Some unplanned serendipity took us down the Sine Qua Non road, with the Andremily sandwiched between two well-aged Krankl treasures. Glad no one was driving!
1998 Sine Qua Non Backward & Forward - USA, California, Napa Valley
This well-stored bottle was a revelation. Not on the list, but the kind Somm offered it up at the same price as The Petition, which I’ve enjoyed there several times. Neither fresh nor tired, this was fully resolved and mature, with a viscous texture and rich, complex flavors that continued to emerge as the wine warmed from cellar temperature. The Roussanne seemed most prominent early on, with notes of beeswax and honey – very Rhone-esque. Over time, though, I sensed the Chardonnay component emerge, evoking a well aged Burgundy with that classic buttered popcorn carmelization. As they say, the last sip was the best. (94 pts.)
2012 Andremily Syrah No. 1 - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
This was a puzzling experience. Less than a year ago, I had a bottle of this at the same restaurant, and was impressed by its glycerined texture, concentration and lift. That wine benefited from a decant as well. Tonight’s bottle was fully resolved, and the Somm agreed a decant would be unnecessary. We both found the wine to be surprisingly Southern Rhone like this time: loads of raspberry and some smoked meat flavors, though it is pure Syrah as I understand it. After an hour or so, the heat was dominant, though it worked okay with steak for those who ordered that. I’d be concerned that the CT drinking window is generously long here… (91 pts.)
2005 Sine Qua Non Grenache Atlantis Fe2O3~2d Vin de Paille - USA, California
Such a fun wine. Notes of dried red fruit, fig and some pepper, sweet and concentrated but with enough acidity to hold it all together. Very long finish. The bottle says 8% alcohol, which seems impossibly low! (94 pts.)
I continue to find well aged SQN whites to be stunning wines, and in many ways better suited to my palate than most of his reds, not that I will turn any away.