on the list since 2006. I have never opened an extended aged bottle. With the regular bottling, either drink them young or wait 10 years. I found that at about 10-12 years they really come into their own.

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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#10 Post by Greg Ossi » March 13th, 2019, 11:15 am

My take is that they need about 10 years to really shine but can be drunk earlier with a few hours of decanting. I would not recommend drinking the EBAs early - my experience has been they are still to tightly wound in their youth. I have also found that most of the whites also benefit from aging - for me at least 4 or five years.

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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#11 Post by Seth L. » March 13th, 2019, 1:21 pm

I love SQN right out of the gate with a good decant - and if not, then I like at least 3 years - I feel it is in an awkward place between 1-4 years or so.... never allowed them to get much older than that though ;) but we will all have our own takes - pop one and see what you think. They are made to be enjoyed!!
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#12 Post by Bob Davis » March 13th, 2019, 1:57 pm

Just opened a 2006 white. Don't remember the name as it was a gift. A very good wine with some complexity. I'm pretty sure it was a blend of Rhone varietals.
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#13 Post by jeffruggels » March 13th, 2019, 1:58 pm

90% of what i drink is 10+ years old

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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#14 Post by jeffruggels » March 13th, 2019, 1:58 pm

SQN that is

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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#15 Post by Jonathan Sirot » March 13th, 2019, 2:00 pm

First welcome to the board !! Good question as I have been on the list around 14 years and have drank many. Most the wines I have drank are the regular bottlings but have had the extended barrel version about 6 times. In total agreement with others that most accept possibly the ebas drink very nice when young but do need two or three hours decant to be enjoyable. Even four hours would not be crazy as they are big wines. I have even had some at 5 years which might not be ideal which were not quite as good and I perhaps either forgot to decant or opened too young. Any of their wines should go 10-12 years or more. I would not go super long though as I would think that since they are high alcohol around 15.5% t0 16% if the fruit fades might be too hot. Also am thrilled to share something others might not. The natural tendency is to chase the Syrah and Grenache as those are their benchmarks. However if you ever see any of their Pinots. no longer made, they are incredibly good and almost nobody I know has tried them. They used fruit I believe from White Hawk Vineyard in Oregon and trucked them down.

Lastly in answer to your question: Are they likely to increase in value ?? Possibly, but quite likely not. If I recall the Stockholm is the extended barrel. I think it got 100 points. It originally cost I think $250. I am assuming unless you had no competition for it which I doubt that you paid roughly $700. Unless you got lucky and paid $500 0r $600 I would be surprised if you make money by holding it another six years and if so maybe a few hundred. The only ones that increase hugely are extremely old and rare ones before it was such a cult wine. Now the regular bottlings are easy to find at retail for slightly above release price and will never make you much I think. Only the 100 pointers, and only if you buy them at release prices will net you a little. I appreciate your zest and enthusiasm and desire to learn, however your youth and inexperience are slightly clear. The first person made a bunch and now any future return is purely risky. Wine generally is not a good investment as many great wines never appreciate and quite often wines that are cult wines now in a few years people are ignoring. Even a wine you buy at $200 and goes up to $300 will net you nill as nobody will give you more than $320.

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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#16 Post by Mark Christenson » March 13th, 2019, 2:13 pm

I did a quick check in CellarTracker and apparently I've opened over 300 bottles, and I've probably had another 75+ through the generosity of friends. Those may not be Justin Bonner or Duncan Bastin levels of consumption, but I do buy this stuff to drink and I do try to drink it regularly.

With that in mind, I've yet to have an "over-the-hill" SQN. I've had (limited, admittedly) whites and reds at ~20 years and they are still vibrant, especially those with impeccable provenance (despite what the auction descriptions say it's hard to prove provenance solely from the perspective of "at what temperature and humidity has this wine been kept"). And it's my opinion that the wines made in the last ten (or so) years have even greater ability to age and it will be fun to see how this plays out.

Decanting is generally a positive thing, for both the whites and the reds, although more often than not we pop-and-pour (and most often the last glass is the best). I also like to drink one of each wine right off the UPS truck because it shows where they start. I have rarely found them to be anything less than delicious (the few exceptions were wines that needed significant air to show the fruit behind the structure). That said, and more for the whites than the reds, I think they begin to show even better 6-8 years past vintage date. Said another way, there is something magical to me about the whites once they get to, basically, 7-years old.

With that all in mind, I think either of the wines Matt (the OP) mentioned would be awesome today, but they will also last so I don't think there is a wrong answer. Hang on to them for a while or open them tonight, you won't go wrong in the enjoyment department.
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#17 Post by Anton D » March 13th, 2019, 2:16 pm

Jonathan Sirot wrote:
March 13th, 2019, 2:00 pm
First welcome to the board !! Good question as I have been on the list around 14 years and have drank many. Most the wines I have drank are the regular bottlings but have had the extended barrel version about 6 times. In total agreement with others that most accept possibly the ebas drink very nice when young but do need two or three hours decant to be enjoyable. Even four hours would not be crazy as they are big wines. I have even had some at 5 years which might not be ideal which were not quite as good and I perhaps either forgot to decant or opened too young. Any of their wines should go 10-12 years or more. I would not go super long though as I would think that since they are high alcohol around 15.5% t0 16% if the fruit fades might be too hot. Also am thrilled to share something others might not. The natural tendency is to chase the Syrah and Grenache as those are their benchmarks. However if you ever see any of their Pinots. no longer made, they are incredibly good and almost nobody I know has tried them. They used fruit I believe from White Hawk Vineyard in Oregon and trucked them down.

Lastly in answer to your question: Are they likely to increase in value ?? Possibly, but quite likely not. If I recall the Stockholm is the extended barrel. I think it got 100 points. It originally cost I think $250. I am assuming unless you had no competition for it which I doubt that you paid roughly $700. Unless you got lucky and paid $500 0r $600 I would be surprised if you make money by holding it another six years and if so maybe a few hundred. The only ones that increase hugely are extremely old and rare ones before it was such a cult wine. Now the regular bottlings are easy to find at retail for slightly above release price and will never make you much I think. Only the 100 pointers, and only if you buy them at release prices will net you a little. I appreciate your zest and enthusiasm and desire to learn, however your youth and inexperience are slightly clear. The first person made a bunch and now any future return is purely risky. Wine generally is not a good investment as many great wines never appreciate and quite often wines that are cult wines now in a few years people are ignoring. Even a wine you buy at $200 and goes up to $300 will net you nill as nobody will give you more than $320.
Mark Christenson wrote:
March 13th, 2019, 2:13 pm
I did a quick check in CellarTracker and apparently I've opened over 300 bottles, and I've probably had another 75+ through the generosity of friends. Those may not be Justin Bonner or Duncan Bastin levels of consumption, but I do buy this stuff to drink and I do try to drink it regularly.

With that in mind, I've yet to have an "over-the-hill" SQN. I've had (limited, admittedly) whites and reds at ~20 years and they are still vibrant, especially those with impeccable provenance (despite what the auction descriptions say it's hard to prove provenance solely from the perspective of "at what temperature and humidity has this wine been kept"). And it's my opinion that the wines made in the last ten (or so) years have even greater ability to age and it will be fun to see how this plays out.

Decanting is generally a positive thing, for both the whites and the reds, although more often than not we pop-and-pour (and most often the last glass is the best). I also like to drink one of each wine right off the UPS truck because it shows where they start. I have rarely found them to be anything less than delicious (the few exceptions were wines that needed significant air to show the fruit behind the structure). That said, and more for the whites than the reds, I think they begin to show even better 6-8 years past vintage date. Said another way, there is something magical to me about the whites once they get to, basically, 7-years old.

With that all in mind, I think either of the wines Matt (the OP) mentioned would be awesome today, but they will also last so I don't think there is a wrong answer. Hang on to them for a while or open them tonight, you won't go wrong in the enjoyment department.
Those were awesome posts, I have nothing to add other than another welcome.

You are starting your journey right on time! [cheers.gif]
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#18 Post by Neal.Mollen » March 13th, 2019, 2:46 pm

ky1em!ttskus wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 5:01 pm
You have two of each? Open one of each now to celebrate the beginning of your downfall! [berserker.gif]

When I was in college, I was chasing first editions books. Wine came in grad school. But I still haven’t dropped the coin on SQN (finances change with kids).
When I was in college I was chasing the blonde who worked in the wine shop, which explains a lot
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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#19 Post by Anton D » March 13th, 2019, 5:03 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
March 13th, 2019, 2:46 pm
ky1em!ttskus wrote:
March 12th, 2019, 5:01 pm
You have two of each? Open one of each now to celebrate the beginning of your downfall! [berserker.gif]

When I was in college, I was chasing first editions books. Wine came in grad school. But I still haven’t dropped the coin on SQN (finances change with kids).
When I was in college I was chasing the blonde who worked in the wine shop, which explains a lot
You must be an ESTJ.
Anton Dotson

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Re: New here: tips on SQN aging

#20 Post by OwenB » March 13th, 2019, 7:46 pm

Somewhat unrelated question, but I’ve never had SQN and would like to pick up a ready to drink bottle to try. I can’t keep track of the different wines they offer. Can anyone recommend one or two (ideally on the “lower” end, which seems to be about $300) that are particularly emblematic of their style?
    B a r t o n

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