L'Ecole's Semillon Is Like An Elegant Old Friend

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Ilustration by Andrew Saeger, tHE ARTdept.
Hey fellow lushes! Do you ever crave the comfort of the familiar? That's almost a rhetorical question, especially when you're talking mac-and-cheese.

The Wino certainly digs dabbling in new and exciting releases. Who wouldn't want a glass of Zinfandel with a picture of a pig on the label?

Yet, there are times when I gravitate to a lovely wine that never lets me down. L'Ecole No. 41's Columbia Valley Semillon could even be called my house wine. I've almost always got a bottle of it chilling and it doesn't take a lot of convincing to get me to pull the cork.

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This crisp, clean wine with bright citrus-y flavors goes great with all sorts of foods, the tart acidity cutting through some of my favorite fall dishes: chicken braised in wine, white bean chili, Thai-style butternut squash soup. It even works on the Thanksgiving table and its wild assortment of flavors.

The Wino has lost count of how many bottles of L'Ecole Semillon she's consumed over the decades, even ordering it when out to dinner. It's often a standout value on wine lists, too, which makes my heart grow fonder.

Does this make me boring to have a liquid version of "I'll have the usual"? You know what? I don't give a fig if it does. There's no better boring in my book.

The strength of this wine -- made from grapes that originated in Bordeaux -- is that it's been made by the same guy for decades. Sure, Marty Clubb also makes fabulous Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and other wines at the historic school house in Lowden (just west of Walla Walla), but he'll always be King Semillon to me.

That title's gonna carry extra weight next year because The Wino's declaring 2012 as the year Semillon's going to get as hot as it deserves to be. Or, maybe that's just a case of wishful thinking.

L'Ecole's Semillon -- which sells for about $12 -- earns a whopping four out of four brown paper bags, with a extra gold star for its classy new label.

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