Sine Qua Non has its own winemaking facility in Ventura, not far from the Santa Barbara vineyards where the fruit is sourced from the region's best vineyards. In the last few years Elaine and Manfred have begun creating their own vineyards dedicated to Rhone varietals and now their Cumulus and Eleven Confessions estate vineyards are contributing the majority of the fruit for their wines. Their winemaking philosophy is to work in very small batches, gravity flow, natural yeasts (unless a fermentation problem is anticipated), long lees aging for the whites and repeated racking for the reds to open them up. This is a simplified explanation of a very dedicated and artistic approach to winemaking. The wines are at once very rich and elegant, superbly balanced and thoroughly harmonious with food, never overwhelming.
While I reviewed the 2011 Cumulus Vineyard #5 last year, I was thrilled to be able to retaste it this go around. Showing consistently, with tons of savory, meaty characteristics in its currants, cassis, ground herbs and wood smoke-like aromas and flavors, this is a full-bodied, gorgeously concentrated 2011 that shows the freshness and purity of the vintage, yet backs it up with plenty of texture and length. Give it a few years and enjoy bottles through 2032.