2007 L’Ecole 41 Apogee, Perigee

Hello friends. Through a few coincidences and some good luck, I have had the opportunity during the past year to taste several older vintages of Apogee and Perigee, L’Ecole 41’s flagship wines. The results have been stunning. While it is easy to crack these bottles in their youth and enjoy the freshness of the primary fruit, these are wines that offer clear rewards to the patient. I tasted the 2002 vintage, which is in a real sweet spot right now. There are echoes of primary fruit, but secondary aromas (cedar, leather, manure) are beginning to come to the fore. These could easily be confused with Bordeaux when tasted blind (for me, the Perigee had an especially old-world nose). I also tasted the 1997 Apogee, where the primary fruit had receded mostly from sight, leaving a delight of dried, pressed flowers, dust, leather, and soil.

Marty Clubb has a remarkable record of consistency, producing strong bottles every year. But in a beautiful vintage like 2007, his wines can really shine. With recent price drops on both wines, these become excellent cellar candidates that will really begin to shine (if my recent tastings are an accurate indication) in the 2014-2020 window. This is an especially interesting year to sample both bottles, because the varietal composition is nearly identical, with both wines comprised of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. The differences come almost entirely from the vineyards.

2007 L’Ecole 41 “Apogee” Pepper Bridge Vineyard

Apogee, first produced in 1994, comes from Pepper Bridge Vineyard (see its location on the Google Map here). For me, this is generally the more generous and approachable of the two wines in its youth.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Jay Miller): “($50); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($49); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”

2007 L’Ecole 41 “Perigee” Seven Hills Vineyard

Perigee, first produced in 2002, comes from some of the older blocks at Seven Hills Vineyard. You can see on the Google Map that Seven Hills is not so far away from Pepper Bridge. But the two vineyards experience different microclimates, and in 2007, the fruit for Perigee was harvested a full two weeks before the Apogee fruit. A deeply classy wine, this is elegant and a little less giving right now, but its structure and minerality indicate a fascinating life ahead.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Jay Miller): “($50); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($49); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”

First come first served up to 24 bottles of each, and both wines should arrive within the next week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window (scheduled to begin October 11).

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