Washinton’s L’Ecole No. 41 is one of the founding wineries of Washington’s Walla Walla Valley, and its 2019 releases — one white, two reds — are upon us. Let’s give them a spin.
2017 L’Ecole No. 41 Semillon Columbia Valley – Nutty and and honeyed, this is a classic expression of (non-botrytized) semillon, restrained and slightly savory, with a bit of a grassy element to it. Brooding and rather intense, it’s a bold step away from what you usually find in American wine. B+ / $15
2016 L’Ecole No. 41 Merlot Columbia Valley – Soft and fragrant, this is a lovely example of merlot at its best, floral with violets, plus plenty of crushed berries to lightly sweeten things up. Hints of white pepper and spice add nuance, though a gently tannic thread gives the wine some backbone. A- / $25
2016 L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley – A bit basic, with a body that is more gummy than opulent. A simplistic fruit profile informs the attack, more plum and cherry than cassis and blackberry, with a dusting of eucalyptus on the finish. Approachable as a by-the-glass offering, but the depth one desires from the typical cabernet is rather absent here. B / $37