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Part 4 of a 2006 California travelogue

by Thor Iverson

23 April 2006 – Berkeley, California

Wine tasting in Berkeley (con’t)

Sasha Verhage from Eno is the third and final proprietor at this mini-tasting and sale in Berkeley, and while he’s talkative and friendly I immediately get on his bad side for asking about the accuracy of the alcohol level listed on one of his labels (they’re 100% accurate, according to him). Oh well, my fault. As to the aforementioned labels, they’re decidedly different. Pretentious, perhaps, or individualistic and artistic…it depends on one’s state of mind, I suppose, but the cuvée-designated names (each of which appears to have a meaning specific to that wine...won’t they eventually run out of clever things to say?) lend credence to either interpretation. Personally, I suppose I lean towards the former given the other verbiage on the labels (check out the web site), but that might be unfair.

Eno 2003 Pinot Noir Fairview Road Ranch “The Great Promise” (Santa Lucia Highlands) – 14.1%. Slightly synthetic berries are all that can be coaxed from a rather closed nose. The palate is much better, showing lots of graphite, but I like my pinot to have an aroma. At this point, I’m thinking there might be some potential here…after all, this was their first stab at this wine.

Eno 2004 Pinot Noir Fairview Road Ranch “The Gifted One” (Santa Lucia Highlands) – 15.5%. Bigger fruit with a thick, sludgy texture and some clearly noticeable heat on the finish. Not for me.

Eno 2001 Zinfandel Teldeschi “Little Miss Dangerous” (Dry Creek Valley) – 14.9%. Light blueberry infused with mint leaves, and showing a barky finish. Not good at all, and unrecognizable as zin.

Eno 2002 Zinfandel Teldeschi “Caught Red Handed” (Dry Creek Valley) – 16.1%. Notice how the alcohol levels escalate as the wines advance in vintage? Anyway: Fuller-bodied than the 2001, showing big, juicy fruit and raw peanuts, and even a bit of earth. Not too hot, but extremely heavy. This is by far the best wine at the table, but still not anywhere close to a purchase for me.

Eno 2004 Grenache Eaglepoint Ranch “The Wild One” (Mendocino County) – 14.9%, and from a vineyard I usually like. This is high-toned (as grenache often is), showing raspberry syrup and zingy, acidic fruit jelly with just a touch of biting tannin. Maybe 75% of a good wine, but that missing 25% makes all the difference.

Eno 2004 Syrah Las Madres “The Matriarch” (Carneros) – 15.6%. Heavy, ponderous blueberry syrup. More like a dessert topping (minus the yummy sugar) than a wine, really. Maybe as the base for a sauce?

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Copyright ©2006 Thor Iverson.