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Enkidu Wine LLC

Fall 2021

Dear Friends of Enkidu:

It’s a cool, fall morning and something strange has occurred – rain in October?!  It smells so good!  This is a perfect ending to this year’s harvest.  With fall comes the incredible smells and change of light that makes this such a special time.  Not having harvested any fruit last year, this year’s crush has been extra special.  Once again, Anu, my hairy lab “beast” has experienced his favorite time, marking his 11th harvest!  He has been an incredible companion throughout the years and each year I hope, and am very grateful, for another harvest together.

A lot of changes have occurred in the past few months.  Our plans to purchase a winery in the Sierra Foothills fell through.  I then needed to find a new location for our production.  I was in complete limbo when serendipity hit.  On a chance visit to the Ceja’s “Heirs of My Dream Winery” in Sonoma Valley, former custom crush client, Armando Ceja, offered me a great opportunity to occupy a spot in their beautiful hospitality suite (quite the upgrade from the parking lot of our old warehouse!).  Armando’s daughter, Belen, (my former employee), operates the production facility, and so the transition to Heirs has been like coming back to family.  It has been wonderful to be here, and with the added bonus of the ability to host our club members in a fabulous indoor/outdoor space, it’s even more special. 

Another huge change for Enkidu has been the addition of our Hospitality/Operations Manager, Bev Dickinson.  Bev comes with a wealth of experience and has immediately applied her abilities in upgrading our wine club, setting up our European river cruise for July 2022, and crafting multiple improvements.  Many of you have already communicated with Bev, who is your club connection.  I and Enkidu are so grateful to have her join us as we begin a new chapter for our company. 

During harvest, the winemaker, production staff and harvesting crews, work many long days and hours, many times without relief…currently on day 75…so a great deal of the relationship is held up by his/her companion.  I have been so lucky that Melissa keeps me going with her undying support.  After 25 harvests, she continues to take on the lion’s share of the work, enabling me to focus on winemaking.  And she does this having a full-time practice and two grandsons that relish her attention.  We added a new addition to the household and Enkidu team this year.  Hannah, our second cousin from Washington, has come to assist with both harvest and hospitality.  Finding employees has been challenging and we are fortunate that Hannah has filled a much-needed role for which I am greatly appreciative.  Daughter Natasia continues to work full-time while raising two boys, and Daughter Gabbi is making a life in New Zealand.  Clearly neither are available to help with crush.  Thank goodness for our extended family!

Now that I am a “client” and no longer operate my own facility, it is strange, but also quite liberating as well.  I now have more time to fully focus on my wines, more so than before.  I was able to pull in an impression lineup of vineyards this year.  I secured two new, well-known Russian River Pinot Noir vineyards that produce exceptional fruit.  One was due to Bev’s contacts she developed when she was at Papapietro Perry Winery in her previous life.  The initial impression is that the Pinots will excel this year.

I added some Cabernet vineyards that I have worked with in the past: Viluko and Obsidian Ridge.  The fruit has been the make up our Ansar and High Mayacamas respectively.  I was also able to score some fantastic fruit from the Bismark Vineyard, high up in the Mayacamas range above Moon

Mountain Vineyard (Carmenet).  I have so many great lots of wines to compose the Ansar and High Mayacamas blends in the coming months that I am giddy with anticipation. 

This growing season was without the disruption of fire, at least in our region, though we have been experiencing the stresses of drought.  I am very fortunate to have found vineyards producing some exceptional fruit, but did reject some from a few vineyards.  We are witnessing drought caused conditions that have severely impacted a good deal of the vineyards and mainly saw a very low crop yield.  It is with a great deal of relief and expectation, perhaps a bit premature, that we are already receiving rain.  

Our Fall 2021 Wine Club shipment contains the following Winemaker’s Selection:  2019 Grenache, Sonoma County; 2019 Humbaba Rhône Blend; 2019 Petite Sirah, Diener Ranch; 2019 Syrah, Steiner Vineyard; 2019 Chardonnay, Clarksburg; and the 2016 Zinfandel, Bedrock Vineyard.  As your shipments are now customizable, you may have opted to receive other wines.

Our Grenache is from the Ceja Vineyard in Sonoma Valley.  I have worked with this fruit for many years and appreciate the crushed red fruit and spice flavors along with a little blueberry note that seems to be this vineyard’s signature.  Like the Diener Petite and Steiner Syrah I only produce 50 cases.  The Diener Petite comes from the Red Hills of Lake County.  This volcanic area surrounded by brush produces intense, well-balanced wines that are proving to age for 15+ years.  At 2000’ elevation, fruit from this vineyard is also used in small amounts in some of our Cabs, and is a major contributor to Humbaba.  Humbaba, traditionally a blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah, may also include other Rhône varietals, such as the 2019 with the addition of Grenache and Mourvèdre.  Our 2019 Humbaba has the tell-tale character of our previous vintages…spice, complexity and richness…and a bit of the well-known camphor.  The Steiner Syrah, comes from the cool, windy side of Sonoma Mountain.  I include 20% whole cluster fermentation for my Syrahs.  The added stems give a great structure to these wines that is needed to help carry the wine to a long finish.  Our Clarksburg Chardonnay is barrel fermented and offers tremendous caramel/apple aromas and flavors, with yeasty, brioche and lemon curd flavors.  A bit more buttery than our previous Chards, the richness comes through beautifully and is supported by ample acidity.  The last selection is our final, and perhaps finest, bottling of the 2016 Bedrock Vineyard Zinfandel.  It comes from the Sonoma Valley vineyard planted in 1888 and includes a mixed blacks field blend containing more than six varietals, including Zinfandel, Carignan, Aligoté Bouchet, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Black Muscat, and others.  It is a beautiful wine drinking at its best!  Just 40 cases left. 

We are thrilled to be able to receive you at our new location.  It is, by far, the best hospitality facility Enkidu has been able to offer.  We are able to enhance the experience of your tasting in a relaxed beautiful location. Thank you so much for your support as we begin our next chapter.  Over the past year I have come to know many more Club Members as I was a company of one for a few months.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate our interactions and look forward to our further engagements. 

Drink well!

Phil