Saturday, October 6, 2012

2001 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

Time flies when you're having fun!  Here we are, already at my third Cellar Saturday, the first Saturday of the month where I open up a bottle of wine that's been waiting patiently in the cellar for me to finally open up and enjoy.  And this month we have a really special treat more than a decade in the making, and a wine from my all time favorite winery, L'Ecole No. 41 in Walla Walla!

What a wonderful wine, I can tell already!  The color is a rich, deep ruby color, and the nose is a wonderful blend of earthiness, oak, offsetting a sweet spiciness, that's a blend of cassis, cherry and blackberry, balancing out the spice of cinnamon and dark chocolate.  The taste is remarkable, with flavors of ripe fruit coming through despite the age, which are quickly overtaken by notes of cocoa powder and cherry cola, leading to a wonderful bit of mint and cedar with a hint of earthiness, and a classic flavor of rich, dark chocolate that is so characteristic of Walla Walla wines.  The finish is very long, dry and smooth, and after a decade, the tannins are still very well structured and vibrant, which is a perfect complement to the overall lush mouthfeel of this wine.

Given this is such a wonderful, classic wine, I better have something besides Taco Bell to enjoy this with, and yes, you know me better than that!  So I've paired this wine with a dinner that is a marriage of summer and fall, with the last bits of summer coming together with the very best of what fall has to offer.  I've started with the summer, a simple salad of sliced heirloom tomatoes with a bit of fresh basil, drizzled with 25-year balsamic vinegar.  And once that gets your tastebuds moving, the main course is a rare grilled angus ribeye, with sweet potato fries and grilled white, yellow and orange carrots, bringing in the classic root vegetables of fall.  And after all that, I'm ready for a nap!

Oh, but before I doze off in the La-Z-Boy, my rating!  I am totally biased, but I would have to rate this one a solid 9, as it's a stellar example of the wine, the terroir and the vintage, I just have no idea of the value since I bought this back in 2004!  In any case, I'll be enjoying this one again someday, as I still have another magnum left in the cellar!

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