L'Ecole 41 Pepper Bridge Vineyard Apogee 2006
Other Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 8% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc
This vineyard, planted in the terraced remnants of ice-age flood deposits, is one of the Walla Walla Valley's most reputable vineyards. Apogee was the first wine produced from this vineyard and shows its characteristic spicy, bold and dark fruit flavors with a rich structure, well-integrated tannins and a long finish.
A cool spring, followed by a cool fruit set in June set the stage for lower yields than normal in 2006. Light crops tend to get lighter, and an abundance of sunshine and heat units in July resulted in small berry size and cluster weights. A mild August helped extend the late season ripening period into September and October. The overall season crop load was lower than normal, at 2 ½ tons per acre. Our traditional cool long harvest with no rainfall resulted in fabulous fruit quality, with bright clean aromatics and acidity in the whites and vibrant extraction and rich color in the red wines.
Boldly aromatic, this wine has spicy aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, earthy hints of sweet tobacco and leather, and smoky dark fruit packed with chocolate, mint and cherry finish.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2006 Apogee Pepper Bridge Vineyard is 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 8% Malbec, and 4% Cabernet Franc. A saturated purple color, it has a brooding nose of sandalwood, pencil lead, spice box, and assorted black fruits. It is the most concentrated, complex, and intense of the L’Ecole reds with darker, layered fruit and greater aging potential. Drink this superb effort between 2015 and 2031. "
Wine & Spirits - "Apogee, a blend of cabernet sauvignon (46 percent), merlot (42) malbec and cabernet franc, shows little at first – Pepper Bridge always takes its time. After a few minutes in the glass, a savory brown-bread spice and pipe tobacco scent emerges, along with a taut core of black fig. While youthfully reticent, this is a formidable wine, balanced, composed, poised, just waiting for its moment. Cellar a year and serve with roast lamb."
Wine Spectator - "Dark and distinctive, hanging its ripe plum, currant and cherry fruit on a rangy, wide-open frame that lets the flavors mingle with hints of olive and pepper as the finish rolls on easily. Drink now through 2014."
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L'Ecole 41 Winery
L'Ecole No 41, a family owned vineyard, has been producing premium handcrafted varietal wines since 1983 in the historic Frenchtown School in Lowden, Washington. Having been founded by Jean and Baker Ferguson, the winery is now owned and operated by their daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Martin Clubb. Martin has been the general manager and winemaker since 1989.
In 1984, shortly after the first 1983 vintage was resting in barrel, Jean and Baker Ferguson, the founders, held a contest with all the relatives' children under grade six. The objective: draw a colorful drawing to be used as a wine label. Some of the children drew pictures of the school building, others drew bottles of wine with glasses, and at least one drew a picture of the cat. The prize at the time was $100 cash, plus royalties on posters sold (fortunately the state liquor board would not allow royalties on the wine).
The winner: 8 year old third grade cousin Ryan Campbell. Ryan's watercolor of the schoolhouse was drawn just about the time of Walla Walla's Hot Air Balloon Stampede, and he came up with the grape cluster balloon. All of the entries, including Ryan's original, hang in the tasting room for visitors to admire. Today, Ryan has just completed his Architecture Degree at the University of Idaho. View all L'Ecole 41 Wines
About Walla Walla ValleyView a map of Walla Walla Valley wineries
Sharing part of the valley with Oregon, Walla Walla is on the southeast side of the Columbia Valley. It is primarily red grape land, with Cabernet Sauvignon leading in the vineyards, followed by Merlot and the ever-growing and very popular, Syrah.In the 1990's, as Washington State was gaining more acclaim for its red wines, Walla Walla was hailed by wine critics for its quality and sense of place. That has not changed. Many red wines from Walla Walla show not only great complexity and elegance, but ageability. Though the region is known for the red wines, the most planted white grape here is Chardonnay.
About WashingtonRelated Links:Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.