As you are driving into the Walla Walla area, in the town of Lowden you notice a beautiful schoolhouse on your left with a large flagpole. One of the standout wineries in Walla Walla, L’Ecole No. 41 has impressed with their latest set of releases. The winery is set in a 1915 schoolhouse and is the perfect location to taste some of the valley’s most consistent lineup of red and white wines. Marty Clubb serves as managing winemaker and oversees all vineyard management. Production winemaker Mike Sharon has been with L’Ecole since 1996 having previously served at Canoe Ridge. Marty and Mike oversee over 90 lots of wine each year. They makes some of the best Chenin Blanc in the state as the new 2016 L’Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc (WWB, 92) is a massive value showing a great combination of richness and poise. At only $15.00 retail, this is one of the best values I have sampled this year out of Washington State. I can remember tasting L’Ecole Chardonnay back to the 2000 vintage and their latest edition from the 2016 vintage (WWB, 91) has a beautiful poise and wonderful range. Do not miss out on their stunning 2014 L’Ecole No. 41 ‘Perigee’ Red Wine (WWB, 93) as this stunning blend of Bordeaux varietals will age gracefully for decades. Learn more about this outstanding winery at http://lecole.com/ Here are the great new wines by L’Ecole No. 41.
2016 L’Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc- Sourced from the Columbia Valley, this pale colored wine begins with aromas of kiwi, lemon rind, wet stone, starfruit, and green apple. This has really outstanding weight and poise. Kiwi, gooseberry, citrus blossom and Gravenstein apple flavors impress. This downright delicious wine will cellar well for the next five plus years. For a mere fifteen dollars, this is one of the great values in Washington wine. Drink 2017-2022- 92
2016 L’Ecole No. 41 Chardonnay- This Chardonnay weighs in at 14.5% alcohol and was sourced from the Schmitt, Oasis and Evergreen Vineyards. This shows creme brulee, apricot, nutmeg, and heavy whipping cream aromatics. This has a beautiful combination of weight and acidity. This showcases deep vanilla cream, nutmeg, roasted pineapple and creme brûlée flavors. Drink 2017-2024- 91
2014 L’Ecole No. 41 ‘Walla Walla Valley’ Merlot- This wine weighs in at 14.5% alcohol and is sourced for the Ferguson and Seven Hills Vineyards. The wine is a blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged for 18 months in 40% new French oak prior to bottling. This Merlot begins with aromas of sagebrush, milk chocolate, black cherry and roasted figs. Silky smooth on the mid-palate as the wine yields deep flavors of mocha, cigar box, pencil shavings and minerals that connect with a nice tension. The combination of weight and elegance here is lovely. If enjoying young, be sure to give this at least an hour in the decanter. Drink 2017-2027- 92
2014 L’Ecole No. 41 ‘Estate GSM’ Red Wine- Sourced from the Seven Hills Vineyard, this wine is a compelling blend of 34% Grenache, 33% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre. The wine spent 20 months in used oak prior to bottling. This ‘GSM’ begins with aromas of red cherry preserves, allspice and black raspberry liquor with dried sage. The palate reveals downright delicious flavors of red raspberry jam, Christmas spice, and wild blackberry cobbler. This shows nice poise in this hot vintage. Drink 2017-2027- 91
2014 L’Ecole No. 41 ‘Walla Walla Valley’ Cabernet Sauvignon- Needing more than an hour decant to settle, this wine weighs in at 14.5% alcohol and was aged for 22 months in 40% new French oak prior to bottling. The wine is sourced from the Seven Hills, Loess, Summitt View, Yellow Jacket, Stone Valley, Ferguson and Pepper Bridge Vineyards. Dark fruits mingle with milk chocolate shavings and anise on the nose. The weight mid-palate is fantastic. Milk chocolate, blackberry pie and anise flavors with light tannins impress. Drink 2017-2027- 92
2014 L’Ecole No. 41 ‘Perigee’ Red Wine- Sourced from the Seven Hills Vineyard, the 2014 ‘Perigee’ by L’Ecole No. 41 is a silky blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. The wine was aged in 50% new French oak for 22 months prior to bottling. This deep hued wine begins with aromatics reminiscent of milk chocolate covered cherry, sagebrush, anise and pipe tobacco. Beautifully balanced, this wine has a gorgeous mouthfeel and acid streak. The weight shines through and shows off flavors of creme de cassis, milk chocolate, blackberry pie and a savory and saline-driven ending. Try to wait on this awesome wine another year. Drink 2018-2030- 93