A trip to Walla Walla is not complete without stopping at L’Ecole 41 on the way into town. L’Ecole is the third oldest winery in the area, founded in 1983 in an historic schoolhouse. The restored tasting room is in a classroom, with original chalkboards, light fixtures, fir floors and moldings.
L’Ecole has been honored 14 times by Wine & Spirits Magazine as Winery of the Year. The wines we tasted last month underlined the many reasons why this recognition, and many other accolades, are so well-deserved.
L’Ecole 41 Wines
In addition to the pours we enjoyed at the winery, we also tasted L’Ecole 41 wines at the 2018 Wine Bloggers Conference, which was why we were in Walla Walla on this trip. L’Ecole was a premier sponsor at WBC.
2015 L’Ecole 41 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon
We have been fans of this beautiful 100% Cabernet Sauvignon since the 2001 vintage. At WBC, we tasted the 2015 Cab, which is a blend of five prestigious vineyards. This wine is structured, sophisticated and complex, with notes of blackberry, blueberry, plum and spice. Be sure to decant it for at least an hour before pouring. When this big red opens up, it is superb.
2015 L’Ecole 41 Perigee
Recently, The Seattle Times named L’Ecole’s 2015 Perigee to its list of Top 50 Regional Wines for 2018. This stellar wine blends Cabernet Sauvignon (56%), Merlot (16%), Cabernet Franc (14%), Petit Verdot (7%) and Malbec (7%). Writer Andy Perdue described this Cab-based blend as revealing “seductive aromas of blackberry jam, elegant spices and an opulent mouth feel.” (Photo courtesy of L’Ecole 41)
2002 L’Ecole 41 Perigee
The tasting room team opened a bottle of 2002 Perigee when we were there. Talk about lucky! Wow, this beauty drank so well, we purchased two bottles. Think earth, spice and everything nice. We were dazzled.
Later, we discovered L’Ecole 41 2015 Apogee is also showing well. But on this trip, the Perigee won our hearts.
2017 L’Ecole 41 Semillon and 2017 Estate Luminesce
Let’s not forget L’Ecole’s beautiful whites. Luminesce, a white Bordeaux blend, features 54% Semillon with 46% Sauvignon Blanc. This results in flavors of tropical fruit, lemon zest and white peach, hugged by fresh, crisp minerality. Meanwhile, the 100% Semillon showcases aromatics of pears and melons, leading into notes of apples, figs and citrus.
A Must-Stop in Walla Walla
At WBC, we had the pleasure of spending time talking to Marty Clubb, the managing winemaker and co-owner of L’Ecole N° 41 with his wife, Megan and children. At the time, Marty was in the middle of his 30th harvest. But he still took time to chat with us about winemaking and the history of the region. And he has a great sense of humor.
We really enjoyed our time with Marty at WBC, and at the schoolhouse tasting room. We highly recommend stopping at L’Ecole 41’s tasting room as you drive into (or out of) Walla Walla.
Margot and Dave