Leonetti Merlot 2009
Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
The 1992 vintage of this wine was ranked #4 on the Wine Spectator's Top 10 Wines of 1994
Merlot 78%, Cabernet Sauvignon 13%, Malbec 5%, Cabernet Franc 3%.
Beautiful dark color. The warm 2009 vintage produced a very fine and generous Merlot. It is already drinking gorgeously. The wine has a stunning bouquet of berries, fresh blooming flowers, cedar shavings, and mocha. On the palate, it is incredibly long, lush, and soft, with pure fruit and melted caramel. This is a truly hedonistic Merlot and a fine example of why I love making this varietal.
Wine Enthusiast - "Though 2009 was a difficult vintage for Washington Merlot, this is a truly luscious wine. It welcomes the taster instantly with massive, generous fruit cloaked in toasty, chewy, mocha and caramel flavors. Tasted over the course of 48 hours, it held up well, developing broad, well-integrated flavors of berries to complement the hedonistic oak. Sure to be a favorite among all the current releases from Leonetti."
Wine Spectator - "A Merlot with admirable restraint, this shows a lively balance of raspberry and roasted meat flavors, finishing against fine tannins. Has freshness and immediate appeal, but there’s more underneath that cellaring could bring out. Drink now through 2019."
International Wine Cellar - "Deep red-ruby. Very ripe, slightly medicinal aromas of kirsch, black raspberry and licorice. Dense, powerful and dark in the mouth, with a slightly tough quality to the mulberry and licorice flavors. Finishes with good length, but the wine's serious tannic spine and a late peppery quality leave the finish a bit rigid today. Will this tightly coiled, very primary wine unwind with several years in bottle? Chris Figgins notes that very hot weather from mid-June to July was harder on the merlot in 2009 than it was on the cabernet sauvignon, and that the merlot struggled to achieve physiological ripeness.
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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.