Wednesday, July 7, 2010

nextof kyn - The Next Cult Wine from Manfred and Elaine Krankl of Sine Qua Non

It isn't often that a new "cult wine" pops up that we haven't heard about, but today, both Zelda and I were surprised to receive the e-mail below from Manfred and Elaine Krankl of Sine Qua Non.

We had heard that they were working on a new project, but I had no idea that they already had wine in the bottle, and ready to send out to their customers.

Unfortunately, they only have 300 allocations to sell, containing 3 regular bottles and one magnum at the price of $1100.  Yes, this is a hefty price tag, but with Manfred's name on it, it is certainly justifiable.  Manfred's reputation speaks for itself, and that goes without saying.

That being said, I replied in a matter of about 2 minutes, and now it is a waiting game to see if I am one of the first lucky 300 to respond!  That said, check it out, and sign up for their waiting list!  See the details below!  Cheers!  -F. Scott

Dear Wine Lover ~

Generally we are rather old school and communicate via good old fashioned paper and snail mail, but this one time we will make an exception for reasons I shall explain in just a bit.

First the news: A new baby is born. A wine baby that is.  It is called nextof kyn.  The name is in reference to the fact that it is the next closest relative to SINE QUA NON, yet it is separate and different, and with its own personality, character and style.

Implied is also a dose of hopefulness, of wishful thinking, that one of our five kids will someday take it over as his or her own.

As you likely know, the fruit for the wines made under the SINE QUA NON banner comes from various vineyard sources. At this point most of it from our own Estate vineyard in the cool Santa Rita Hills called Eleven Confessions, plus we still have a couple of long time non-Estate vineyards under contract, such as the equally cool Bien Nacido vineyard and the somewhat warmer, but just as terrific White Hawk vineyard.

In 2004 we decided to plant a small six acre vineyard at our "home ranch" in Oak View. It is the plot of dirt where we also live. I am sure it does not come as a huge surprise when I tell you that what we planted there is Syrah, Grenache and a tiny bit of Roussanne. We just continue to have a deep fondness for these Rhone varieties. Both the soil and the climate - the "terroir" if you prefer - are rather different here at the CUMULUS home vineyard than at Eleven Confessions or any of the other vineyard sites we work with. The climate is decidedly warmer and the soil, although with plenty of clay-loam, has significant amounts of limestone, which we do not have at any of the other sites. Our vine spacing here is even tighter than at Eleven Confessions - 5 ½ ft. X 2 ft. - resulting in a whopping 3,960 vines per acre or 9,785 vines per hectare...for you Francophiles. Not that this ultimately means a heck of a lot. Great wines have been made the world over from vineyards spaced in countless different configurations. But I thought I'll throw it out there anyway, since it does make farming much more difficult. Maybe I am just shamelessly groping for a friendly nod, and acknowledgement of the effort, with that info.

We picked a little bit of fruit in 2006 - that's called "third leaf" in grower jargon - just to see what we have here, but our first "real" harvest was 2007.

We immediately recognized that this fruit had very much its own distinct identity.

As the wines matured in the cellar we became more and more convinced that at least some portions of it should be kept separate from everything else that was comfortably resting in the old Garage d'Or.

And that's what we did. We kept a few barrels to themselves, mostly used ~ 2 year old barriques ~ so as to set a base line and be able to more purely evaluate the fruit and the wine itself.

The wine evolved rather slowly, but we loved what we tasted...more and more so the older it got. And at some point we concluded that this wine ~ and perhaps this "home vineyard" CUMULUS ~ should really have its very own, distinct and unique identity.

And so an entirely new label, an entirely new brand was born. Yes, undoubtedly there is a real family resemblance to SINE QUA NON, but the wine stands alone...and will likely even more so in the future. And so that new brand, that new "baby" as I referred to it above is called:

next of kyn

This first nextof kyn bottling, from the 2007 vintage, is a cuvée of 92% Syrah, 6% Grenache and 2% Roussanne. It spent some 31 ½ months in barrels, of which only 18% were new (1 out of 5 ½ in total). This tiny bit of wine obviously allowed us to only fill a very limited amount of specially designed wooden boxes, each one containing 3 bottles and 1 magnum. 324 such boxes were created. Of course we have to keep a few for ourselves, for our library, and the rest...somewhere around 300 of them will hereby be offered for sale. They will only be sold via a next of kyn mailing list that we will now establish through this inaugural offering.

We have thought long and hard, have gone back and forth and back again, trying to figure out just what might be the best way to establish such a new mailing list for an entirely new brand. The difficulty in doing this is compounded by the fact that so very few of these boxes are available and that we don't know how much there might be available in subsequent vintages. We also wanted to give some consideration to the many, many, many supremely patient, kind and enthusiastic folks on our SQN waiting list, some of whom have waited, unsuccessfully for years on end.

Therefore we have decided that with this first ever offering ~ the one that will also establish the initial mailing list - we will go outside our normal system this one time around ~ and offer these few boxes on a first-come, first-serve basis to ALL in our system, mailing list and waiting list customers alike. I know that there will be a lot of you that unfortunately we'll have to disappoint. The math is such that we will only be able to actually offer wines to less than 4% of those who'll receive this e-mail. To those of you who'll miss out this go around ~ we beg for your understanding and deeply apologize.

No matter how we would handle such an offering, there would always have to be lots and lots of wonderful people we'd have to disappoint. It's just the nature of the beast. We also know that there will be many of you who have their own ideas as to how we should have, could have, might have handled it. Probably all valid thoughts and we respect your opinion, but in the end there is no perfect way and in the final analysis this is the mode we chose.

And remember - there is always more wine being made.

Now here is how this offering shall work:

In order to create an equal playing field in terms of timing, this letter ~ uncharacteristically - has been e-mailed to everyone currently on our mailing and waiting list.

If you are interest in one of these nextof kyn boxes and in thereby joining the n~o~k mailing list, please quickly send us an e-mail to and let us know. We will then send the first 300 respondents an order form and then allow two weeks to receive that order form back with an accompanying check or money order.

The wooden box ~ containing the 3 bottles and 1 magnum ~ will have a cost of $ 1,100 plus shipping and handling.

Needless to say we will place all those we unfortunately can't accommodate this go-around onto a chronological waiting list and, much like with the SQN list, we will keep you updated with each new release.

Please NOTE that because sadly there are so very few boxes, and thus so very few possible first customers, and because the shipping and state registration compliances, regulations and bureaucracies are of such an onerous nature, we can only ship to a limited number of states until quantities increase sufficiently to reasonably warrant an expansion of ship-to states.

The only states we can currently ship to are:


A few more words about this new nextof kyn brand and what the future might hold:

All the nextof kyn releases will be sequentially numbered via a bottle neck sticker. This first one naturally will carry the denomination No.1.

Encouraged by the results of the tiny bit of fruit we harvested from the 2006 vintage and even more so by the fruit from the official first vintage 2007, we planted two more vineyard blocks at our CUMULUS "home vineyard" in the spring of 2008.
We put in a little more Syrah (just can't leave that one alone) as well as some Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and even two rather obscure, but fabulously intriguing grape varieties ~ Touriga Nacional, a Portuguese grape that is one of the main players in Port wine, but also produces delicious dry wines in that country ~ and Petit Manseng, which is a very interesting white grape from the Jurançon region of France. The first harvest from these new blocks won't be until 2011 and depending how they'll show themselves as actual wine, any or all could make it into some type of NEXT OF KYN cuvee in the future....or not. It could also all turn into some type of an additional wine/cuvee. This means that the Syrah dominated cuvee of this first release - 2007 - is certainly something that is not chiseled in stone. It is simply the first incarnation of this new label.

We may not even have a nextof kyn release every single year, although it is our goal to have a continuum. Since we definitely cannot guarantee future quantities, it is even conceivable that not everyone who gets into the initial active mailing list this time can be offered wine the next time around, albeit we will do everything in the world to at least accomplish that. More of a goal would be to add new people to the active list with every new release.

The wines will be shipped sometime around mid-March 2011, depending on the weather conditions at the time.

Future offerings, which shall occur annually, will go out via traditional U.S. postal service in paper and stamp fashion. Something to really hold on to. Then, after you are all done with these letters, they will make a great carbon source for your home made compost on your tomato plants.

Like virtually all of the wines Elaine and I have produced ~ red, white and rosé alike - this wine too will greatly benefit from a relatively lengthy decantation prior to consumption. Three to six hours would be ideal, especially if kept at cellar temperature.

For your record, the nextof kyn telephone number is (805) 649 1291 and the mailing address is: P.O. Box 948, Oak View, CA 93022. The e-mail address is

That is all I can think of for now. We are super excited by this new wine and we hope you'll join this new wine family and we hope even more that it'll grow as time goes on. We will do everything we possibly can so that the years to come will bring not only greater quantities, but also many distinctively delicious new wines.
Thank you for reading, thank you for your interest, thank you for your anticipated order and thank you for your understanding and patience should you have pulled the trigger just a hair to slow this go around.

Warmest wishes,

Elaine & Manfred Krankl


Anonymous said...

Keep us posted if you make the list. Would love to have you in the family.

NJFoodies said...

Trust me, we'd love to be part of the family. Time will tell! Cheers!