L'Ecole No.41 2014 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
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91 points - Stephen Tanzer, Vinous , October 2017 “(aged entirely in barriques, 25% new and less than 10% American; the vines that produce this blend average about 28 years of age, according to Marty Clubb): Moderately saturated bright medium ruby. Very ripe aromas of black cherry, cassis, dark chocolate, espresso and oak spices are lifted by a violet topnote. Dense, layered, warm-year Cabernet with fruit-dominated flavors of blackberry, cassis, plum and coffee. The tannins arrive late but are quite chewy and serious. This is L'Ecole No. 41's largest-production wine and a big success in 2014.”
WINEMAKER COMMENT For over 30 years, L’Ecole has built long term partnerships with the oldest and most proven vineyards, providing access to some of the best fruit in the Columbia Valley. With average vine age of more than 20 years, this wine shows a classic Cabernet Sauvignon profile of firm structure, integrated tannins and dark expressive fruit.
KEY VINEYARDS Bacchus & Dionysus, Estate Seven Hills, Summit View, Candy Mountain, Alder Ridge, Va Piano, Klipsun, Stone Tree, Estate Ferguson, Yellow Jacket, Loess
VINTAGE ■ The 2014 vintage was a repeat of the warm 2013 vintage with heat units nearly identical, and no unusual winter frost, pest, or disease pressure. ■ Bud break was early, followed by a warm spring and relatively early bloom. Fruit set was near ideal. Slowing tactics were implemented such as delayed thinning and leafing to delay veraison and ultimately harvest. ■ Temperatures cooled mid-August stretching out the hang-time to complete veraison. Berry size and berry count per cluster were slightly up resulting in healthy crop yields. ■ Modest fall day-time temperatures and cool nights resulted in a rich and vibrant structure with bold color development. Overall warmer conditions delivered ample sugars and surprisingly strong acids, particularly in our higher elevation sites.
WINEMAKING ■ Over 30 years of meticulous vineyard management and winemaking experience are fundamental to the quality of our wines and reputation for excellence. We are engaged in growing and making 100% of our wines. ■ Each lot was hand harvested ripe and gently crushed into 1.5 and 5 ton stainless steel fermenters. ■ Gentle handling of the fruit through hand punch downs and gravity assisted movements were utilized throughout the entire winemaking process. ■ The wine was cleanly racked to 100% small oak barrels, 25% new, with five rackings over 22 months.
TASTING NOTES With its classic varietal Cabernet profile, this focused and integrated wine shows layers of dark fruit, coffee, violet and herbal notes. Layers of plum, blackberry and cassis mingle with dusty, fine tannins through a balanced finish.