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Tasting notes on four wines from Eno Wines, September 5, 2006. The wines were tasted in a single non-blind flight over a period of six hours. The '03s are current releases and were from 750ml bottles.

Overall impressions: each of these wines were very good to excellent. I especially liked the Grenache and Syrah, but the Pinot is classic Santa Lucia Highlands. Looking for both smaller unknown vineyards, in addition to well-established sources seems to be something that winemaker/proprietor Sasha Verhage prefers, and the quality here shows. And, as if that weren't enough, check out those cool label graphics.

Tasting Notes

2004 Eno Zinfandel "The Patriarch " - Teldeschi Vnyd, Dry Creek Valley. $25
Medium ruby garnet color. Old vine Zin has such a beautiful tell-tale nose -- it's kind of brambly and viney in aroma, and this one just smacks of dark berry! Ultra-smooth in mouthfeel, with a nice touch of grip on the long finish from the small % of Petite Sirah. Picks up a little heat as well, but considering the alcohol level, this wine wears it well. Delicious now, and some age will only improve it. 16.3% alcohol. Production: 70 cases.

2004 Eno Grenache "The Wild One " - Eaglepoint Ranch, Mendocino County. $25
Medium ruby garnet color. Nice floral-scented raspberry fruit. Initially, seems easy on the palate - almost more of a quaffer, but the fruit really kicks in at mid-palate and keeps pumping through the very long delicious finish. Fabulous Grenache!
Production: 50 cases.

2004 Eno Pinot Noir "The Gifted One" - Fairview Road Ranch, Santa Lucia Highlands. $35
Dark ruby color. Fascinating herb-influenced nose of bing cherry and raspberry, along with a touch of cola spice. (There's almost a sense of whole cluster fermentation - though I'm not sure if this was done.) Ripe and full on the palate, with juicy acidity, lots of dark fruit, and a nice balance of fruit and acid throughout. 15.5% alcohol.
Production: 70 cases.

2004 Eno Syrah "The Matriarch " - Las Madres Vnyd, Carneros. $35
Dark ruby color. Lush and plush in both nose and mouth, with an abundance of blackberry fruit, with light notes of tarry licorice, pepper and a touch of herb. Smooth and rich -- almost like blackberry compote, there is amazing balance to this wine, with a nice chewy mouthfeel and long smooth finish.
Production: 70 cases.

Behind the Label

Eno wines' proprietor and winemaker Sasha Verhage has been making small batches of wine since 1999. Sasha has also taken a number of winemaking and viticulture courses at UC Davis, and has traveled to Italy, Australia, and many California wineries to research winemaking techniques. His amateur wines have been medal finishers at a multitude of Fairs and competitions, and for the past few years has pursued his winemaking as a hobby/avocation, since he held down a full time job in another industry. Well, not any more - Sasha is now full time at his Eno wines. Eno is making high quality wines from established vineyards, or those that Sasha feels has great potential. The wine making techniques are based on minimal intervention, and bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Vineyard Sources:

Ray Teldeschi's meticulous vineyard is nestled in the heart of Dry Creek Valley. His head pruned vines date back over 115 years ago. Old vine field selections were taken to plant a new selection. UC Davis recognized this vineyard by archiving in ZAP's Heritage Zinfandel project. This vineyard has sourced fruit for many well-known wineries , such as Ridge, Ravenswood, and Carlisle.
Fairview Road Ranch is sited in between two of the best vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands: Garys' and Rosella's, with about 8 acres of Pinot and 6 acres of Syrah. The two-thirds 667 clone and the spice and complexity come from the one-third Pommard 4.
Eaglepoint Ranch has some of the best grapes in Mendocino County, and sells to premier producers such as Rosenblum, Copain, Sean Thackery, and Edmunds St. John. Meticulously farmed by Casey Hartlip, it remains a bastion of Rhone varieties.
Las Madres vineyard was named after the growers respective mothers - Ester and Hulda. This cold-climate Syrah is equal parts clone 174 and 300 with 2% co-fermented Viognier.

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