Teach a novice wine: Buy a mixed case of L’Ecole and have the student taste every varietal. The Semillon will taste like Semillon. The Chenin like Chenin. And, yes, the Cab Sauv will taste most determinedly like the huge peppery masculine traditional red of red wine lore. If they can master the varietal differences of a case of LN41 they will know everything requisite to be set free to discover blends, lesser known varietals, oak and non-oaked, sweet, dry and the luscious, exciting and surprising wines that come into your life in the most unexpected of ways.
Is there a fault to this wine? Take everything into context—it’s terroir, finesse and age and, no, it is flawless. But here is why the lesson in varietals is important: CS is one of my least favorite. Just a personal thing. I prefer wine on the less aggressive side (but I’m fine with a heavyweight Bourbon…). There is so much other wine I’d go to first other than CS, even LN41’s spectacular Merlot, that, yes, this CS would be lower down my preference list despite how beautiful a red it is, especially with a little air.
But we drank it with a gorgeous, tender, deeply aromatic marinated flank steak (24 hours in onions, garlic, ginger, olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, sherry, turmeric, oregano, parsley, chilies, then BBQ, then sit, then slice thin) and it was a treat, think Loy and Powell, Astaire and Rogers, truly lovely.
If you need wine superlatives, sigh, let’s see: Starts out with a sharp peppery bite, opens to a deep currant, berry, oak mouthful with a long, smooth and hearty finish. If wine could have shape and was tactile, this would be solid and with the smoothness of a ripe brie. But, really, superlatives be damned. It’s just damned good.
Price: $20-something in WA. Found the 2006 in Vancouver at Legacy for $55.
Market Liquidity: Classic. Not stale ersatz classic, Wimbledon classic.