Leonetti Merlot 2010
Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
Dense, dark, and lush but with amazing focus and levity. Loaded with dark blue and black fruits. Gorgeous high tone aromatics are reminiscent of brambleberry reduction compote. Long and plush on the palate, but with a fine grained tannin structure and brilliant acidity from the epic 2010 vintage. This may be the finest Merlot in Leonetti's history. I am completely enamored by the complexity of this wine. The cool vintage gives such restraint to the opulence of the fruit. This wine will drink well upon release but age for many years to come. Made with 100% Merlot.
Wine Enthusiast - "A classic take on Merlot - this is 100% varietal, and was aged for 15 months in new and neutral French oak barrels and botti. The flavors more through strawberry, raspberry and Bing cherry, with great breadth of flavor and texture throughout. The midpalate is concentrated and fulll, with a fine, lingering, superclean finish. Cellar Selection."
Wine Spectator - "Shows real presence and depth, offering a vibrant package of red berry, cherry and black currant, with hints of licorice and herbs as the finish lingers impressively. Cellaring should soften the raw feel and make this something special."
The Wine Advocate - "The Leonetti 2010 Merlot - which, unlike any preceding vintage save for 2000 and 2008, was blended with no other variety - offers a perfect validation of Chris Figgins's intention to render a serious, self-standing wine from this grape capable of starring in Washington if given the right, sufficiently clay-rich and thermally temperate sort of site. Fresh dark cherry and purple plum already announced in the nose take on a delightful primary juiciness and invigoratingly tart fruit skin edge on a fine-grained palate. This is so exuberantly juicy and saliva-stimulating in its long, lip-smacking finish - a feature no doubt enhanced by bottling after only 14 months in barrique, and justifying the release of Leonetti Merlots a year ahead of their other wines - that you can't possibly take just one sip. Piquant fruit pit, crushed stone, and peat add interest and stimulation to an energetic yet lusciously ripe and richly-textured effort whose longevity will, I predict, surprise most wine lovers (perhaps even its authors?) and extend for more than a dozen years. The intended Merlot self-sufficiency on exhibit here is furthered by Figgins' increasing reliance on grapes from their relatively cool, long-ripening Mill Creek Upland Vineyard, with fruit from Seven Hills or Loess more apt to end up being selectively blended into their other reds or sold off."
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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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