The recently released 2004 Poker Face (96% Syrah, 2.5% Mourvedre, and 1.5% Viognier) comes from the Eleven Confessions, White Hawk, Alban, Bien Nacido, and Alta Mesa vineyards. Boasting classic blackberry, creme de cassis, charcoal, acacia flower, and subtle background toasty oak notes, it possesses a fabulous texture, beautiful richness and purity, and a finish that lasts nearly a minute. It is a wine of enormous richness, multiple dimensions, and unreal purity. Although approachable, it benefits from several hours of decanting, and should evolve for 15 or more years. To reiterate, it is a challenge to analyze these wines. I know they are distinctive, and I think I am beginning to understand why they are so much greater than just about every other Syrah or Grenache-based wine in California. In short, it is talent and incredibly meticulous hard work. No one works as hard or is as maniacal about a vineyard's viticulture and winemaking as Manfred Krankl. Take that, add in exceptional talent, humility, top-notch vineyards, and I believe I understand the fundamentals of why these wines are so special.