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L'Ecole 41 Columbia Valley Merlot 2006

Merlot from Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WS89
  • WE88
  • RP87
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

WS 89
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.

WE 88
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.

RP 87
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

L'Ecole 41

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L'Ecole 41, , Washington
L'Ecole 41
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.

Central Coast

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley. Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types, and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.

Viognier

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Full-figured and reminiscent of a potent floral perfume, Viognier is the mandatory grape of the northern Rhône appellation Condrieu and neighboring monopole (an entire appellation dedicated to just one winery) Château Grillet. It is also a blending variety in several appellations throughout the entire Rhône Valley. Viognier is grown throughout much of the world with some degree of success, but is perhaps at its best outside of France in Oregon, Washington, and cooler parts of Australia, where minerality and acidity can be achieved to give the wine the backbone it can sometimes lack.

In the Glass

This is a heady, aromatic variety making rich, complex, and full-bodied white wines redolent of a floral bouquet and assorted stone fruits and tropical fruits, with a hint of spice not unlike that of Gewürztraminer. It is lower in acidity than most white wines, lending to its heavy impression on the palate. While a whiff of Viognier might suggest sweet flavors, these wines are typically quite dry.

Perfect Pairings

Viognier is an intense, bold variety that can easily stand up to gutsy food like pork loin with apricot stuffing, chicken Kiev, or rich, spicy fare.

Sommelier Secret

While Viognier is a white grape, it also plays an important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône, made otherwise from Syrah. About 5% Viognier is typically co-fermented with the Syrah in order to stabilize the color, and as an added benefit, add a subtle perfume.

WSTECOLEMER_2006 Item# 98659

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