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A Great Syrah from L’Ecole No. 41 in Washington State

L’Ecole Nº 41 has been a mainstay for quality wine in Washington State for decades.  One of my early “wow”

Columbia Valley Vineyards

Columbia Valley Vineyards – photo from L’Ecole No. 41 website

memories is from a few bottles of their Cabernet Sauvignon we picked off of a super discount rack in the back of a retail store in Rhode Island.  While the name was not familiar, we figured it was worth a shot.  It was pretty spectacular, and we periodically try their wines now.  Almost invariably they are excellent, and represent great values.

Recently we found ourselves spending a few quiet, off season days on Cape Cod.  A nightcap stop at the bar in the Chatham Bars resort provided a chance to re-acquaint ourselves with L’Ecole Nº 41, as they were serving the 2014 Columbia Valley Syrah by the glass.  It seemed like a logical choice.  Here’s a quick review:

IMG_1441Wine:   2014 L’Ecole Nº 41 Columbia Valley Syrah

Winery Location:   Walla Walla Valley, Washington.  Grapes for this are sourced from multiple locations.

Tasted By:      Neil & Cheri               Date:  Feb 2018

Tasting Notes: After a few mediocre glasses of wine to start our trip, Cheri and I ordered this for a nightcap.  Here is what I typed into the notes on my phone at the time: “Great, deep rich color. Nose is plum and spice and black currant with a touch of red licorice. Beautifully balanced. Full bodied, very long and seamless. Super high quality wine, start to finish.”  The watchword here is quality.  Some wines just have a tight, seamless, pure fruit core that is a cut above.  This wine has that.  The average critic score shown on wine-searcher is only 88 pts.  That is too low, and this is another great example of why you have to be careful with wine scores.  I would give it low 90’s for certain.

Price Point –    about $23-$25 if you can find this vintage, which is getting difficult but still possible.

Would We Buy It?    I just picked up four bottles.  This is excellent for the price.

We associate words like quality, consistency and value with the wines from L’Ecole Nº 41, and always have.  This one is no exception.

We are currently working to line up producers for a series on Washington wine, hopefully starting that in late Spring.  While it will cover many newer areas, and lesser know wineries, the introduction will feature some well known producers from the state.  L’Ecole Nº 41 will be on our very short list of wineries to feature in that introduction.  They make a series of wines, red and white, single vineyard and multi-sourced.  You can see more of what they have to offer at

A votre santé

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