It's the first Saturday of the month, so you know what that means! It's Cellar Saturday, that wonderful day when I reach back into the cellar for a wonderful, usually older bottle of wine to enjoy! So tonight's adventure is an older bottle, but ironically one that's only been in my cellar since last May when I visited the winery on my trip to Walla Walla, the 1999 L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Merlot!
The wine is a lovely deep ruby in the glass, and the nose presents a lovely combination of anise, tart cherry and fresh herbs. The taste has a bit if ripe fruit up front that quickly transitions to some wonderful raspberry notes along with some dusty mushroom and earthy notes midpalate. The finish is very subdued, with some soft tannins supporting a lovely combination of chalky spice and dark chocolate.
Overall, I would rate this one a solid 8.5, a solid Merlot that's just drinking wonderfully right now, and a decent value, since I think I bought this one for maybe $35? Don't hold me to that! Tonight I am pairing this with a wonderful Northwest dinner of wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, baked with a lovely glaze of honey, butter and fresh dill, served with a baked potato and some lovely green beans almondine. This reminds me of many wonderful dinners I enjoyed when living in Portland and Seattle from 1999 through 2004, when this wine was a new release!