L'Ecole No. 41 2021 Old Vines Chenin Blanc
Wine of the Week
April 14, 2022
L’Ecole No. 41 2021 Old Vines Chenin Blanc
Celebrate Walla Walla Wine Month with a bottle of this splendid old vine Chenin Blanc. I know of no one making new plantings of the grape other than a couple of tiny patches in the Willamette Valley. In the early days of the Washington wine industry, Chenin was widely grown because it could ripen as much as 12 tons to the acre, and then be made into an off-dry, springtime wine – cheap to make and easy to sell. But this is a grape than can achieve greatness when planted in the right place, cultivated at lower crop levels, and vinified dry. It’s my belief that the nuanced floral aromas and delicate accents of fruit and flowers are best found in vines at least 30 years old. The three vineyards used here date back to 1979 and are among the last surviving Chenin plantings in Washington. This is young and fresh and sharply defined, with citrus flesh and oil and herbal accents. The odds are it will evolve beautifully, as Chenins do in the Loire, over the next decade or longer. At any price it’s a rare treasure; at this price it’s a steal.
4150 cases; 13%; $18