Wine: L’Ecole No.41 Recess Red 2004
Grape: Cabernet sauvignon (35 percent), merlot (31 percent), syrah (25 percent) cabernet franc (5 percent), malbec (3 percent), carmenere (1 percent)
Region: Columbia Valley in Washington
Price: $ 19.99 per bottle.
In the glass: This Recess Red wine is a deep, burly crimson to inky-blackish red with a completely opaque center, going out into a deeply painted blood-ruby rim definition and seriously high viscosity.
On the nose: The wine immediately reveals layers of ripe opulent black fruit with dominance by black currants and boysenberries, then eucalyptus, oak, crème de cassis, crème brulee, vanilla, cherry jam and blackberry sorbet. It is simply a fabulous and complex nose for a Washington wine with tons of class coming out.
On the palate: The wine is a veritable smorgasbord of flavors highlighted by black currants, minerals, mint, earthy, almost chewy, notes of blackberries, a firmly structured set of tannins and solid backbone for ageability. The mid-palate is powerful with chewy black fruit and minerals, going into the long and tasty finish that is laden with forest berries, fern and elderberry, as well as marionberry fruit. It is a superb winemaking effort from one of the very finest appellations and micro-climates in Washington state.
Odds and ends: This wine is made by the absolute classy winery of L’Ecole No.41, which is considered one of the top producers in Washington. It is a $60 wine for one third the price. Also from a superb vintage, still in its youth and it will age effortlessly for another five to seven years, but already drinks well right out of the bottle. Give it about an hour to fully open up and reveal its tremendous potential before consumption. It has rib-eye steak written all over it, so perhaps in the simplest form with french fries and maitre d’hotel butter.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at email@example.com.