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L'Ecole No. 41 1997 Columbia Valley (Washington State) Merlot ($26.99)
L'Ecole No. 41Dark garnet, with a plummy, chocolate aroma pleasantly reminiscent of Raisinets candies. Full and juicy black-fruit flavor, plenty of sweet oak, but it's good oak and doesn't dominate the fruit. Good acidity and soft, almost subliminal tannins add structure and body. The blend is 85% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 18 months in small oak barrels and bottled unfined. (Oct. 23, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Just right with veal chops.

WEBSITE: www.lecole.com

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