Enkidu is a small artisanal winery owned and operated by Phil Staehle. It produces a wide variety of handcrafted wines of high quality and originality from its custom crush facility in Sonoma, sourcing grapes from top vineyards such as Bedrock and Alder Springs, and following minimalist wine making techniques. A student of the late Dick Graff of the Chalone Group, Phil honed his wine making craft at Carmenet Vineyards from the mid-1980s to the mid-90s before launching Enkidu in 2003.
The wines reviewed here are well-made and flavorful. Sourced from vineyards in Sonoma County, Mendocino County and Lake County, they are on the ripe side and mouth filling with good fruitiness and concentration. The whites are tasty, fresh and vibrant; the reds are bold and richly flavored with excellent concentration and hints of terroir.
The unusual name “Enkidu” is taken from the old epic of Gilgamesh which details the life of King Gilgamesh and his protector Enkidu who was part deity and part human. Enkidu was a steward of the land and protector of animals, and, according to Phil Staehle, Enkidu’s bold spirit and passion guide his wine making.
Enkidu Wine 2014 Chardonnay Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County ($35) 91 The 2014 Chardonnay Alder Springs is a crisp Chablis-like flavorful offering. It displays fresh tropical fruit with hints of toasted oak. It has good concentration, a light creamy mouth feel, and plenty of natural acidity to enjoy with food. Aged in 40% new French oak. Sourced from Alder Springs Vineyard in Mendocino situated at 2,200 ft and close to the Pacific Ocean. Enkidu Wine 2015 ‘E’ Cuveé MS Rhone White Mendocino County ($20) 90 This inaugural offering of Enkidu’s Rhone White is a blend of 40% Roussanne, 40% Marsanne and 20% Viognier. It is a flavorful wine with excellent balance and acidity. Aged in neutral oak, it is mouth filling with good concentration and a persistent finish. Sourced from Alder Springs Vineyard in Mendocino. Enkidu Wine 2014 “E” Old Vine Zinfandel Sonoma County ($25) 90+This old vine Zinfandel is sourced from the Bedrock Vineyard and other outstanding old vineyards in Sonoma County. A blend of 75% Zinfandel, 15% Carignan, 6% Alicante Bouschet and 4% Petite Sirah, it is opaque-colored, bold flavored and concentrated with black cherry and blackberry fruit. Aged one year in neutral French oak, it offers a full ripe-tasting mouth feel, excellent balance and a long rich spicy after-taste. Enkidu Wine 2013 High Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon Lake County, Sonoma County, Mendocino County ($35) 91 This offering is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah and 6% Petit Verdot. Opaque ruby in color, it reveals rich aromas of black currants, blackberry and toast with a hint of herbs. It is smooth on the attack with firm tannins, and is richly flavored and mouth filling. Aged in 40% new French oak, it displays the rich intensity of highly extracted mountain wine. It will benefit from some additional time in bottle and should age gracefully for up to 10 years. Enkidu Wine 2015 “E’ Cuvee JM Rhone Red Sonoma County ($20) 89+ This inaugural Rhone blend was sourced from three vineyards. The Mourvedre from old vines in Contra Costa County, and the Grenache and Syrah in Sonoma County mountains. It is a big extracted wine although rather plummy and one dimensional with dry tannins and an excessively dry finish. Enkidu Wine 2013 Asnar Cabernet Franc Moon Mountain District ($60) 91 A delicious wine showing great purity of blackberry fruit flavor with hints of toast, herbs and loam. Blended with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and aged in 67% new French oak for 21 months, it is mouth filling on the palate with good ripeness and concentration, firm round tannins and a generous long finish.