L'Ecole No. 41 Walla Voila' Chenin Blanc, Washington, 2007
WHAT: This old-vine, Vouvray-style Chenin Blanc is a gem. It opens with peach and floral aromas, leading to tart tastes of apricot and pear. L'Ecole No. 41 has been producing this off-dry wine since 1987, and in recent years it has gotten drier. It is a fresh, exuberant wine, with just a hint of minerals in the finish. It is a complex wine, with layers of intriguing aromas and flavors.
THE WINERY: The winery is named after a historic French schoolhouse, and the name Walla Voila is a play on the French word voila, which means "Here it is!" It is pronounced Walla Walla. Even the label reflects the schoolhouse theme. It was painted by an 8-year-old who won a contest in 1983. The winery produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Merlot.
GOES WITH: Seafood, crab cakes, grilled fish, spicy chicken (especially Asian dishes), as an aperitif, or on a picnic when the weather warms up.
Reach Dennis Sodomka at email@example.com. Read his column on planning a wine-tasting party in the February issue of Augusta Magazine.