I have another confession to make; I only very recently made it out to taste at L’Ecole No 41, even though I pass by it pretty frequently and have even been in it once (before I was 21, I drove my mom and aunt around wine tasting. Hey, free lunch!).
L’Ecole No 41 is one of the very first wineries in Walla Walla, dating way back to the 1980’s (which goes to show how young the current Washington wine industry is), and has the tasting room with one of the best histories. It’s located in an old schoolhouse (hence the name L’Ecole meaning “school” in French), and I’ll get tasters from time to time who were students there when it was still a school and Walla Walla was still a wheat and onion town.
L’Ecole is known for having solid wines and great tasting room experiences; the people in the tasting room are welcoming and knowledgeable, which is a huge plus in my book. Once or twice I’ve gotten tasters in my winery who have sung the praises of the Emily at L’Ecole, so I’d heard of her long before I actually met her! In a way, working in the wine industry in Walla Walla is like living in a really small town (smaller even than Walla Walla). Ben, the tasting room manager, knows everything there is to know about L’Ecole’s wines, and is an all-around great guy.
Of the wines, I was particularly happy with the Luminesce, a Semillon-Sauv Blanc blend (67% Semillon, 33% Sauvignon Blanc) and the Grenache rosé, as well as their 2009 Estate Merlot and 2009 Syrah, which was almost sold out. L’Ecole’s trademark wines are the Perigee and Apogee, which are their two Bordeaux blends: one from the Seven Hills Vineyard and one from the Pepper Bridge Vineyard. These are both wines with some awesome aging potential, and I like how the two Bordeaux blends showcase the terroir of two of the biggest name vineyards in Walla Walla. The 2010 Cab Franc was also very tasty, with fruity blackberry rounded out by chalky and cocoa notes; it’s a little young, but you could pop that in the cellar along with the Apogee and Perigee!
For more information on the winemaking team, click here.
The tasting room is memorable, the wines are consistently good, and the history as one of Walla Walla’s oldest wineries is impressive; I’d put L’Ecole on anyone’s list of wineries to try on their visit!