Saturday, June 26, 2021

Summer Is Here With These Refreshing Pleasures from L'Ecole

This year I have had a privileged opportunity to be part of an Ambassador team getting to know L’Ecole No. 41 located in the Walla Walla Valley on Washington state.  This is a 3rd generation family run winery founded in 1983 when there were only 20 wineries in the state (now over 1,000) and this being the 3rd winery at the time in the Walla Walla Valley.  The winery takes great pride in making 100% of their own wines and have been leaders in developing the Walla Walla wine region.  They are located in the Frenchtown District just west of Walla Walla.  The area was initially inhabited by French Canadians in the early 1800’s and is located in the 41st district hence L’Ecole paying homage to the historial dwellings of the area.

L'Ecole No 41 winery Schoolhouse district Walla Walla
Copyright of L'Ecole

These suggestons today were some of my recent favorites at great price points that I have been enjoying.  Both of these wines today are part of L’Ecole’s Heritage Collection marked by the black label that are branded to be consistent representations of the terroir and quality expressions of the grapes themselves. 

L'Ecole Chenin Blanc and Grenache Rose

2020 L’Ecole No 41 Chenin Blanc Old Vines: L’Ecole has been producing this old vine 100% Chenin Blanc since 1987.  The founder, Jean Ferguson, was found of making this Chenin Blanc in a Vouvray style.  The grapes are grown from 3 separate vineyards: Willard Farms, Phil Church and Upland Vineyard, all planted in 1979 in the cool climate upper Yakima Valley AVA.  This Chenin Blanc is L’Ecole’s first white wine released every year.  Winemaker, Marcus Rafanelli, takes great pride in making aromatic whites like this Chenin.  One third of this wine goes through malolactic fermentation to calm its bracing acidity and give the wine some weight. 

2020 L'Ecole Old Vine Chenin Blanc Yakima Valley

A crisp, refreshing white with vibrant acidity bursting with citrus, grapefruit and stone fruit.  Good structure and fulfilling mouthfeel.  This wine was suggested to be ageworthy for 10-15 years if one can wait that long.  ABV 13.5% SRP $17

2020 L’Ecole No 41 Grenache Rose’: This wine is grown in the Alder Ridge Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.  The Alder Ridge Vineyard is situated high on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River with a rather warm climate.  L’Ecole has been producing rose’ since 2009.  This wine is made in a Provence style made from 100% Grenache.  The wine is produced using the maceration method where the red grapes are harvested early for acidity and spend about 3-4 hours on the skins for their pale salmon color.  ABV 13.5% 

2020 L'Ecole Grenache Blanc Horse Heaven Hills
With 1,000 cases produced unfortunately this wine is sold out at only $16.  This is one of the perks of being a club member to get early access to these wines without missing out.  Marcus recommended a mouthwatering suggestion of pairing this wine with prosciutto and melon or a charcuterie plate.  I tried these wines out with vegetarian stuffed peppers stuffed with farro, pinto beans and tomatoes baked with cheese on top.

Vegetarian stuffed peppers

*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.

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