L'Ecole 41 Pepper Bridge Vineyard Apogee 2008
Other Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Boldly aromatic, this sophisticated and complex wine has aromas of spice and earthy hints of sweet tobacco and leather. Dense dark fruit is wrapped in nuances of smoke, cocoa, and mint with gripping tannins as the finish persists.
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 8% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc
Wine Spectator - "A bit tough in texture, but the pure blueberry and currant fruit comes through clearly, driving through a layer of chewy tannins to persist nicely on the meaty finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2018."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Apogee Pepper Bridge Vineyard is made up of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 8% Malbec, and 3% Cabernet Franc aged for 22 months in 50% new French oak. Balsam wood, graphite, cinnamon, clove, espresso, violets, black currant, and blackberry aromas inform the nose of a structured, savory, incipiently complex blend that will benefit from another 3-4 years of cellaring. This balanced, lengthy effort offers a drinking window extending from 2014 to 2028.
Wine Enthusiast - "A Cabernet-dominated, Bordeaux-style blend, this peppery red has a complex mix of earth and spice scents around tart red fruit. Notes of toast and cinnamon, sharp acidity, and tannins with residual green tea flavors keep the finish interesting."
Wine & Spirits - "Red wines grown at Pepper Bridge often take their time to open, like this vintage of Apogee, which is in hibernation at the moment. Decant it and the wine begins to yield savory notes—tobacco, tea, dried chocolate—while the scent of fruit remains faint. The wine comes to life on the palate, where it feels poised even while unformed. Give this at least a year in the cellar."
International Wine Cellar - "Good full, deep red. Aromas of raspberry and sandalwood. Sweet, fat and full, but with a firm mineral spine and plenty of sweet tannins giving shape and lift to this velvety blend. The slightly tough, medicinal finish really calls for patience.
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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.