2016 Sine Qua Non, SQN, Pajarito Del Amor, Grenache, Sta. Rita Hills, Bottle (750ml)

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Rating:RP100/JD100 i Wine Critics: RP = Robert Parker
AG = Antonio Galloni
BH = BurgHound
JD = Jeb Dunnuck
LP = Lisa Perrotti-Brown
VM = Vinous Media
WS = Wine Spectator
JS = James Suckling
DR = Decanter

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RP100 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." JD100 (Sine Qua Non Grenache Pajarito Del Amor) 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. Always one of the highlight tastings of my year, this report looks at the 2016, 2017, and 2018 new releases from Sine Qua Non. While splitting hairs, I think the 2016s are the finest wines here since the 2013s and have that rare mix of power, richness, complexity, and elegance that defines all great wines. While relatively approachable, the 2016s have the balance to evolve gracefully for 15 years or more. The 2017s are slightly more showy, sexy, and sunny wines, and where 2016s have similarities to 2014s, the 2017s remind me slightly of the 2015s with their huge aromatics as well as plenty of underlying tannins. These are worth hiding in the cellar for at least a handful of years. While tasted from barrel, the 2018s showed brilliantly and have a purity and elegance similar to both 2014 and 2016. All three vintages show incredible richness, flawless balance, and the purity and structure to age gracefully.

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