L'Ecole 41 Ferguson Estate Red 2015
Ferguson’s flavor profile is distinctly influenced by its basalt soil. This wine offers complex aromas of espresso, tobacco, and dark mineral-laced fruit. Wild blackberries and dusty tannins integrate with flavors of flint and graphite on the palate. Concentrated natural acidity leads to a robust and lingering finish.
Blend: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2015 Estate Ferguson Vineyard checks in as a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cab Franc, and 7% Malbec that spent 22 months in 50% new oak. It's the smallest production release of the top cuvées and comes from a single vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. Currants, smoke, graphite, toasty oak and a kiss of tobacco leaf all define this ripe, opulent, gorgeously pure and layered red. With a big mid-palate, sweet tannin, and a great finish, it's a beautiful wine from this estate that can be drunk today or cellaring for 10-15 years.
The tar and blackberry aromas are impressive with hints of roasted almonds. Full-bodied, layered and delicious. Licorice and hot-stone undertones. Blend of 56% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 7% cabernet franc and 7% malbec. Drink or hold.
This winery's young estate vineyard is proving itself to be a special spot. This is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec. The brooding aromas of dark cherry, cassis, fresh and dried herb, incense, luxurious oak spices (50% new French), mineral, pencil lead, flower and scorched earth lead to a flavorful but exceptionally well-balanced palate that shows sophistication. The tannins are highly structured but also bring a sense of polish. It has the stuffing to go the distance but needs significant time to settle in. Best from 2028–2034.
This represents the fifth vintage of Ferguson, a cabernet-based blend from L’Ecole’s dramatic basalt-laden, wind-whipped vineyard above Seven Hills. The 2015 feels somewhat cooler than past vintages, still savory in its cedar and cigar-wrapper scents, and spice notes of cardamom and capsicum; but there’s a leafy quality to the plum flavors that lends itself to the texture as well, creating a more elegant feel to the tannins. Ready to drink now, it will age beautifully, and you’d be advised to cellar at least a few bottles to taste in five years, ten years, twenty.
Founded in 1983 in the Walla Walla Valley, L’Ecole No 41 is one of Washington State’s most iconic and oldest family-owned wineries. Housed in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on our label, we have earned international acclaim for producing distinctive wines of the highest quality. We craft ultra-premium wines that re?ect the unmistakable typicity of Washington State and the unique terroir of our Walla Walla Valley vineyards.
Growing and making 100% of our wines, each bottle is handcrafted with a commitment to quality in the vineyards and the winery. More than three decades of winemaking experience, ongoing investments in our Walla Walla Estate Ferguson and Seven Hills Vineyards, and long term relationships with many of the most prominent vineyards in Washington State are central to our well-known reputation for quality and consistency across our wine portfolio. These tenets will continue to sustain L’Ecole well into the future.
L’Ecole is one of the most honored wineries in Washington State. We are proud to be recognized by Wine & Spirits Magazine as a Top 100 Winery of the Year for fourteen consecutive years. In 2014, Decanter awarded our 2011 Estate Ferguson the International Trophy for Best Bordeaux Blend in the World! In 2016, the 2013 Ferguson won the International Trophy for Best New World Bordeaux Blend from the Six Nations Wine Challenge.
Responsible for some of Washington’s most highly acclaimed wines, the Walla Walla Valley has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years and is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers.
The Walla Walla Valley, a Native American name meaning “many waters,” is located in southeastern Washington; part of the appellation actually extends into Oregon. Soils here are well-drained, sandy loess over Missoula Flood deposits and fractured basalt.
It is a region perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of red berry, black olive, smoke and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot create a range of styles from smooth and supple to robust and well-structured. White varieties are rare but some producers blend Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon, resulting in a rich and round style, and plantings of Viognier, while minimal, are often quite successful.
Of note within Walla Walla, is one new and very peculiar appellation, called the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. This is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries are totally defined by the soil type. Soils here look a bit like those in the acclaimed Rhône region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but are large, ancient, basalt cobblestones. These stones work in the same way as they do in Chateauneuf, absorbing and then radiating the sun's heat up to enhance the ripening of grape clusters. The Rocks District is within the part of Walla Walla that spills over into Oregon and naturally excels in the production of Rhône varieties like Syrah, as well as the Bordeaux varieties.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.