2010 L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Syrah

SKU #1146207 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Dark, bright red-ruby. Black raspberry and exotic nutty oak on the nose. Plush, dense and generous, with creamy-sweet black raspberry fruit showing no rough edges. But there's good medicinal reserve here for all of the wine's lushness of texture. Finishes with sweet, easy tannins and lingering berry flavors.  (12/ 2013)

91 points Wine Spectator

 *A Smart Buys designation and #57 on Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2013* Grippy tannins give way to fleshy plum and currant fruit, shaded with hints of fennel and peach fuzz, lingering well. Best after 2014. 2,430 cases made.  (11/ 2013)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 With the addition of 20% Grenache, this pushes the rich fruit flavors front and center. Ripe blueberries are in the foreground, cutting through some astringent tannins. There is little evidence of the herbal character that many Washington Syrahs evoke, but it’s a bold, fruit-driven wine that is immediately enjoyable.  (9/ 2013)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 ...the 2010 Syrah Columbia Valley, which incorporates 20% Grenache, is a soft, plump and friendly Syrah that has excellent purity, solid aromatics (blackberry, raspberry, underbrush) and a short finish. It's well made and should be consumed over the coming 3-4 years. Drink now-2016. One of the oldest producers in the Walla Walla Valley, with over three decades of history, L-Ecole 41 has been run by Megan and Marty Clubb since 1989. A relatively large producer, they have distribution throughout the US and produce a solid lineup of both value priced wines and top tier efforts.  (6/ 2013)

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Price: $24.99

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

Washington

- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.
Alcohol Content (%): 15