Thursday, September 27, 2007


A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to taste this commemorative wine that was named after two local wine pioneers. In fact, not only pioneers in the Walla Walla Valley, but also in the State of Washington.

This 2004 Bordeaux-style reserve was named after Jean and Baker Ferguson. The Ferguson’s founded L’Ecole No. 41 at Lowden, WA. Lowden, located in Walla Walla County, is a small farm community and also known as "Frenchtown" to the locals. Obviously the name comes from the fact that it was founded by French-Canadian settlers in the 1800s. Believe it or not, there was actually a small war in Frenchtown, known as the Battle of Frenchtown/Walla Walla, back in 1855. Local historians tell us that Lecole No. 41 and other wineries in that area, are not the first to be producing wine. Besides fur trapping, nurseries, vineyards and wine production became an important part to Frenchtown's economy. And of course like other communities of wine producers in our nation, prohibition of alcohol stopped the growing economy back in the 1920's.

In 1983, Jean and Baker purchased Lowden’s grand old school house that has been located on highway #12 into Walla Walla, since the turn of the century. Now the school house holds some of the most prestigious wines coming out of the state of Washington. The Ferguson's returned the art of winemaking to that historical area.

How did the 2004 Ferguson Commemorative Reserve taste? This classic was perfect on my tongue - it is a blend that I happen to love. The richness of dense chocolate bouchan and some chewiness came through with the 48% Cabernet Sauvignon. Berries and plums showed well with the 42% Merlot, and 5% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was just enough to make the red blend interesting adding a touch of violets, pepper and chocolate orange stick candy. A velvety combination that I think will perform well with an assortment of food from a wood grilled hanger steak or salmon to a plate of fresh chocolate chip cookies. This wine is worthy in any collection and like many of Lecole's wines, it should age well. Cheers!

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