L'Ecole No. 41 2000 Columbia Valley Merlot ($28.99)
Inky dark reddish purple, almost opaque. Deep, plummy fruit aromas add complex nuances of spice and smoke. The flavor is ripe, juicy and tart, like biting into a perfectly fresh plum: Abundant fruit polishes the edges of a firm acidic structure; tannins are present but soft and smooth. Dark fruits, cleansing acidity and a gently astringent edge persist in a very long finish. A "serious" Merlot that will gain additional complexity with careful cellaring. US Importer: (Aug 11, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: Drinkable now, especially with food, but its brooding nature and soft tannins suggest it will improve with a few years' cellar time.

WEB LINK: http://www.lecole.com/

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