How could I resist participating in WBW #34? I love Cabernet Sauvignon and I have virtually no tasting experience with Washington State...I'm in! Slim pickings here in Montreal, unfortunately - apparently the ATF is patrolling the border preventing those shifty Canucks from buying up WA Cabernets - not even a Columbia Crest to be found. Perhaps it was a the French name on tonight's wine, L'Ecole No. 41, that allowed this WA treasure to get past the dragnet and into my gullet.
L'Ecole No. 41 is a winery in WWWWW's favourite WA region, the Walla Walla Valley and famous for a number of top cuvees, including its Perigee and Apogee blends. In the glass the 2003 L'Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon displayed a cherry red colour that was rather paler than the Napa Cabs I have tasted over the years. A beautiful nose, starting with cocoa, violets, roses, and ripe strawberries, giving up additional aromas of pepper, cloves and vanilla, with a nice smokey finish. On the palate this unfiltered wine was very structured and elegant at first, with crisp acidity, but became slightly flabby over the evening and showing the alcohol. Medium-bodied with smooth tannins and a lengthy finish, this is ready now or may keep for a few more years. Very enjoyable, and a nice match for a grilled pork tenderloin.
Hats off to the Walla Walla Wine Woman, and to Lenn for starting WBW. I took advantage of this rare local offering of WA greats to buy some Perigee, Apogee, Semillon and the Ferguson - stay tuned!