Sine Qua Non Pajarito Del Amor Eleven Confession Grenache 2016
|Brand||Sine Qua Non|
Coming all from the estate Eleven Confessions Vineyard and 85.4% Grenache, 7.1% Petite Sirah, 6.9% Syrah, and a splash of Viognier thrown in for good measure, the 2016 Grenache Pajarito Del Amor was brought up 38 months in 54% new French oak demi-muids and the balance in varying used barrels ranging from 2 to 6 years in age. There are just 916 cases of this magical wine, which easily ranks with the greatest Grenache-driven wines to ever come out of California. Deep purple-hued, with an incredible array of cassis, blackberries, toasted spices, caramelized meats, white pepper, and graphite, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, an expansive, layered mouthfeel, and a blockbuster finish. This is one of those wine that wows from the first sip and is flawlessly balanced, with ripe tannins, incredible purity, and a singular character. Drink this elixir any time over the coming 15-20 years.
The 2016 Grenache Pajarito Del Amor is a single-vineyard wine-a barrel selection from the Eleven Confessions estate vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills. "This vineyard is by far our coolest," Manfred said. "Sometimes we don't harvest this vineyard until November. The wines from here have a lot of structure and presence. The soil is a heavy clay, so the wines can be pretty muscular." I asked Manfred what he considers when he is looking to make a single-vineyard expression. "I pick out the wines that can have longer barrel aging," he replied. "The wine has to be meaningfully dense and balanced. I try to make the selection early on, when the wines go into barrel, to decide which barrels they will go into. I take thicker barrels from Seguin Moreau so that the wine evolves longer and slower." Indeed, this wine spent 38 months in barrel, which is amazing when you consider how vibrant and fresh this Grenache is, also knowing how easily Grenache can oxidize. Fifty-four percent of the wine was aged in large (600-liter) new French oak, while the remainder was aged in used vessels of various ages and sizes. Composed of 85.4% Grenache, 7.1% Petite Sirah, 6.9% Syrah and 0.6% Viognier, employing 56% whole cluster, the nose of this opaque, garnet-purple colored uber-Grenache completely explodes with a candied violets, mandarin peel and Indian spices perfume, giving way to a core of bursting-ripe red berries-redcurrants, Morello cherries and raspberries-with an undercurrent of earth, earth and more sweet, fragrant earth. The numbers are telling me this is a full-bodied wine (16.9% alcohol), but the palate is deceptively ethereal, possessing more of a medium to full-bodied feel, thanks in part to bags of well-integrated freshness and fantastic harmony, with soft, silt-like tannins, finishing with loads of savory layers and a fragrant, floral breeze. Yowza, that's good. 916 cases, 228 magnums and 30 double magnums were made.
The darker side of Grenache comes through in the 2016 Grenache Pajarito del Amor. Inky purplish fruit, espresso, mocha and rose petal are pushed forward, but more than anything else, the 2016 stands out for its exotic, beguiling beauty. I hope to be able to taste the 2016 with bottle age, as it is a total stunner. The 2016 is marked by a high percentage of Grenache in the blend (85%) and a high percentage of whole clusters as well (56%), as most of the stem inclusion in this wine comes from the Grenache.