L’Ecole No. 41 ‘40th Anniversary’ – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc; Walla Walla Valley, Washington; 2020 

 October 7, 2023

By  rackhouse

With their first vintage in 1983, the founders Jean and Baker Ferguson had a vision for their winery, the third established in the Walla Walla Valley. They celebrate their 40th Anniversary with a special blend from two of the earliest and most important Walla Walla Valley vineyards.

L’Ecole is one of the most honored wineries in Washington State and has garnered national and international accolades over the years for producing superior-quality wines.  They are proud to be recognized by Wine & Spirits Magazine as a Top 100 Winery of the Year, fifteen times.  In 2014, Decanter awarded their 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.

An easy, mild growing season combined with low yields and a prolonged harvest resulted in wines with wonderful balance, color, and vibrant fruit.  There was a normal but quick mid-April bud break was followed by warm spring weather. Older CA/OR wildfire smoke briefly settled into the Columbia Basin the 2nd week of September. Fortunately, the impact on the grapes was negligible since most of the fruit was at a later stage of maturity, combined with the nature of it being older smoke. The diffused sunlight and cooler temperatures slowed ripening, extending harvest well into October.

Each lot was hand-harvested ripe and gently crushed into 1.5-ton stainless steel fermenters. Gentle handling of the fruit through hand punch downs and gravity-assisted movements was utilized throughout the entire winemaking process. The wine was racked to small French oak barrels consisting of 25% new barrels and barrel-aged for 22 months. This expressive Merlot-based blend reveals beautiful aromatics of dark cherry, blackberry, fresh Mission figs, savory cedar, fresh tobacco, and coffee bean, completed with rose and a touch of sage. Its rich texture is laced with delicate graphite notes, along with dark chocolate and plum, grounded with supple polished tannins.

related posts:

Cayuse ‘Edith’ – Rosé of Grenache; Walla Walla, Washington; 2021

Alvaro Palacios Priorat Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes 2019

The Crane Assembly 2019 Disciples

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