Sine Qua Non (SQN) Midnight Oil (2) /Ventriloquist (1) 3-Pack OWC 2001 1.5L
The impeccable 2001 Midnight Oil (95.5% Syrah, 3% Grenache, and 1.5% Viognier) is a product of four vineyards, Alban, Stolpman, Bien Nacido, and White Hawk. The good news is there are 950 cases of this compelling effort. With a “midnight” black color, and the viscosity of 10-W-40 oil, its aromas of violet/acacia flowers, melted licorice, camphor, blackberries, creme de cassis, and subtle toasty new oak are accompanied by a wine boasting terrific texture, good underlying acidity, ripe tannin, and a 60-second plus finish. This stunning effort competes with the 2000, and what looks to be Krankl’s greatest Syrah-based wine to date, the 2002. 2001 Ventriloquist: This was the only wine in the entire tasting that refused to open and fully reveal itself. It is a blend of 82% Grenache and 18% Syrah, with much of it coming from the Alban Vineyard and the balance from the Stolpman Vineyard and the Shadow Canyon Vineyard further north. I would liked to have had a crack at another bottle, but this wine came across as very tightly knit, with far higher acids, giving the wine a more austere and tart quality. It did possess some nice, attractive black fruits, damp earth, spice box and hints of licorice and pepper, but the austerity of the tannins, which seemed exaggerated by the wine’s acidic framework, made this wine pleasurable but standing out as the weakest effort from Sine Qua Non in the last decade.