Regular readers know we have been fans of L’Ecole 41 since we moved to Washington state in 1999. As a result, we’ve frequently visited their historic schoolhouse in Walla Walla, met their impressive winemakers Marty Clubb and Marcus Rafanelli, and tasted through their wines. So we were delighted to taste through six of L’Ecole 2022 releases. Once again, L’Ecole scored. Read on for details.
L’Ecole 2022 Releases
L’Ecole is one of the most honored wineries in Washington state and has generated national and international accolades over the years for producing superior quality wines.
Founded in 1983, L’Ecole continues to produce stellar wines with every vintage. Consequently, L’Ecole 41 makes our Top 50 Wineries List every year. This will continue again as L’Ecole 2022 wines are outstanding.
We tasted six wines in the L’Ecole 2022 lineup: 2021 Chardonnay Evergreen Vineyard, 2021 Grenache Rosé, 2020 GSM, 2019 Perigee, 2019 Apogee and 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon.
L’Ecole 2022 Release: Chardonnay Evergreen Vineyard 2021 ($36)
We don’t drink a lot of Chardonnay but L’Ecole’s from Evergreen Vineyard leaves us wanting more. L’Ecole Chardonnay 2021 combines gorgeous aromas of white peaches, pears, almonds and apples, with flavors of more apples and spices, intense minerality, and bright acidity. This single-vineyard, old-vines Chardonnay features elegance and substance. In other words, it can be enjoyed right away or put away in the cellar – this Chardonnay is built for aging. I wish we had this during our crab fests last month. But it will also pair with scallops, shrimp, or chicken. And L’Ecole’s Chardonnay is strong enough to drink on its own. It’s the style of Chardonnay that we prefer.
Grenache Rosé, Alder Ridge Vineyard ($22)
We do drink a lot of rosé, and our favorite last year was L’Ecole 2020 Alder Ridge Vineyard Grenache Rosé. So we were delighted to get our hands on the 2021 vintage of this classic Provence-style rosé. Once again, it’s simply delicious. Not surprising because 1) Marcus Rafanelli is the winemaker and 2) L’Ecole grows Grenache specifically to produce rosé. This vintage is darker in color than the previous year. But the appealing aromatics and flavors remain the same. Scents of strawberries, raspberries, watermelon and oranges lead into beautiful citrus and melon flavors. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, this 100% Grenache Rosé is clean, fresh and crisp with bright acidity. It makes us want to drink pink, regardless of the season.
GSM 2020, Estate Seven Hills Vineyard ($41)
Somehow, this is the first time we’ve tasted L’Ecole GSM Rhône blend from Seven Hills, the winery’s Certified Sustainable estate vineyard. Now that we have experienced it, this will not be the last time. 2020 GSM bursts with pretty aromatics and textured flavors. Red fruit and floral notes from 34% Grenache, dark fruit and savory, peppery flavors from 33% Syrah, with more spicy, peppery notes from 33% Mourvèdre. This approachable, versatile wine pairs with multiple dishes, especially hearty fare such as ribeye steaks, other BBQ meats, grilled sausages, spaghetti and stews.
Perigee 2019, Estate Seven Hills Vineyard ($57)
L’Ecole sources grapes from Seven Hills Vineyard for its flagship Bordeaux blend. Perigee epitomizes Seven Hill’s distinctive cedar and dark fruit aromas and flavors, framed by a structured elegance. Our first taste of Perigee was the initial 2002 vintage. Next, we tasted the 2006 vintage, and we’ve been pouring it ever since. This month, we opened the new release of the 2019 Perigee: 52% Cab Sauv, 19% Merlot, 17% Cab Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec. We tasted dark chocolate, graphite and olives from the Cab Sauv; cigar-box cedar, blackberries, and chocolate-covered cherries from the Merlot; strawberries, raspberries, savory notes and crushed gravel from the Cab Franc; boysenberries, mocha and violets from the Malbec; and spices, cassis, dark fruit and more savory notes from the Petit Verdot. Drink it now, or wait a few years to experience its full potential.
Apogee 2019, Pepper Bridge Vineyard ($57)
L’Ecole Apogee 2019 is another impressive blend – 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc from Pepper Bridge Vineyard. L’Ecole has produced it since 1993, so we’ve been drinking it for years. It is consistently delicious, vintage after vintage. We found spicy, bold aromas of currants, plums, dark berries, graphite and earth, and dark fruit flavors, mocha, nutmeg and cinnamon, backed by lovely mineral notes. When this big red opens up, it is superb. But it’s tightly wound right now, as one would expect from such a young wine. So, put it away for at least two years. You could also cellar it for longer because this is another L’Ecole wine that is built for aging.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, Walla Walla ($50)
We have been fans of this standout 100% Cabernet Sauvignon since the 2001 vintage. Grapes are sourced from prestigious vineyard sites, representing four unique soil types in the Walla Walla Valley. As a result, its old-world structure and dense dark fruit flavors showcase the best of Walla Walla. This Cab Sauv is structured, rich, sophisticated, concentrated and complex, with notes of blackberries, blueberries, plums, dark chocolate, espresso and spices.
In addition, we love L’Ecole 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Summit Vineyard (pictured). This is also a 100% Cabernet, sourced from two blocks of the prestigious Summit View Vineyard in Walla Walla. This is one rich Cab Sauv, packed with power and elegance at the same time.
Pair both with fall barbecues or cool evenings around the fire pit. Be sure to decant for at least an hour before pouring or cellar – these beauties have a long future ahead.
Summary: L’Ecole 2022
In conclusion, you can’t go wrong with any of these L’Ecole 2022 releases. In addition, L’Ecole offers dozens of other varieties in their portfolio. For instance, the winery also produces Merlot, Syrah, Sémillon, Chenin Blanc and more. The full list of their wines is available at their website.
Margot and Dave