Washington Wine Club – January 2011

2007 L’Ecole No. 41, Perigee
Perigee, from Seven Hills Vineyard, is one of L’Ecole’s two top wines, the other being their Apogee from Pepper Bridge Vineyard. Both are consistently good from year to year, but they have reached new heights in 2007. While the Apogee is more tannic and spicy, the Perigee is known for its rich elegance, wonderful aromas, and long finish. A classic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, it shows smooth, silky red cherry and blackberry fruit, with rich floral and spicy aromas of cinnamon and mocha on a vivid, earthy mineral finish. The wine is named “Perigee” after the point in the orbit of the moon that is nearest to the center of the earth, and this is particularly appropriate for a more earthy wine, particularly one from a vineyard that is managed with environmentally sound and sustainable practices. It’s lovely now, but can easily age for another two or three years. It’s $45, in good supply, and a nice pairing with any kind of meat, from burgers to filet mignon.

2007 Baer Winery, Arctos
We’ve been able to put the last couple of vintages of the Baer Ursa in this club, and now we present the first release of the Baer Arctos since Lance Baer’s death. Consulting winemaker Erica Orr was finally able to get the grapes she wanted from Stillwater Vineyard to make an outstanding wine from the 2007 vintage. It is styled to be like a powerful, rich “left-bank” Bordeaux and, true to Lance’s inclinations, is meant to be enjoyed upon release. Showing lots of red current jam, it has notes of chocolate and spice from aging for 22 months in new French oak. The wine is definitely a bit more structured than previous versions, and the firm tannins are more noticeable, so it could be aged three or four years to develop further complexity. It would pair well with grilled meats, hearty cheese and rustic bread, but is a great wine just to enjoy on its own. While it is no longer available from the distributor, we were able to secure a bit extra for the shop. It is $42 per bottle.