You’ll find the L’Ecole No.41 Winery in a restored schoolhouse in the historic Walla Walla community of Frenchtown. L’Ecole No.41 is a family run operation started by Jean and Baker Ferguson. It now belongs to their daughter, Megan and her husband Martin Clubb.
The winery may be in Walla Walla, but the fruit for L’Ecole No.41′s Columbia Valley Chardonnay ($19) comes from several vineyards in Washington’s Columbia Valley appellation. This part of the state lies near the 46th parallel giving it a similar amount of sunlight to the French regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Combine the climate and volcanic soils with good drainage and poor nutrients, and you have ideal conditions for growing grapes. The French winemaking traditions brought by French-Canadian pioneers that settled this region are echoed in this Burgundian-style chardonnay.
Barrel fermented with a backbone of nevry acidity and complex mineral notes, this wine reminded me of the fine white burgundies from Meursault. Pronounced aromas of apple and pear are layered with the slightest hints of pineapple. Seven month of sur lie aging in French oak barrels gives this elegant wine a rich creamy texture and a long nutty finish.
We paired this one with a great recipe Sue found in Real Simple Magazine. This chardonnay with the Potato, Leek and Feta Tart is fantastic!