Between sips of sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve I had a chance to try a small amount of Walla Walla favorite L’ecole No. 41 Winery’s 2009 Apogee.
This red wine is sourced from Pepper Bridge Vineyard and has been a regular fixture at the winery since 1993. It’s the winemaker’s attempt at capturing the vineyard’s “distinctive and characteristic spicy bold aromas, dark fruit flavors, robust tannins and rich structure,” according to the L’ecole website.
I’ve tried a handful of wines that have been made from Pepper Bridge Vineyard lots and almost always I’ve felt the flavor was powerful — in some cases more powerful than I would regularly want to drink. That is my preference, and of course a lot depends on the winemaker and the winemaking style they choose when making the wine.
I really enjoyed the 2009 Apogee. Where other Pepper Bridge
blends have left my mouth feeling astringent and harsh, this was
round and warm on the finish. The wine is aged in 100 percent small
French oak barrels, 50 percent of them new, with
five rackings over 22 months, according to the website.
The wien carried the weight and depth of the complex vineyard flavors, but left me wanting to refill my glass once it was empty (I didn’t though because I was waiting for the countdown to pop the cork for 2013).
L’ecole describes the wine:
This bold, sophisticated and complex wine has dark, brooding aromas of game and spice with hints of sweet tobacco and leather. Dense dark fruit is wrapped in nuances of smoke, cocoa and mint with firm tannins on a persistent finish.