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Enkidu Wine LLC

October 2020 

Greeting Friends of Enkidu:                                                                                                                                   

We hope this letter finds you well and that you are successfully coping with the unprecedented number of challenges that confront us simultaneously.  It is easy to see how overwhelming this is for many people.  However, there are also many positive nuggets of light out there as well that have emerged from this.  I find that when times are tough Melissa and I tend to pull inside and simplify our lives for what matters. We communicate with our daughters for hours on end on the topics of the day and how they are approaching life; the many Zoom meetings with our friends that bring us together far more frequently than pre-Covid; Melissa’s daily painting that continues to evolve while providing therapy; removing clutter and simplifying (literally and metaphorically).  Never have we felt so comforted by our dear friends and acquaintances while realizing how we need the basic necessity of compassion for all.  Then there are the heroes in our land who reach out to mankind and provide inspiration; our health care workers, first responders, and our citizens fighting for personal freedom and justice.  And mothers and fathers doing the best they can. For all that we find troubling we find an equal force of the positivity in what it is to be human. 

Like many individuals and businesses, Enkidu finds itself in limbo.  As noted in our last letter we had to cancel our immediate plans for moving to Fair Play in El Dorado County.  We are still attempting to make this move, but at the moment we have not completed a deal. Fair Play is a beautiful area and is a great source for high quality fruit, and the possibility to have our own facility is a great motivator.   Additionally, we do not currently have a facility in which to sample wines with our Wine Club Members. So, the sooner we can make the move to the Sierra Foothills we will be able to come together (responsibly), taste wines and have good conversation.   

I have heard from many small wineries like Enkidu that were initially in very dire straits.  What occurred for these wineries was an upwelling of support from their club members and from their associations they had created over the years.  Their story is our story, and like them the support you have shown has had a profound effect on Enkidu in our ability to overcome some of the obstacles we continue to face.   We look forward to a time when we can once again come together and share our stories, sip some wine and talk about the new vintages.  That time will come.  In the meantime, we will do our best to communicate with you about our wines and company and hope to hear from you about your navigations through the maze of life.

For us, the goal in producing wine is simple, and is as I have written in the past, “we hope to enhance a moment of your day” with every glass that is filled.   So, with the Fall Wines we are sending to you a wonderful collection of wines that will enhance a few evenings.  Many of the wines come from the fantastic 2018 vintage, a growing season that was the most balanced I have witnessed that led to long hang times for opulent, complex wines  with great balance.  The 2019 vintage was very similar, especially for Pinot Noir, which from the beginning showed to have wonderful aromatics. The Club shipment includes the Club favorites:  the spicy 2018 Humbaba with its intense aromatics; the rich and structured 2018 Diener Ranch Petite Sirah; and the 2018 Ansar Cabernet Sauvignon with its classic character and structure of a luxury Cab.  Completing the assortment are the 2018 Steiner Vineyard Syrah from Sonoma Mountain with gobs of black fruit; the 2017 Cuve’e J/M, a beautiful blend of three Rhone varietals; and the 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that is once again a stellar blend consisting of the Tina Marie and Kalemba vineyards.  As these wines are young, we suggest decanting to introduce air and release the wonderful aromatics and flavors these wines possess. 

We thank you for continuing to enjoy our wines and supporting our efforts to endeavor in producing wines with personality and soul.  Once again, we raise a glass to you, our friends of Enkidu.

Drink Well!

Phil Staehle

 

2017 Cuvée JM  

For many years Janie Mumm has worked by my side in the wine industry.  There has been just one wine that she has requested we make, and that is a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) So finally in 2015, with all the components in place, I put together our first GSM, and in celebration of Janie we call it Cuveé JM.  The 2017 rendition is 43% Grenache (spicy crushed red berries), 38% Syrah (round and full black cherry), and 19% Mourvedre (rustic, earthy with leather).  This wine can be described as “pretty” with its cherry/berry bright flavors with a hint of the stem, giving way to a round, soft texture that is complex and harmonious.  This is a complete wine.  A Best of Class, 95pt winner in the 2019 North Coast Wine Competition.  250 cases produced. Drink now - 2026.

2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir  

This 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot beauty comes on the heels of the outstanding 2018, and they are equal siblings.  Crushed raspberries and strawberries mix with a hint of earthiness.  The RRV shows the richness and opulence of Tina Marie (there is 33% TM in the blend), but also suggests earthiness in the lower layers, which come from the Kalemba Vineyard.  This striking wine shows a beautiful core structure that is enhanced by the 20% whole clusters (with stems) during the fermentation and contributes to a long finish.  The 2019 RRV is awesome now, and awesome in 6 years.  As the wine is young allow 30 minutes to open up, by decanting if possible.   275 cases produced.  Drink 2021-2028.

2018 Sonoma County-Lake County Humbaba  

The Humbaba is one of our best loved wines.  From its beginning in 2006, the Humbaba has been an aromatic blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah, with the occasional inclusion of other Rhone varietals, and has always shown a heady aroma dominated by camphor and roots.  Often, Humbaba displays 9 or 10 different descriptors most of which are not fruit.  Tapanade, beef blood, and white pepper are often present.  And as many fans of this wine know, Humbaba ages exceptionally well with extraordinary complexity and depth well after 10 years.  The 2018, a 45% blend each of Syrah and Petite Sirah, 8% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre, continues this run showing the signature camphor, bittersweet chocolate, roots, plum and blackberry.   300 cases produced. Drink now – 2030. 

2018 ANSAR Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon  

We last bottled ANSAR from the fabulous 2015 vintage, and we sourced two lots from just one vineyard. The success of that wine led us to continue that relationship with the Viluko Vineyard.  However, the devastaing loss of Viluko in the 2017 fires required the search for other vineyards to create the blend that would become our flagship Cabernet Sauvignon.  Composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2018 ANSAR was created from three vineyards, mostly from elevation, with 83% coming from Sonoma and 17% from Napa.  I employed a saigneé (bled off juice) at crush to increase the depth and richness, and then aged these lots in 60% new French oak.  Rich with classic Cabernet characters of cassis, blackberry, a hint of graphite and tar, and a dash of dried sage.  Framed in the aromas and flavors of subtle French oak, the 2018 is broad in depth with a long finish.  Still just a baby and a bit closed, decant to infuse air to liberate this beauty. 150 cases produced. Drink 2021-2032.

2018 Diener Ranch Red Hills-Lake County Petite Sirah  

The 2018 Diener Ranch Petite Sirah continues a long string of fantastic vintages from this Red Hills vineyard in Lake County.  The volcanic red soils and surrounding brush have proven to be a fantastic site for producing exceptional Petite.  The structure we obtain is consistently balanced with the varietal character of broad tannins and length, but with a roundness that makes our Petite approachable early on. I love the spicy black pepper and brandy soaked black cherry aroma that combines with plum and toasted French oak. The 2018 is SO good!   50 cases produced.          Drink now – 2028.

2018 Steiner Vineyard Syrah

The Steiner Vineyard is a well-situated vineyard on the cool windy side of Sonoma Mountain and produces deep and complex wines.  The follow up to the 2017, the 2018 is a bit more broad with expansive aromas of forest floor and crushed blackberries and raspberries.  These translate into the flavors with a hint of tar in a soft structure that builds with tannin at the finish. Like the Atoosa, the Steiner is reminiscent of a classic Côte Rôtie.   50 cases produced.  Drink now -2030.