Most people think of L’Ecole 41 as a major, well-known wine producer in Washington state. And they would be right. L’Ecole, the third-oldest winery in Walla Walla, produces about 45,000 cases of wine each year. L’Ecole is also one of the most honored wineries in the state, generating international accolades for its superior quality wines. But wait a minute. L’Ecole artisan wine is also very noteworthy. Yes, this epic winery also creates small-batch artisan wines; for example, the beautiful 2018 Cabernet Franc-Merlot.
L’Ecole Artisan Wine
L’Ecole 41 Cabernet Franc-Merlot 2018 is a limited-production, winery-exclusive offering that has just been released. What does this mean? It is mainly available to wine club members, with a limited amount available at the winery or online. In other words, the best way to access L’Ecole artisan wine is to join one of three L’Ecole wine clubs. Certainly, this gorgeous Cab Franc-Merlot blend, along with three other L’Ecole artisan wines, is one of many reasons to join.
L’Ecole Cabernet Franc-Merlot 2018 (SRP $39.00; Club Price: $31-$35)
As part of an education collaboration program with L’Ecole, we had an exclusive sneak peek into this small-lot, winery-exclusive blend. In a Zoom call, L’Ecole General Manager Constance Savage said only 298 cases were produced. The wine blends 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot, sourced 50% from Estate Ferguson vineyard and 50% Seven Hills vineyard. Talk about symmetry!
Specifically, Constance noted that the wine is 25% Ferguson Vineyard Merlot, 25% Seven Hills Merlot, 25% Ferguson Vineyard Cabernet Franc and 25% Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Franc. Likewise, the white label signifies estate wine. Moreover, these prestigious vineyards are Certified Sustainable and Certified Salmon Safe.
This is only the third time that L’Ecole created these two varieties in a classic Right Bank Bordeaux style.
Tasting Notes and Food Pairings
Cabernet Franc is one of our favorite wines, and when combined equally with Merlot, the taste is magnificent. Aromas of raspberries, black cherries, violets and bell pepper lead into flavors of herbs, cedar, anise, cherries, blueberries and coffee. That is to say, the structure and elegance of Seven Hills fruit marries the minerality and earthiness from Ferguson.
We paired this beautiful blend with grilled burgers. Oh my, it was perfect. But others in our tasting group also recommend pairing it with mushroom risotto, mild chili, tacos or simply chocolate.
We opened the bottle for about four hours before drinking, because it is a young wine. Constance described it as a pop-and-pour wine that holds up well now but can also be cellared for 8-10 years.
L’Ecole Artisan Wine: Summary
In conclusion, only a limited amount of L’Ecole 41 Cabernet Franc-Merlot 2018 is available to the public. So grab it while you can, or better yet, join a wine club for this and other small-production, winery-exclusive beauties. Meanwhile, it’s still Taste Washington Wine Month, a perfect time to purchase this wine and/or join L’Ecole’s wine club. The full list of their wines is available at their website.
Thank you, L’Ecole, for the sample. (Note: When wine is provided to us, we give advance notice that we only write about wine we like.)
Previous stories about L’Ecole 41:
- L’Ecole 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2017
- 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
Margot and Dave