L’Ecole No. 41, under the leadership of Marty Clubb, is one of Walla Walla’s pioneers, the third modern day winery in the Valley. Over the years the winery has prospered, outgrown the namesake schoolhouse, and now is about to outgrow the charming label which may have contributed to its fame. Be that as it may, L’Ecole now produces about 35,000 cases with distribution in all 50 states and abroad. Despite the expansion, quality has remained consistently excellent as has pricing, no doubt the main reason why L’Ecole seems to have survived the recession without too much pain."
L'Ecole 41 Pepper Bridge Vineyard Apogee 2007
Other Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Boldly aromatic, this mature wine has aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, earthy hints of sweet tobacco and leather, and smoky dark fruit packed with chocolate, mint and cherry fruit on a richly balanced and integrated finish.
L'Ecole has been producing Pepper Bridge Vineyard Apogee since 1993. Apogee represents our best effort to capture this vineyard's distinctive and characteristic spicy bold aromas, dark fruit flavors and rich structure.
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc
The Wine Advocate - "The fruit for the 2007 Apogee Pepper Bridge Vineyard matured 2 weeks later than the Seven Hills fruit. It is an almost identical blend with the exception of 6% Malbec and 4% Cabernet Franc and was aged in 50% new oak. Aromas of toasty oak, tobacco, leather, Asian spices, black currant, and black cherry leads to a more structured offering that will require 4-6 years of cellaring. Well-balanced, intense, and mouth-filling, it will amply reward those with patience.
Wine Spectator - "Polished, vibrant and distinctive for the guava accents around a supple core of cherry and spice, all of it lingering as the finish revs up. Shows some cedar notes as well. This one has pizzazz. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2012 through 2020. 1,630 cases made. "
Wine & Spirits - "Mostly cabernet and merlot, this blend is powerful at the outset, with a leafy, savory cedar note. The plum fruit is reticent at first, but its depth and leathery grip imply the wine is still burled up in its structure. It's only in the finish that the wine's acidity loosens its tannic grip. Cellar for two years at least, then open for roast beef."
Wine Enthusiast - "First to arrive, straight to your awaiting nose, are complex aromatics, with a mix of floral and spicy highlights that surround the black and purple fruits with exotic nuances. The fruit is nigh perfect—ripe, round, forward and loaded with plummy, sweet berries. It gathers strength in the core, holds, and then expands into a finish dusted with cocoa and coffee."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright ruby-red. Plum, menthol, herbs and exotic spices on the nose, with a strong element of chocolatey, nutty oak. Silky on entry, then thick, sweet and full without coming across as heavy. Distinctly broader and lusher in the mouth-not to mention sweeter-than the two cabernet releases from this winery. The currant, plum and chocolate flavors are complicated by a light herbal element. The tannins reach the front teeth on the persistent, firmly structured finish."
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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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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