Each month, Fabulous Washington is giving Washington wine the chance to shine! Today, we take a deep dive into L’Ecole No 41 in Walla Walla.
Interesting name, right? L’Ecole is French for “school,” an exceptionally fitting name for the winery given it is housed in what used to be Frenchtown School, a schoolhouse that first opened its doors in 1870. In fact, the tasting room of the Wine & Spirits Magazine “Top 100 Winery of the Year” 15 times over is located in one of the original classrooms, which has gorgeous modern touches as well as the original chalkboards, several fixtures and moldings.
A family-owned and -operated winery, L’Ecole first opened in 1983. The winemaking team only partners with vineyards that are committed to sustainable practices and actively putting them into use daily. For example, its Walla Walla Estate vineyards – Ferguson and Seven Hills – as well as Pepper Bridge vineyard are Certified Sustainable and Certified Salmon-Safe. If you visit the website or physically visit in person, the team can detail soil biology and vine health, choosing minimal input and targeted-impact farming practices. More or less, anything they touch or take or harvest must be done in such a way to ensure the long-term health of the actual vines.
All of L’Ecole’s wine, especially the white wine, is exceptionally aromatic, almost to the point of being hypnotic. When at the winery, look around at the other tasters – everyone has their noses in the glasses far more than in a usual “swirl, sniff, sip” kind of way, often with dreamy looks and knowing glances at their friends that they hit the aromatic jackpot.
Of its white wines, both the Chenin Blanc and Semillon really stand out to me, likely because I love anything that tastes of honeysuckle. All of its reds are pretty scrumptious, but if I had to choose, I tend toward its Vineyard Connection offerings, each of which is a single vineyard Bordeaux blend.
If in the area, there are two ways to taste around the portfolio (in addition to dining at several area restaurants that carry their wines): at the schoolhouse, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or at its newly opened wine bar inside of the Marcus Whitman Hotel. Unable visit in person? Find their wines here anytime.
To learn more on L’Ecole No 41, visit www.lecole.com.