Sunday, May 9, 2010

L'Ecole No 41 Merlot

L'Ecole No 41 Vineyards and Winery
Columbia Valley
Lowden, Washington, USA

$20.99 -- Spec's, Austin, TX

Color: Dark garnet, a hint of purple
Nose: Black cherry, plum, hint of cinnamon
Body: Medium
Front: Cherry, cassis, black tea
Middle: Pepper, venison, chocolate
Back: Leather, soft tannins
Burns clean?: Mostly
Cap: Cork

It's been awhile since I reviewed a Merlot, but that's not because I haven't been drinking them. They're still a great bargain, if you know which ones aren't over-oaked, at restaurants and in wine stores. This one is a good example. I can't stand the label, though on close inspection it's clever. It's not terrifically expensive. It's quite lovely; balanced, elegant, with suggestive flavors and aromas coming in and out, like orange, cotton candy, even lime.

It went well with the grilled steak and the almond soup I had this evening. It benefits tremendously from a little airing out; I decanted it for half an hour before I started in on it.

A note to my regular readers: I promise both of you, in public, right now (because otherwise I will forget these ideas), that I'm going to do three special entries this summer, in no particular order. They will be
  • An entry on my favorite wines among the ones I've reviewed since the blog began. This will, by thunder, become an annual thing--and in the future I'll do my favorite wines of the intervening year.
  • An entry on the wine bars of Austin, Texas. I'm slowly working my way through them and already have important wisdom to share. But I need to take some pictures and some notes.
  • An entry on Napa Valley, 2010: I'm headed back not long from now.
Now: hold me to it! berate me if I don't pony up!