Happy February! It's the first Saturday of the new month and of course that means it's Cellar Saturday, where I raid the cellar for something old and cool to open. Tonight, I've opened a bottle from one of my favorite Walla Walla producers, the 2000 L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Merlot. This particular vintage is a blend of Merlot (75%), Cabernet Sauvignon (19%) and Cabernet Franc (6%). Now I've let this one decant for about an hour, so let's see what she's got!
The wine is a nice garnet color in the glass with a bit of brown along the edges. The nose presents lovely aromas of leather, basalt, blackberry and prune, sort of the classic aroma of a mature Bordeaux. The taste is surprisingly mellow and pleasant, with a rush of cherry cola up front that transitions to some notes of white pepper and mint midpalate. The finish is very smooth and bone dry, though the tannins were quite mellow.
Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 8.5, it's a beautiful example of a mature Walla Walla Merlot, but my sense is that it might be just on the downhill side of its life. Tonight I am enjoying this wine with a classic pairing of black pepper bacon wrapped filet mignon grilled rare, along with a baked potato and grilled asparagus. The earthy flavors of this wine are perfect with the lovely grilled beef. Cheers!