A trip to Walla Walla is not complete without stopping at L’Ecole 41‘s historic schoolhouse. But since our travels are limited these days, we are delighted to participate in a wine education collaboration program with the third-oldest winery in Walla Walla. Firstly, we tasted L’Ecole 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2017. You can purchase this special wine online but it’s also widely available in stores. Moreover, L’Ecole offers wine flights so you too can enjoy it and other magnificent wines with virtual guided tastings.
L’Ecole 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2017 (SRP $30)
L’Ecole 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2017 showcases the winery’s commitment to consistently making excellent quality wine every year. This stellar wine shows a classic Cabernet Sauvignon profile in a harmonious marriage of some of the oldest, most proven vineyards across the Columbia Valley. This wine is very drinkable now, with 30 minutes decanting. In addition, both winemaker Marcus Rafanelli and Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast noted that after opening, this wine gets even better as time passes. Or you can cellar it for 5-10 years because it’s built for aging.
In a Zoom call, I asked Marcus to describe the difference between this Columbia Valley Cab and the 2017 Walla Walla Estate Cab, which we have loved since being introduced to the 2001 vintage. Firstly, Marcus said this Cab sources grapes from 30-50 year-old vines in proven vineyards across the Columbia Valley. Meanwhile, the Walla Walla Cab is a blend of five prestigious vineyards, representing four unique soil types in the Walla Walla Valley. Secondly, the Columbia Valley Cab is more fruit-forward and approachable. The Walla Walla Cab is sophisticated and complex, made more in the Old World style. Thirdly, the Walla Walla Cab costs $10 more than the Columbia Valley Cab, which we also really enjoyed.
The Columbia Valley Cab is focused, intense, balanced and structured. It shows many layers of black fruit and notes of spice, licorice, black cherry, espresso, chocolate and herbs. Marcus recommends pairing it with braised beef, grilled meats, mushroom risotto, pasta Alfredo, pot roast or any slow-cooked meat dishes.
You can taste this Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 at many restaurants, or you can purchase it at numerous locations or online. In addition, L’Ecole is now offering tasting flights to enjoy at home. Tasting flights are available as sets of five sample-size bottles or five full bottles. Read more at their website.
As mentioned, we are collaborating with L’Ecole in a 2021 wine education program. This beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon is the first of several new releases throughout the year. L’Ecole offers dozens of varieties in their portfolio. For instance, the winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Bordeaux blends, single-vineyard blends, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, Rosé and more. The full list of their wines is available at their website.
In conclusion, we highly recommend L’Ecole 41 Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. Thank you, L’Ecole, for the sample.
Previous stories about L’Ecole 41:
- L’Ecole 41 2021
- Favorite 50 Wines in 2020
- L’Ecole 41 in Walla Walla
- Favorite Washington Wineries in 2019 (and every year prior)
- Score Success for the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla
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Margot and Dave