Leonetti Merlot 2006
Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
Beautiful dark red color. A nose of lavender and violet florals gives way to candied bing cherry, subtle toasty oak notes, and a wine just dripping with gobs of ripe fruit. The wine coats the palate with it's glycerin and sweet fruit. This wine has a purity of fruit and length that even the finest estates of Pomerol and St. Emilion would envy. Everything is in balance and this generous wine is ready to drink now but will also reward cellaring.
Wine Enthusiast - "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 & Spirits - "Leonetti is justly praised for its Cabernets, but this 2006 serves to remind that Leonetti's Esate Merlot is one of its most consistently satisfying reds. Teh bouquet is heady and rich, with a spiced red berry scent. The flavor is pure red currant with a pleasing pipe tobacco accent. There's oak in the finish, but the wine remains lifted and light, with a texture that's as polished as a stone. For skirt steak."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2006 Merlot has 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Carmenere, and 4% Petit Verdot in the blend. It was aged in a mix of new and used barrels for 15 months. It is dark ruby/purple-colored with aromas of cedar, earth notes, clove, cinnamon, red currants, and black currants. This leads to an elegant wine with ripe, savory flavors, good depth, and a lengthy, pure finish. It will evolve for 3-4 years and be at its best from 2012 to 2020. "
International Wine Cellar - "Good bright red-ruby. Candied red fruits, pomegranate and spices on the nose. Then sweet, silky and generous, with lovely concentration and sappiness to the dark berry and brown spice flavors. A very smooth, bright fruit bomb of a merlot, finishing with sweet flavors of cassis, black cherry and pomegranate. Aged in 65% new oak, but the American oak component was limited to used barrels. I find this more pliant at the same age than the 2005 release. For his part, Chris Figgins describes the 2005 merlot as big, but noted that he picked cabernet sauvignon a full degree Brix lower than usual in 2005, as the fruit got phenolically ripe early."
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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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