Leonetti Merlot 2008
Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
This bright, aromatic, vivid wine opens with a bowlful of berries and cherries. There is plenty of acid under the ripe fruit, which takes center stage at the moment. The significant addition of Carmenère (from the Seven Hills vineyard) adds black pepper to the engaging mix of flavors. Despite its youth, the flavors persist for a remarkably long finish,
Wine Enthusiast - "This is 100% varietal, from the Loess, Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge, and Mill Creek Upland vineyards. A deep, intense take on Merlot, it’s so dark and concentrated that it dances on the )edge of bitterness, but in a style reminiscent of the finest Italian Merlots, that use that flavor to define and elucidate a dark and potent wine. In the mouth it fills out with luscious cherry and plum and blackberry fruit, baking chocolate, coconut and nougat. Yet it remains sleek and stylish, with a strong licorice note."
International Wine Cellar - "Good bright red. Smoky red fruits and musky wilder notes of tobacco and tea leaf on the nose. At once silky and precise; shapely, almost voluptuous, but without any undue weight. Builds impressively on the back end, finishing with very suave, sweet tannins and lingering red fruits. Incidentally, Chris Figgins describes his 2008 reds as more generous than his 2007s, but says the earlier vintage has a more classic structure and balance and may age longer."
Wine & Spirits - "This beautifully perfumed merlot delivers classic Walla Walla sents of savory sundried tomato and red plum. On the palate the wine feels youthful in its concentration-it's a long way from optimal expression, but what's ther indicates a long life and plenty of complexity gowing forward. For the cellar."
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Leonetti Cellar Winery
Exclusive production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have been the hallmark of Gary Figgins' Leonetti Cellar winery in the suburbs of Walla Walla. Grapes from his own vineyard and from other nearby properties are used to create these rich and robust varietal wines. The attractive new winery building made of native stone houses barrel storage and fermenting tanks. View all Leonetti Cellar Wines
About Walla Walla ValleyView a map of Walla Walla Valley wineries
Sharing part of the valley with Oregon, Walla Walla is on the southeast side of the Columbia Valley. It is primarily red grape land, with Cabernet Sauvignon leading in the vineyards, followed by Merlot and the ever-growing and very popular, Syrah.In the 1990's, as Washington State was gaining more acclaim for its red wines, Walla Walla was hailed by wine critics for its quality and sense of place. That has not changed. Many red wines from Walla Walla show not only great complexity and elegance, but ageability. Though the region is known for the red wines, the most planted white grape here is Chardonnay.
About WashingtonRelated Links:Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.