2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Estate Ferguson Vineyard

Eff me nekkid this is good. Right out of the bottle it’s blue fruit and subtle oak. It’s cellar temp so cool, but also nervy. No aged characteristics yet, good length on finish and not tannic at all. Makes me think of winter, that Robert Frost poem.

Washington wine folks should clamor to this wine. Pure kick ass.

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L’Ecole No. 41 has been making great wine since forever.

Right? Nowhere near enough press either. We had this with a huge hunk of choice rib roast we will eating for days. I can see opening another bottle of this real soon.

Even their “regular” CV Merlot is awesome…ages even better.

Good choice. the first vintage of this wine–the 2011–won the best Bordeaux blend in the world award from Decanter for that year. (at the time, the word around the winery was that owner Marty Clubb was told that he needed to go to London for a wine event. He was busy and tried to get someone else to go. Finally they prevailed upon him that this was something important. Turns out that they won the whole thing)

The vineyard (named after the founder) is part of a new patch of beautiful higher altitude vineyards in Oregon above the Seven Hills vineyard. (Yes the grapes are from Oregon, just across the border, but still part of the Washington Walla Walla appellation).

Glenn, Have you had any of their merlot with age? It’s awesome and worth your time to phone them to pilfer their library…

With some age on them, L’Ecole No. 41 is absolutely stunning…when you taste them young, their bones tell you they are built to age (on the reds)

Joseph - I pilfered a case of their 92 Merlot maybe a decade ago at auction. One of my best wine buys ever.

Always enjoyed their Pepper Bridge Vineyard wine!

Hey Glenn,

I’m really stoked to read this note, and from someone I track pretty well palate wise. While I haven’t had the 14, my first Ferguson was the 15 from Easter 2019. I kept rechecking the label to make sure it was a 15 and not an 11; the freshness, elegance, and layered fruit was hard to believe that it was made in such a crazy hot vintage that was 2015. This note and thread validates my experience as you see very little l’Ecole 41 action on WB. I bought some 16’s and may open one soon and will definitely post when I do.

Dale - I just bought 17s. Wine kicks wholesale azz. Oregon fruit too.

It helps a lot that the vineyard is at higher altitude (about 1400 feet), so it can cool off in the evening and overnight even in the hot years.

The nice part of Apogee, Perigee and Ferguson all come from Walla Walla vineyards that don’t get hot like Red Mountain or Horse Heaven Hills, so they all produce cooler climate wines both due to lower heat during day and cooler nights as John references and all exist over 800 feet of elevation. The challenge here is hang time to get phenolic maturity, not pick time to avoid overripeness.

Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge, and Ferguson all act like cool climate Cab vineyards.

Apogee is the warmest of the three as it’s basically on the valley floor (which is still about 900 ft), and will taste like the warmest vineyard wine, but Kris is right, the real trick in the hotter years (in any year actually) is to allow the grapes to hang long enough to get phenolic maturity (in other words to not let them get too ripe too fast).

You can see the Ferguson vineyard in this short video…

Leo, Very cool, thank you for sharing that!

Darnit, Glenn, would you keep quiet?!? I kid, I kid, obviously. Huge fan here…had the 2016 recently and it was almost a complete waste…way, way too young and hard.

Good to know Brandon, I was going to open one but sounds like I should seek a back vintage or even the 17. I assume though that you feel it has the potential to blossom given enough time? FWIW Tanzer loved it (95) , and I think was one of the first of the major critics to start heaping praise on this vineyard.

We used to drink a fair amount of L’Ecole back in the day but fell out of buying it for some reason. A few weeks ago when I was reorganizing the cellar I found a 2007 Columbia Valley Cabernet. It did not seem to have evolved much from what I remembered, but it was good and got me to thinking about buying again.

Oh, for sure it had the stuffing. It might have been great on release (or earlier) when Tanzer tasted and rated, but it’s since shut down. It was only about a month ago that I drank that '16.