Two Wonderful Wineries of Walla Walla

You’d think the last thing we would want to do after three days at the Wine Blogger Conference would be to drink more wine. But hey, we were still in Walla Walla and we had invitations to visit two more wineries. And what a day it was!

We started out at L’Ecole 41 – regular readers of this blog know how much we love their wine. Back in February, I wrote a long post about L’Ecole wines – their 2006 blends, Apogee and Perigee, 2006 Walla Walla Cab Sauv, 2007 Estate Syrah and 2007 Estate Merlot. Fast forward four months, and there we were in the L’Ecole schoolhouse, in for an amazing treat – a vertical tasting of library wines, hosted by our friend, Jamie Chalk.

What an experience tasting side-by-side verticals of these Bordeaux-style blends – the ’99, ’03 and ’07 Apogee from Pepper Bridge Vineyard and the ’03 and ’07 Estate Perigee from Seven Hills Vineyard. Apogee was rich, bold and earthy, while Perigee was elegant and complex. Comparing them over time sent me to Bordeaux heaven!

LEcole Library Tasting Joining me there were several friends, including Melanie, who posted this photo of all of us on her blog, Dallas Wine Chick.

From L’Ecole, Melanie, Dave and I drove to Va Piano Vineyards, which we had never visited before. We will definitely go back. In fact, all three of us had so many superlatives for Va Piano wines that we all joined their wine club.

And winemaker Justin Wylie has become an honorary member of Write for Wine’s “favorite winemakers club!” How can you not like a winemaker who says, “My winemaking philosophy is very simple, grow the best grapes we can and don’t screw it up in the cellar.”

Our favorite Va Piano wine was the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon – Justin added a touch of Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot to this luscious cab, which makes it uniquely rich and complex. We also tasted the ’07 Syrah and ’08 Syrah, which sealed the deal.

Justin also offers a line of wines inspired by his friend Father “Bruno” Segatta, whom Justin met at Gonzaga University. Bruno, an artist and priest, inspired Justin to give back to the community. As a result, Va Piano offers Bruno’s Blend, a multi-vintage red blend with Bruno’s paintings on each label. When the wine is sold out, Va Piano donates a portion of the proceeds to a charity of Bruno’s choice.

We’re looking forward to catching up with Justin at the Auction of Washington Wines picnic next week, and tasting more of his wonderful wines.


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About Margot

Margot started writing about wine decades ago as a national journalist in Canada and the U.S. She and Dave created this website in 2007. Originally, the website introduced people to wines in Washington state, the second-largest wine region in the U.S. But over the years, the site expanded to feature other wine regions in the U.S., Canada, and in the world. If you like to read about standout wine and winery stories, then Write for Wine is for you.