Just because September is approaching and Fall’s around the corner doesn’t mean you need to retire the white wine quite yet! Now is the perfect time to really savor those quintessential summer whites before the leaves start changing and the red wine starts calling. This Chenin Blanc I recently tasted is a great one to try before summer’s end – the 2012 L’Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc ($14). It’s not uber crisp like a Sauv Blanc, but this slightly off-dry wine has enough tart acidity for it to be refreshing on a hot summer day… plus it’s tasty and food friendly. I thought it had lovely aromas of apricots, tangerines and roses with flavors of white peaches, tropical fruits, and a minerally finish.
The grapes for this Vouvray-style wine (Vouvray is a region in France that produces Chenin Blanc) come from 30+ year old vines. Yes, those are considered pretty old vines, but the wine industry in Walla Walla is still relatively new. L’Ecole Winery is the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla region, established in 1983. Happy Dirty Thirty, L’Ecole! “L’Ecole,” if you’re wondering, means “school” in French, which makes sense if you look at the photo of the schoolhouse on the label or visit the winery – the winery/tasting room is located in a historic schoolhouse built in 1915 and the tasting room itself is actually in one of the old classrooms (complete with the original chalkboards and light fixtures). See… wine and history do go hand in hand!
If you find yourself in Walla Walla, though, it’s definitely worth a stop because they make some consistently great wines (you can read about my latest trip to Walla Walla here). If you’re nowhere near Walla Walla, WA (or have never heard of it), then just go find a bottle of this wine before summer’s over. Cheers!
Producer: L’Ecole No. 41
Region: Columbia Valley, WA
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Price Point: $14
**Tasting Room Notes**
Open 10-5pm daily
Tasting Fee: $5, but is waived with purchase
Location: 41 Lowden School Road – Lowden (just outside of Walla Walla), WA
Tips: The winery is located just before Waterbrook Winery, about 12 minutes from downtown Walla Walla, and just down the road from Reininger and Three Rivers (read more here). Dogs are allowed, too (outside in the picnic area). Also, if you’ve never had a WA Sémillon, it’s a good place to try it.