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   ENKIDU WINE DINNER  at El Paso's 2900
 
 
 
2010 - Volume 1 Issue 2
¡Comidas Sabroso!
Wine & Spirits
 
Article: Joe Burgess
Photos: Joe Burgess
 
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As one would expect from Mark Heins, the 2900 wine dinner held last May in El Paso was great. But first, we have to get past the wine brand name. Enkidu – is it Japanese from some ancient dynasty, an Inca word perhaps? Keep going back, over 4000 years to the birthplace of wine – the Tigris/Euphrates valleys of present day Iraq. In what may be the oldest surviving written work from Mesopotamia, the Epic of Gilgamesh, a character named Enkidu emerged and befriended King Gilgamesh of Uruk. Enkidu was the embodiment of strength and passion with a love of the land, making his name a good choice for a well-tended artisan wine.

    Information

2900
2900 N Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
915-544-1400
goto2900.com

Enkidu Wines
707-939-3930
enkiduwines.com
Owner/winemaker, Phil Staehle, certainly has his own techniques, but states that the main advantage of the small wineries is that the winemaker is able to oversee every detail. “The winemaker actually hand-crafts the wines. I am directly involved with the decision-making at each of our supplier vineyards. It is especially critical for the petite syrah, in which case I am directly involved in the thinning and canopy management of the small vineyard. In some cases we take all the grapes from a grower’s one or two-acre plots, which provides us almost total control over the grapes.”

California is the largest consumer of Enkidu, with Texas ranking second. “Interestingly, two-thirds of the Enkidu wine sold in Texas is sold in west Texas,” states Phil. “I’m here to enhance that relationship. I want to embrace people in a way that has a positive reflection on the personality of Enkidu – and to let people know that Enkidu is bottled with passion.”

“As an artisan wine maker,” continued Phil, “I like helping people understand what goes into the wine, but in the end, it is simply about enjoying the wine. I would hope that someone’s one hour during the week when that person sits down to dinner, that it is enhanced in a very positive way by what we do – the wines we make.”

Phil said that he was cooking and collecting wine by the time he was 18. “That certainly enhanced my knowledge and ability – if you conceptualize how ingredients contribute to the flavors in a dish, wine is similar. Everything should be in balance, every component contributing, but not standing out over the others. That ability contributes to good pairing.”

Enkidu produces 5000 cases a year, including 14 wines, eight or nine varietals.

A few comments from guests included, “Delicious food and excellent pairing,” from Nora Herrera. “My favorite wine was the petite syrah and I loved the eggplant. Everything was just right. There was not a wine that I did not like and the service was excellent.”

Rafael Adame stated, “You can always count on Mark for the best of food and the wine was a pleasant surprise. I asked in particular about the rosé and Phil also went into great detail about the blend of the syrah, the grapes that were used and how to differentiate between the wines. I would loved to have spent more time with Phil – would loved to have had him all to ourselves.”

Ahmed Badr said, “Wonderful evening, everything was selected very carefully, very nice. I enjoyed the syrah and sauvignon blanc. For the food, my favorite was the scallops and lamb chops – I’m a lamb guy.” ///
 
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