Leonetti Reserve 2009
Bordeaux Red Blends from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
Impenetrably dark magenta. A beautiful and precise nose of graham cracker, mixed high-tone florals, ripe fruit, and hints of honey. Palate is silky smooth, incredibly dense and plush, loaded with ripe fruit and butressed by fine grained tannin and a very long finish. Simply pleasurable to sit on the palate. Overall this wine is more youthfully restrained than the Cabernet with laser focus and purity. I think this wine will really blossom over the next five years and reward as much cellaring as its owner is willing to allow.
Blend: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot
The Wine Advocate - "The wine known simply as Leonetti 2009 Reserve is, in fact, 92% Cabernet Sauvignon (the rest Merlot), a major departure from the norm of two-thirds to three quarters established in its previous eleven vintages (other exceptions being 2000 and 2001 when the Cabernet share dipped to less than half). Interestingly, too, Petit Verdot vines have contributed a significant share of each earlier Reserve bottling since their first crop, 2000, but this year dropped out on account of having been hit by the late frost. While at 14.7% virtually identical in alcohol to the corresponding Cabernet Sauvignon bottling, this 2009 Reserve comes off as significantly fuller-bodied. It also misses the vibrancy of its ostensibly lesser sibling. "For the reserve," notes Chris Figgins, "we look for lots that are more backward and brooding," and he certainly was rewarded this year. Ripe, lightly-confitured cassis and mulberry are mingled with toasted nuts, peat, and dark Burley tobacco. High-toned suggestions of camphor, mint, and gentian distillate emerge with aeration. The amplitude and sheer fruit intensity here comes along with a palpable if well-coated tannic undergirding; and the finish splendidly soothes and sustains. The longer this was open to the air, the greater its appeal; and I'm only sorry I could not follow it for a second day. Look for at least 15 years of profound pleasure not to mention persistent contrast with the corresponding Cabernet bottling."
Wine Enthusiast - "Leonetti's 2009 Reserve - 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot - is a simpler blend than in past vintages, and it seems to mark a return to the style of wine that built the winery's reputation initially. Powerfully, lavishly oaky, with a ripe, chewy black-fruit flavor, it is bursting with notes of black cherry, cassis, dark chocolate and a hint of butter. Though not quite as graceful or detailed as the regular Cabernet, this is the more potently expressive of the two flagship Leonetti reds."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright red-ruby. Cassis, chocolate, cocoa powder and enticing oak tones on the nose. Opulent and layered on the palate, with a hint of chocolatey merlot adding sweetness to the creamy dark berry flavors. Most impressive today on the very long finish, which features thoroughly ripe, very broad tannins that are already in harmony with the wine's lush fruit. This will be a knockout early and has the stuffing and balance for a graceful evolution in bottle. It's hard to imagine that a wine like this will ever go through a dumb stage."
Wine & Spirits - "With its core of dark fruit and a polished impression of oak, Leonetti's classical approach to its Reserve bottling works well in a power vintage like 2009. It leads with scents of violets and black plum, the flavors taking on a warm-weather tone of roasted cherries and grilled figs. This is built for the cellar, and once it emerges, for a steak."
Wine Spectator - "Supple, lithe and distinctive for its red berry and fresh red pepper flavors, weaving in mint and dried herb notes as the finish persists against fine tannins. This has an aristocratic feel. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot."
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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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