L'Ecole 41 Chardonnay 2009
Chardonnay from Columbia Valley, Washington
Some of the best Chardonnays in Washington State are grown in the slightly cooler growing conditions of Yakima Valley and in the northern latitudes of the Columbia Valley. The Schmitt Vineyard (Yakima Valley) provides nice tropical fruit, while Evergreen (latitude 47 on the Columbia River) contributes crisp acidity and minerality.
This elegantly expressive Chardonnay offers an enticing mix of tropical fruit, flint and crisp Asian pear. The vibrant structure of this wine is finely balanced between richness and minerality adding complexity on the clean, lingering finish.
Wine Enthusiast - "This is a pure Chardonnay, from cool-climate sites, showing a lean, sculpted spine that both defines and expands the flavors. Exceptionally complex for Washington Chardonnay, with good natural acidity, a mix of peach, apple and pineapple fruit, and a finish that shows tight layering. There is a dense core that should unravel with bottle age; this is that rare Washington Chardonnay that will prosper with cellaring."
Wine Spectator - "Lithe and spicy, with a peppermint edge to the pear, pineapple and caramel flavors. Finishes with polish. Drink now through 2014."
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 Columbia ValleyView a map of Columbia Valley wineries
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Notable FactsMerlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.
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.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review2.52.3 out of 5 stars
3 ratings, 2 with reviewsChris Poole - New Providence, PA21/11/201247/12/2011A great buy.William Kreth - Brooklyn, NY12/10/2011I have bought a couple of cases of wine from Wine.com. most have met or exceeded my expectations. This one I did not even bother to note & rate on the excel spreadsheet that I maintain so that I can reorder my favorites. One star is over rated but I had to enter something in the required fiield.