Wine Spectator on Sine Qua Non

The WS did feature Manfred and SQN on the cover though…

Perhaps they rated it what is should be, without label bias kicking in. [grin.gif]

That’s what I’m thinking.

As to your second point, they taste wines blind, so cachet doesn’t factor into the score.

They do when the tastings are in their offices. Not when they’re at wineries. But they let you know, for which I give them credit.

In any case, the bottle shapes would give away the wine as SQN.

But I’m not sure why it’s a surprise that a wine got a 90 or 92 score. I’d probably agree, although I haven’t tasted those specific two wines. But based on the wines I’ve had, it makes more sense than awarding Alban 100 points. Somebody grew a taste bud.

Points have a purpose even to those that buy a little more than the average consumer. This is especially true if you buy from a list without getting to taste the wines before ordering which is often the case with the wines I buy. You can dicker with their methodology, reputation, personality, but generally if Laube likes a wine, I will probably like it. If RP likes a wine, I will probably like it. If either are “meh” about a wine, then it may be an indicator. It is not the score but the range to me. Better yet, if they are lukewarm across the board, then maybe it’s an indicator not to go long on a vintage.

I’ve always considered the points scale - if you are comparing scores - at least four points lower on WS than WA. In the latest WS which featured Andy Beckstoffer, a discussion of numerous To Kalon wines showed WS scores on WA 99-100 point wines in the mid to low 90’s. Same wines, different reviewer.

Would SQN be a prototype for wines that could be entering a “post review” era of high end wine?

If such wines exist, these would be my exemplar.

Even Screaming Eagle strikes me as more review dependent.

An incredible outfit making incredible wines pretty much all the time. I am not on their mailing list yet (dang it), but I have tasteed many of their wines over the past number of years, including these two. I thought they were fantastic, as usual. Delicious and thought provoking. Just as I love it. This says more about the reviewer than the reviewed.

My experience has been ws doesn’t award 100 pt scores to overextracted fruit bombs like Parker does. My tastes seem to align more with ws than Parker. i haven’t had these two wines so I don’t know if they fall in this category or not. I do think Parker rates labels a lot.

Could we get some more context, please? Are you referring to secondary market pricing, or demand/wait times for an allocation, or…???


Kind of all of it.

The regard for the wine by the press doesn’t change my mind about it, nor likely anyone else’s here.

The demand seems like it has broken free of the shackles of points.

Same for the enthusiasm about it.

SQN strikes me as existing fully independently of its ratings by the press.

I mean that all in a positive consumer driven way - there’s nothing, I think, that WS could say or toss numbers on to change SQN’s standing. I find that to be a net positive.

Hope that came across right!

100 point SQN wines sell on the secondary market much faster than lower rated bottles. But it seems that the whole secondary market for SQN has gone soft.

What does it say about the reviewer? What scores should the reviewer have given the wines?

which whites did ws rate above 96? my guess is none.

As far as I can tell WS never rated an SQN over 92pts prior to 2005 and even gave a number of them in the 80s. In fact, the wine that turned me on to SQN and made me jump on their list ASAP toward the end of 1998 was the 1995 The Other Hand which the WS gave an utterly and completely wrong review of 84pts (RP gave it 92pts and that is a bit low but close at least). They even gave 92pts to Imposter McCoy which was for a number of years among my favorites and also a clearly better wine to pretty much anyone I have tasted it with over the years.

Most people came to find SQN because of the reviews in the early 00s and now it almost seems obvious to many that the huge interest is/could be driven by the high blowout reviews, but before that, at least for me and a group of friends who also fell in love with their wines in 98/99, it got on my radar and their radar through drinking the wines since the reviews weren’t stand out high…for what is one of the all time highest scoring wineries in CA (at least from reviewers other than WS) and as someone who has been turned on to many wineries based on reviews, I’ve always found it ironic that it was the opposite for me with SQN…maybe falling in love with the wines, style, type, character, etc. first before the scores hit is the right way to do it anyway…and maybe that’s why it is one of the few CA mailing lists that I am still on (unbelievably for about 18yrs at this point [wow.gif] ).