The SOMM Journal

February / March 2016

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12 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 { carte blanche } AN EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTOR'S TASTING AT OTIUM IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES story and photos by Karen Moneymaker AS ETERNAL STUDENTS OF WINE, IF WE AREN'T ENCOUN- tering wines that astonish us, change our perception of grape growing or winemaking, and perhaps even terrify us, then we aren't casting our nets wide enough. Seek out those wines that are honest, wines that are made using methods we aren't accustom to, wines that buck tradi- tion every chance they get— wines that can't be pigeon- holed or easily classified. While these wines are found in every winemaking region on the planet, I always think of the Dolcetto of Nicolette Boca in Dogliani, the racy and intense Sauvignon Blanc of the late Didier Dagueneau in Pouilly Fumé, and Manfred and Elaine Krankel's revo - lutionary and sometimes incendiary Syrahs, Grenaches and white blends made here in California, just a few hours north of Los Angeles. The Sine Qua Non wines have always be paradigm- shifting for me, both in their ability to push the envelope, and in the creative mastery with which Manfred and Elaine create these unique manifestations of California (and at times Oregon) fruit, year after year. (I should note that I had the absurd good fortune to work the 2010 harvest at SQN, so I am a touch biased.) When I was invited to a collector's dinner at Timothy Hollingsworth's newly launched Otium in Downtown Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance to taste through a finely curated selection of Sine Qua Non wines. It bears mentioning that a single print page is hardly enough to encapsulate the largeness of these wines or of the specialness of this intimate dinner at Otium. Although not a Martine's Wines event, President of Martine's Wines Greg Castells (pictured left), co-hosted the event with a cli- ent of his from when he was a private buyer, alongside Brian Flannery of Flannery Beef, Chef Timothy Hollingsworth of Otium and the restaurant's Beverage Director, Elizabeth Huettinger (pictured right). Sine Qua Non 2007 "Body & Soul" 71% Roussanne/29% Viognier Rich, golden, cut hay, yellow apple, floral of Viognier shines through. Sine Qua Non 2005 "The Petition" 37% Viognier/33% Roussanne/30% Chardonnay Leads with structure (alcohol is present but not out of balance). Fruit cocktail, pineapple upside down cake and cream. A touch fat on the finish, long but not lazy. Sine Qua Non 1996 "Against the Wall" Santa Barbara County Syrah Graphite, dust, cassis compote, low acid but still pretty. Sine Qua Non 1997 "Imposter McCoy" Santa Barbara County Syrah Soy and blackberry confit, liquored cherries, herbal, forest floor, sweet spice, ramen spice packet. Has an "everything, all at once" kind of balance. Sine Qua Non 2000 "In Flagrante" 86% Syrah/10% Grenache/4% Viognier Red fruit and burnt citrus peel, smoky crisp meats. Sine Qua Non 2004 "Poker Face" 96% Syrah/2.5% Mourvèdre/1.5% Viognier Vibrant, lively, and perfumed. Raspberries and cream. Sine Qua Non 2005 "Atlantis fe203-1b" 93% Syrah/5% Grenache/2% Viognier Direct yet round, wide and robust. Cooked meats and baking spice. Sine Qua Non 2006 "The Raven" Series 93% Syrah/5% Grenache/2% Viognier Dense and dark purple, has held onto its astrin - gency. Bloody, iron and rust. Sine Qua Non 2006 "Mr. K Noble Man" Chardonnay Honeysuckle, apricot, quince and golden raisins. An Evening with Sine Qua Non

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