Trailblazing Washington state winery L’Ecole Nº 41 was founded in historic Frenchtown by Jean and Baker Ferguson in 1983. Located just west of Walla Walla, the town got its name from French-Canadian settlers who came to the area in the early 1800’s. The Fergusons decided to name their winery L’Ecole Nº 41 to honour these early pioneers. The winery is actually located in the town’s old school building that was built in 1915. Today it is run by their daughter and son-in-law, Megan and Martin Clubb. Altogether they farm 34 hectares of vineyards planted in the Walla Walla Valley wine region. Sourcing additional grapes from contract growers, L’Ecole Nº 41 is best known for their wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sémillon. The third oldest winery in Walla Walla, L’Ecole Nº 41 has been recognized as a Top 100 Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine 15 times!
Washington State has a well deserved reputation for high quality Merlot. One of the most planted grape varieties in the United States, Merlot from the Columbia Valley marries aspects of new world and old world winemaking. This wine is made from 78% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec from the Estate Seven Hills, Candy Mountain, Pepper Bridge, Bacchus & Dionysus, Weinbau, Klipsun, and Estate Ferguson vineyards. Hand harvested, the grapes were fermented in large stainless steel tanks and aged in 30% new oak barrels over 18 months. Deep ruby in colour, this wine shows notes of red plums, bing cherries, coffee, and vanilla.
“The 2016 Merlot checks in as a blend of 78% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, and 3% each of Malbec and Petit Verdot. It’s a charmer from this team that has loads of fruit and richness as well as balance, and offers lovely dark fruits and leafy herb aromas and flavors. With no hard edges and a great finish, it’s a smoking value to drink over the coming 7-8 years.” – Jeb Dunnuck