L'Ecole 41 Merlot 2006
Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
A blend of 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Rich with aromatic aromas of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon, this spicy Merlot shows red cherry fruit, black plum, blackberry and dark fruit flavors encased in a peppery, chocolate, black cherry finish.
Wine Spectator - "Bright plum scents lead with a topnote of white pepper and a hint of tobacco leaf. Its black cherry flavors are marked by a plum-skin bitterness, with a peppery acidity marking the finish."
Wine Enthusiast - "L'Ecole's vineyard sources are remarkable, and this Columbia valley Merlot brings in fruit from top sites in Walla Walla, Red Mountain, and the Wahluke Slope. Plump red fruits are dappled with hints of peppery herb, acids are natural and lend vibrancy, but the finish carries just a little too much heat. The blend includes 11% Cab Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. "
The Wine Advocate - "The dark ruby-colored 2006 Merlot (80%) contains 11% Cabernet Franc with the balance Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a forward, smooth-textured, savory effort that will drink well over the next 6-8 years.
L’Ecole No. 41 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 produces about 35,000 cases with distribution in all 50 states and abroad. Despite the expansion, quality has remained consistently excellent."
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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 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.
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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.