In tough times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines.
L’Ecole No 41 has throughout its long history (the winery recently celebrated its 30th anniversary) carried the banner for Washington Chenin Blanc, making its first varietal offering in 1987. While plantings of the grape in the state have dwindled in recent years (see an article I wrote on Chenin Blanc for Edible Seattle a couple years ago here), the L’Ecole Chenin Blanc has flourished. The winery makes nearly 4,000 cases of its Chenin to slake the nation’s thirst.
Each vintage is a testament of how well this grape does in Washington, and L’Ecole’s 2012 Chenin Blanc is no different. Hailing from four vineyards in the Yakima Valley each planted over thirty years ago, it almost feels like stealing at $14.
For A Song is the house label for Vinum Importing & Distribution with Kyle Johnson (Purple Star, Native Sun) making the Washington wines. The lineup is increasingly diverse and includes – sampled below – Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, a Red Blend, and a positively thrilling Riesling. See previous reviews of winery’s Syrah, Petit Verdot, and Southern Rhone-style blend here.
Read previous Five Wines Under $15 here.
L’Ecole No 41 Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2012 $14
(Excellent) An aromatic wine with pear, melon, floral notes, and whiffs of tropical fruit. It’s medium bodied, off dry with well-balanced acidity and abundant pear flavors that carry through on the finish. A superb wine and an outrageous value at this price. 100% Chenin Blanc. Willard Farms, Phil Church, Upland, and Rothrock vineyards. 0.8% Residual Sugar, 6.5g/L TA, 13.5% alcohol. 3,850 cases produced.
For A Song Riesling Caliche Lake Vineyard Columbia Valley 2012 $10
(Excellent) A moderately aromatic wine with peach, pear, and abundant mineral notes. It’s off dry with beautifully balanced, mouthwatering acidity and an extended finish. One to stock up on, this is an absolutely terrific value outshining many considerably more expensive wines. 11.9% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.
For A Song Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2011 $10
(Good) An aromatically appealing wine with candy corn, pear, yellow apple, tropical fruit and a kiss of spice. It’s medium bodied with a textured feel. Aged in French oak (5% new). 13.8% alcohol. 2,000 cases produced. Sample provided by winery. Recommended
For A Song The Score Red Wine Columbia Valley 2011 $14
(Good) Though only a small percentage of the blend, the Syrah expresses itself with notes of game and olive followed by red fruit and smoke. The palate is plush in feel but shows the vintage’s elegant styling with a touch of dryness on the finish. 90% Merlot, 5% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot. 13.9% alcohol. Sample provided by winery. Recommended.
For A Song Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2010 $14
(Good) A moderately aromatic wine with cherry, chocolate, and light floral notes accented by barrel spices. It’s on the lighter side of medium bodied with citrusy acidity and smooth tannins. 14.2% alcohol. Sample provided by winery.
Very ironic as I just shared a bottle of the chenin blanc with my MIL a month ago. They live in Walla Walla and had a bottle with dinner. They bought another bottle for me to share when we came over to visit. I liked it but it would have been better WITH dinner, not after when we got home I think.
Where can one find the For A Song riesling?
Anon, not sure if you are in the Seattle area but the wine is for sale at Esquin. If you're not, let me know and I'll find out a location in your area.
Thanks — I am in the Seattle area and frequest Esquin way too much. Though not for Bordeaux or Rhones…have you seen their prices? Yikes. They are much more competitive with WA state wines, for sure.
Anon, I've also seen the For A Song Riesling at Fremont Wine.