2002 SQN Mr. K The Strawman - Wine Advocate # 159 - Jun 2005: The virtually perfect 2002 Mr. K. The Strawman boasts astounding statistics. Aged 30 months in barrel, with only 7.2% alcohol, it carries 482 grams per liter of residual sugar (half the wine), and 7.8 grams per liter of acidity. It is simply off the charts. Sexy, eye-popping, palate-staining stuff, it is like liquefied honey with extraordinary complexity, aromatics yet freshness and delineation. I simply do not understand how this wine was made given the technical numbers and its amazing sugar. It is neither heavy nor cloying, and is a remarkable tour de force created by two Austrian geniuses. The worlds most profound wines are always made by the same kind of people ... artists, craftspeople, revolutionaries, and traditionalists who have one overwhelming trait in common ... they are irrefutably dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, and their hearts, souls, and enormous talents are reflected in wines of singular personality and achievement. There are never any compromises, so it is no surprise that what takes place in these cellars is the transformation of a commonplace beverage into a form of drinkable art Manfred Krankl and his charming wife, Elaine (referred to by Krankl as E), are on a roll given what has emerged from their funky warehouse/garage winery located in what looks like a discarded Hollywood set from the movie Mad Max. Finding a bottle or two of Sine Qua Non is no easy task since virtually all these wines are sold to longtime mailing list clients as well as the countrys finest upscale restaurants. However, some relief is in sight as Krankl is beginning to get fruit from his own Eleven Confessions Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. Moreover, he planted another vineyard in Ventura County on a bald outcropping that should produce some fascinating Rhone varietals. The upcoming releases all reveal Krankls magic touch, and like some of the finest wineries working with Rhone varietals, Manfred Krankl is a creative blender, recognizing that blends generally result in more nuances and flavor complexity than a single varietal cuvee.