L’Ecole No. 41 wines

Gated_SchoolhouseLate yesterday afternoon, Kathy and I took advantage of our wine club membership with L’Ecole winery and attended a complimentary wine tasting with appetizers at Daniel’s Broiler in Bellevue. We didn’t want to miss this since it is difficult to work in a trip to the winery in Walla Walla more than once a year. We also did not want to miss a chance to taste and maybe purchase some of their wines that quickly sell out. The wines they make are of consistently high quality and exhibit, above all else, wonderful structure. Last year one of their wines (the 2011 Ferguson) was named top bordeaux blend in the world (priced over 15£) at the Decanter World Wine AwardsThat wine had sold out when we first visited the winery on our road trip last October but we did get to taste some other wines made using grapes from the same Ferguson vineyard and they definitely had something going on.

The tasting yesterday might be the only good chance we would get to taste and possibly purchase the next vintage released. The Daniel’s Broiler is on the 21st floor of the Hyatt in Bellevue and, given the glorious, cloudless sunny weather, we had a panoramic view looking east toward the Cascades with Mount Baker off to the northeast. Fueled by morsels of prime steak, bacon-wrapped scallops, grilled veggies, stuffed mushrooms, and oysters on the half shell, we worked our way from a lovely Chenin Blanc and a steely Luminesce white blend (great with oysters) to a Grenache Rosé that was, indeed, indescribable – Kathy and I were both at a loss for words other than “Yes!”. This is also one to quickly sell out – in fact, it is already gone. We snared two of those last night.

After that, it was on to the reds. The Merlot was commendable but not FRF12outstanding, however, the Syrah was one to stop and notice, and the Cabernet Sauvignon was fabulous. The remaining reds, two vintages of their Perigee blend and their new Ferguson, were all excellent – but price was becoming a factor (as well as palate fatigue). In the end, we picked up one bottle of the 2012 Ferguson to hold for a special occasion and filled our order (taking advantage of their free shipping offer), with a couple Cabs, one Syrah, those two Rosés, a Luminesce, and two Chenin Blancs for Spring/Summer sipping.

It was a most lovely way to end a Monday and start a work week – beautiful weather, delicious appetizers, fabulous wines, good view, good company, and home before 7 pm – to dream of a summer drive through the Washington and Oregon vineyards, the Columbia Gorge, and the Palouse.


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