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Street Value

Eighth Street Wineries throw a block party

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After an epic journey, Enkidu has returned to the wilderness—returned to the comparative wilderness of the Eighth Street warehouse district south of the town of Sonoma, that is.

Winemaker and founder Phillip Staehle named Enkidu Wines after a semi-domesticated demigod who plays a supporting role in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the original bromance of ancient Babylonia. While the tasting room has been somewhat peripatetic (English majors will be quick to note that's not, like, a sad thing) over the past decade or so, popping up around Sonoma Valley, production has always been sensibly situated in this wine-soaked industrial park.

And to the classics majors: no, Enkidu's recent retreat from pricey real estate on the Sonoma Plaza is not the sad part of the story, like its namesake's exile to the underworld: Enkidu is participating in the Eighth Street Wineries Association's annual tasting this Saturday, Feb. 23, with neighbors MacLaren, Obsidian, Stone Edge Farm, Talisman, Tin Barn, Ty Caton and William Knuttel, some of which are only open to the public for special events.

Enkidu's signature wine is a Rhône-styled red blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre called Humbaba (after a beast that attempted to guard the cedar forest from Enkidu and his buddy Gilgamesh, who sometimes behaved badly), and it's often sold out, but the new 2017 Humbaba ($28) premieres at the tasting, along with newly released 2016 Bedrock Vineyard Zinfandel ($38).

The 2017 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc ($22), though no longer sourced from Kick Ranch, maintains a tropical yet lean and zesty style. You want Cab, try the 2016 High Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon ($35). From all high-elevation vineyards, this savory, balanced wine from the new school of old-school California Cab sports enough of a juicy cassis core to win over a Cab-jaded palate, too. There'll be a special event discount on top of these already fair prices, and that's not to mention Enkidu's "E" label wines, which won't be poured on Saturday, but offer Sonoma County Pinot and old vine Zin for $25.

The event works like this: choose which winery you want to check in to (note that Enkidu is across the street from the other wineries), then taste all the wines you want, paired with small bites at each winery, from their chef or local catering favorites like Girl & the Fig—at $45 for lunch and a weekend's worth of winetasting, a pretty civilized value.

Eighth Street Wineries Annual Open House, Saturday, Feb. 23, noon-4pm. Tickets, $45 advance; $50 door; $10 designated driver. $10 raffle tickets benefit La Luz Center in Sonoma.

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