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November 2014

 

I am jumping out of my skin as I just witnessed Madison Bumgarner throw a complete game shutout to win Game Five of the World Series.  It will all be history when you receive the November Enkidu Wine Club shipment, but for now it’s looking good.  It’s been awesome to have the beloved Giants play in the post season so often in the last five years, it’s an infusion of energy into the crew as we wrap up our harvest. I am also excited for my dad as he played for the Giants organization from the late 40s to the mid 50s, and he can witness his team at the top of the baseball world.

On to wine: an interesting and smooth-flowing harvest ended about two weeks earlier than normal this year.  We can use those two extra weeks to catch up on sleep before we get to the holidays. Sal and the crew did a fabulous job this year handling the fruit for Enkidu and our clients. It is controlled chaos at the winery at times, and it is quite a blessing to have dedicated, competent employees care for the wine on the production side. The industry came into the season with a lot of questions on what effects we, and more importantly the plants, would feel from our severe drought.  What played out were a few cases where plants simply called it quits a little early, though for the most part 2014 was as normal a harvest as we could expect.  What really stand out this year are the Pinots and Zinfandel. I am happy with every lot (that is not normally the case) and the Tina Marie Pinot Noir is spectacular, perhaps the best vintage to date.

Also, I had a little fun this year producing a couple of wines Paul has been hounding me for:  a port and a dessert white wine which is a white blend of Viognier and Chardonnay.  The port is from Diener Ranch Petite Sirah, and I produced one half-barrel.  There will be about a year or more of élevage before we bottle. We may even have samples to taste for those of you that come to some of the Club events. The white dessert wine will be bottled next year so you can expect a new addition to the Club shipments in the Fall of 2015. 

And with harvest complete we can shift focus to our next big project: a NEW TASTING ROOM!!! We signed a lease for a new space just one door south of the Sonoma Square on Broadway.  The new space is a wonderful opportunity to embrace more wine lovers and introduce them to Enkidu. And for those who are more familiar with our wines and look for a higher level of engagement, the larger space provides an area for a seated tasting to dive deeper into the Enkidu lineup.  We endeavor to have the new room open by the first of the year.

Our November wine shipment includes:  2013 Alder Springs Chardonnay, 2012 “E” Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Diener Ranch Petite Sirah, and 2013 Bedrock Vineyard Barbera. In this shipment we are featuring Vineyard Designate wines from three stellar vineyards.  At the top is the Alder Springs, from the mountains above Laytonville in Mendocino County.  This incredible low yielding vineyard is responsible for Chardonnays of great complexity, minerality and richness, but at lower sugars and alcohol. Bedrock is on the valley floor and has the combination of soil, climate, and great vineyard management which produces four fabulous varietals I source.  Diener Ranch is high (>2,000’) in the Red Hills appellation situated in 100% volcanic soils of red lava rock and dirt, and benefits from the incredible amount of sunshine that Lake County experiences.  The 2012 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon is the finest “E” Cab we have produced to date, with fruit coming from the Bedrock and Atwood Vineyards, and a smattering from the mountain-top vineyards. I finished the “E” Cab with a dash of Petite Verdot and Petite Sirah for additional complexity.

Thank you once again for continuing your support of Enkidu Wines.  We look forward to seeing you soon at one of our holiday events, or perhaps at our new tasting room.

Drink Well!

 

Phil Staehle

 

 

 

2013 Alder Springs Chardonnay – Mendocino County

Our style of white wines is dictated by an Old World sensibility, in contrast to what is largely produced in CA today. We adhere to techniques which retain the integrity of fruit with an abundance of complexity and clarity. Barrel fermentation and aging on lees help contribute to this desired component, but it’s the quality of the fruit that is the greatest contributor. The Alder Springs Vineyard in upper Mendocino County is situated at a 2,200’ elevation and is farmed to a stingy three tons (compared to over eight tons in many vineyards) per acre. The result? These grapes obtain concentrated ripe flavors at lower sugars and higher acidity. The 2013 Alder Springs Chardonnay shows aromas of pear, lemon and brown sugar with wet granite weaving through the nose. The aromas translate into the flavors with a hint of almonds in a structure of clarity and purity of fruit.  Given the higher acidity a pairing with oysters or sea scallops would be sensational.  120 cases produced. Drinking window 2015 – 2025. $35

2012 Diener Ranch Petite Sirah – Red Hills, Lake County

Just this year we celebrated our tenth vintage with our relationship with the Diener brothers.  The Petite Sirahs we have produced have shown a remarkable consistency which speaks to the quality of this fruit harvested from this high altitude volcanic site.  The 2012 version once again shows the blackberry, plum and blueberry fruit that dominates the aromas and flavors.  This wine is also tinged with almond and caramel in the aroma, and coffee in the flavors.  There is a liqueur quality to the richness on the finish, which is long and mouth-filling.  The 2012 also shows a little less tannin astringency which lends itself to enjoying early on. The result will be a great deal more complexity and suppleness in the mouth. I continue to be impressed with the ability of Petite to be paired with a wide variety of foods.  Grilled venison with a sauce of reduced blackberry/blueberry herbs and just a very slight touch of a sugar component would be the ticket. 145 cases produced. Drinking window 2015 – 2025+. $38

 2013 Bedrock Vineyard Barbera – Sonoma Valley

The Barbera varietal’s home is in the Piedmonte region of Italy, though it is also widely planted in California with the Bedrock Vineyard being one of the finest producers of this more acidic and tannic grape.  Incredible color and acid are immediately observed as soon as we crush the fruit for fermentation. The 2013 Barbera shows the typical plum and gun smoke aromas along with the ripe fig and black cherry.  There is comfortable warmth to this wine that fills the mouth and provides the stage for the black cherry and plum flavors that persist in a long finish. The acids are higher than all of our other reds with drying tannin, but with the richness of fruit concentrated in the center, balance is achieved.  
125 cases produced.  Drinking window 2015 – 2023. $35

2012 “E” Cabernet Sauvignon – Sonoma County

For the “E” Cab I source fruit mostly from vineyards located within the Sonoma Valley. The main differences in our “E” label wines are that I use a bit less new oak, and tend to age them a few months less than our top-tier Cabernets, though the vinification of these wines is much the same as our entire portfolio. This allows us to offer a superior quality Cabernet Sauvignon at a sub-$30 price point. The 2012 reflects the quality of this vintage, the first without rain in three years.  Warm aromas of plum and blackberries with a hint of herb and pencil lead. The sweet fruit shows in the flavors of black cherry, brown sugar and black currant.  These flavors are all wrapped in a blanket of soft and round mouth filling tannins.  While enjoyable now, this Cabernet will continue to gain in complexity with more time in bottle.
600 cases produced. Drinking window 2015 – 2022. $25