Oeno Files

Sean Sullivan's Wine of the Week: L’Ecole No 41's Chenin Blanc

A winery's lone commitment to chenin blanc pays off.

By Sean P. Sullivan June 19, 2013

Every week the founder of Washington Wine ReportWine Enthusiast contributing editor, and Seattle Met's house wine guru recommends a (typically) budget-friendly Northwest wine.  

What: L’Ecole No 41 Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2012 $14

Where: Pete’s, Pike & Western, Sixth Avenue Wine Seller, West Seattle Cellars, Wine World & Spirits, Fred Meyer, QFC, Whole Foods 

Why: For years chenin blanc plantings have been on the decline in Washington, as growers pull out vines to plant varieties that command more consumer attention (read: more money). This is a shame as chenin positively thrives in Washington, where most of the remaining vines are more than 30 years old.

While many growers and winemakers have turned their attention away from chenin blanc, L’Ecole No 41 has gone in the opposite direction, increasing its production, which now stands at nearly 4,000 cases annually. The winery has been a consistent champion of chenin blanc, making a varietal bottling for 25 years.

The 2012 L’Ecole Chenin Blanc—all of which comes from vines planted in 1978 and 1979—shows off this grape's aromas, which run from pear and melon to tropical fruit. With just a touch of sweetness, the palate remains crisp with bright acidity, perfect for a summer day. And that natural acidity makes it a diverse wine at the dinner table. Try it with poultry, spicy food, or dishes with cream or butter based sauces.



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