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Wine of the Week: Enkidu Wines

Fri Mar 21, 2008

This past week I had the opportunity to attend the Family of Winemakers tasting in Pasadena. Family Winemakers is an advocacy group for California’s smaller wine producers, protecting their right to make, market and sell their wines. The Southern California tasting is always a great opportunity to discover new wines and to taste some things we carry at K&L, but that are made in such small quantities that it’s hard to get to taste them.

This year, more than 300 hundred wineries were on hand to pour their wines, including the producer of this week’s Wine of the Week: Enkidu. Owner/winemaker Phil Staehle learned winemaking at Carmonet Vineyards in the 1980s and 1990s and, I think, was also very influenced by his time working with Copain’s Wells Guthrie (another of my favorite small, California producers). Enkidu wines are named for a character in the ancient Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, a protector of the land and animals and a perfect/imperfect representation of both humans and wine. Staehle produces terroir-driven Syrah, Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir from a number of Northern California sites. My favorite was the 2005 Diener Ranch Petite Sirah from the Red Hills of Lake County. Powerful, but incredibly well-integrated, this wine was absolutely gorgeous! Aromas of black fruit, tobacco, California bay, sage and anise spill from the glass, beckoning a sip. On the attack the wine shows blackberry and plum flavors with vibrant acidity on the mid-palate. An undercurrent of fresh-roasted coffee, leather, pipe tobacco and wild mountain herbs all add lovely complexity. The tannins are ripe, but amazingly supple for such a young wine. And though the wine spent time in new French oak, the vanilla and spice flavors and wood tannins are subtle and seamlessly incorporated into the wine. And though I think this wine was drinking beautifully right now (in fact, I wish a I had a bottle or two to pour, after some decanting, with my Easter lamb this Sunday), I think it will evolve nicely in bottle over the next five years. Still pretty hard to find, I’m exciting to know we’ll be getting this and a couple other Enkidu wines at K&L soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

Cin Cin.

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One Response to “Wine of the Week: Enkidu Wines”

  1. Shannon Says:

    Hi Leah,

    My name is Shannon and I’m the editorial assistant at Foodbuzz.com. I am very impressed with the quality of your posts and to that end, I’d like to invite you to be a part of our newly launched Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at Shannon@foodbuzz.com.


    Shannon Eliot
    Editorial Assistant, Foodbuzz.com

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