Me: Wine for 200 Alex.
Alex: The Washington vineyard that BC vineyards all aspire to be.
Me: What is L’Ecole No 41.
This wine is badly good. Not typically Merlot, certainly not passive, it has a tannic sting that softens to a rich, lingering finish. Oh so delicious. I served it with beef short ribs in a chipotle green salsa, although I would normally have served a cab sauv, or one of those pumped-up Ozzie shirazes, but this worked miracles. It sipped well too, but for some reason was phenomenally food friendly and just seemed to blossom with red meat.
L’Ecole has produced perhaps the fullest, sturdiest, most uncompromising Merlot I’ve had in years. It has the stamina of something much more potent and is not the “wine for dummies” Merlot you might pass off on a vino novice. Elegant, impressive and just plain good. I beg Miles (in Sideways) to reconsider his misgivings about Merlot.
Downside? Expensive. Actually, for me, for us, too expensive. It was a treat, a rare treat, but a rare find as well. Relatively speaking, this is up where the finer BC reds, the Cedar Creek reserves are, and if you paired it against, say, the $70 Vieux Pin Merlot it’s downright cheap (and much, much better). L’Ecole doesn’t have any pretense, unlike many BC houses… It’s also satisfying when you actually spend more to get something well worth it.
Price: $50-plus, if you can find it.
Market Liquidity: In the words of Kenny Bania, Gold.