2005 SQN 17th Nail and Naked Truth Assortment - 17th Nail - Wine Advocate # 184 - Aug 2009: The 2005 Syrah The 17th Nail In My Cranium, a blend of 96.5% Syrah and 3.5% Viognier which is aged 38 months prior to bottling. (I always wonder what Marcel Guigal would think of a wine like this which seems to tip its hat in the direction of Cote Rotie and then goes into high gear and clearly says, Im just something very different, but thanks for even thinking of that appellation while smelling and tasting me.) Black as a moonless night, the 2005 17th Nail reveals a stunning nose of spring flowers intermixed with creme de cassis, blackberries, charcoal, graphite, and hints of lard and barbecue spices. Dense, with an endless (and I mean endless) finish, remarkable purity, and layer upon layer of flavor, but no sense of heaviness or flabbiness, this prodigious Syrah should evolve for 15 or more years. SQN Naked Truth - 99 Pts - Wine Advocate # 184 - Aug 2009: The 2005 The Naked Truth (a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah) displays a backside portrait of Manfred Krankls wife, Elaine. (Krankl does all the artwork for his labels.) Approximately 38% whole clusters/stems were used during fermentation, and the wine is aged in a combination of small barrels and larger demi-muids. Contrary to everything I have learned about Grenache, this offering spends 38 months in wood, yet it shows no evidence of oak, and it possesses remarkable vibrancy and freshness. Its the kind of wine that makes a mockery of all conventional wisdom about oak and Grenache. Made totally from fruit grown in the 11 Confessions Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, it is about as profound a Grenache as one is likely to taste. Krankl looks everywhere for inspiration, and there is a large picture (and I mean large) of the great southern Rhone oenologist, Philippe Cambie, hanging in the winery. There may be a spiritual kinship to what Cambies magic is unleashing in the southern Rhone and what Krankl is doing in California. The dense ruby/plum/purple-colored Naked Truth reveals an extraordinary bouquet of sweet black raspberries, boysenberries, kirsch, licorice, pepper, and spice. Full-bodied with noteworthy concentration, freshness, texture, and length, it is a tour de force as well as a mind-boggling example of Grenache that is likely to turn heads, but how many wine lovers have the guts, courage, and are willing to put up with the tiny yields and challenging maturity curve of Grenache in California to pull off something like this? Not many. Thats why we dont see more than a handful of wines such as this emanating from California.