Leonetti Merlot 2011
Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Beautiful, deep ruby color. 2011 was the coolest vintage in the Walla Walla Valley in 20 years. It was a winemakers vintage and one that will forever separate the "men from the boys." Everything had to be executed to perfection in the vineyard, a feat in which we managed to accomplish. Merlot, being the earliest variety we have to ripen, was truly at home in this vintage and produced a wine I can aptly describe as resembling the finest Right Bank Claret from Bordeaux. Such is its leaness, levity, and beauty. The nose is just loaded with pure red and blue berries, along with floral notes. Fantastic acid punctuates the lovely finish.
The Wine Advocate - "Coming from the estate Loess, Seven Hills and Mill Creek Upland vineyards in Walla Walla, the 2011 Merlot is a superb, plush and yet gorgeously elegant and detailed effort that boasts knockout aromatics of spring flowers, black cherry, plum, licorice and dusty mineral on the nose. Already complex and approachable, it nevertheless has full-bodied richness on the palate, as well as a supple, mouth-filling texture, juicy acidity and no hard edges. Drink it over the coming decade. Drink now-2023."
Wine Enthusiast - "This is 100% varietal Merlot, aged 15 months in new and neutral French oak barrels and botti. It’s tangy, sleek and supple, with a spectrum of fruit from cranberry on through blackberry. Tannins are polished and mouth-coating, with substantial power. The finish brings hints of herbs and black olives. Cellar Selection."
International Wine Cellar - "Good deep red with ruby highlights. Sweet aromas of cassis, licorice, bitter chocolate, cocoa powder and spicecake. Sweet, suave and lush; wonderfully pliant for 2011. Really saturates the palate with dark berry, dark chocolate and spice flavors. Finishes impressively broad and fine-grained, with ripe, mouthcoating tannins and outstanding length. A very fine and thoroughly satisfying Washington merlot."
Wine Spectator - "Firm in texture, showing pepper and licorice flavors at first, followed by plum and currant fruit that fills in the taut frame. Needs time to soften and unfurl."
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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.