Does L’Ecole No 41 Ring a Bell?

Yes, L’Ecole No 41 does ring a bell in fact! A school bell too!

Last summer, in July 2009, I attended my second Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa California. During our last session, organizers announced that the third conference would be held in Walla Walla Washington the following June.

To introduce us to Washington wines and inspire us to commit to attending, we had on our tables the very memorable and beautifully bottled Chateau Ste Michelle Eroica riesling, delicious and refreshing and summertime perfect, not too sweet and with plenty of acid to make it food friendly. I took an extra bottle home where it was a HUGE hit at our house with friends and my husband was truly wowed.

We also had on our tables a bottle of L’Ecole No 41 merlot (available for $25 from the winery) which was equally memorable with its playful school house label and soft, gentle flavors of cherry and berry, nicely balanced and structured with tannins and oak. It was my first Washington merlot and I remember being surprised at how much I liked it. I brought an open bottle home from the conference and shared it with friends. So many seem to turn their noses up at merlot these days but I insisted they try it and we were all pleasantly rewarded. Yes, a few snooty California eyebrows were raised!

If we Californians knew more about Washington merlot, we wouldn’t be so surprised at how good it is. Continue reading