And now we get to one of our favorites of the "Taste My Vacation" wine tasting, the 2004 L'Ecole No. 41 Ferguson Commemorative Reserve! I never had the chance to get any of this wine when it was released back in 2006, but I happened to try it when I visited the winery back in May and fell in love with it, so I brought back a couple bottles! The wine was crafted in honor of Jean and Baker Ferguson, who founded L'Ecole No. 41 back in 1983, and it was made with grapes from some of the oldest Washington state vineyards that the Fergusons forged relationships with back when they founded L'Ecole: Klipsun Vineyard (Red Mountain), Bacchus & Dionysus Vineyard (Columbia Basin), Weinbau Vineyard (Wahluke Slope) and Stone Tree Vineyard (Wahluke Slope).
The wine itself is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (48%), Merlot (42%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (5%), and it was bottled unfined and unfiltered, so you might want to decant it. The wine has a deep, inky purple color in the center that transitions to rich garnet along the edges. The aroma is a rich blend of leather, plum, roses and licorice. The taste had some nice fruit on the outset, with blackberry and plum, transitioning to a bit of earthy spice midpalate, before the well structured tannins provide for a long, smooth finish with residual notes of anise and dark chocolate. At the end, you're just left muttering to yourself, what a fantastic glass of wine!
As for pairings, I can think of nothing better to pair a glass of Ferguson with than a lovely sunset on a 72-degree evening as this wine just stand on its own. Sure we enjoyed it with some olives and cheese, but this is the kind of wine you can open with some friends and have confident that you'll all enjoy the rest of your evening. The consensus of our tasting was that this was our favorite wine of the seven we tried and I certainly agree. I would rate this one a solid 9, and if you can get some, I'd encourage you to get a few bottles and put them up in your cellar, as this wine was made to improve with age.