Leonetti Merlot 1998 Front Label
Leonetti Merlot 1998 Front Label

Leonetti Merlot 1998

  • WE94
  • RP94
  • WS93
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Perhaps as much as any other varietal, Merlot reflects the vintage from which it is produced, and 1998 is sure to go down as one of the finest vintages in the history of Washington wine. Leonetti's ’98 Merlot Columbia Valley possesses an inky dark purple color. The nose is that of jammy ripe black and red dried fruits, chocolate, and oak-influenced vanillan. The mouthfeel is incredibly rich, soft, and fleshy, buttressed by long, fine-grained tannins. This is a compelling, Hedonistic wine with solid aging potential.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
If this isn't the best $50 Merlot in the world, I don't know what is. Dark, thick and jammy, with dense layers of fruit, spice and oak. Scents of sandalwood, coffee, mint, pepper and more, much more. In the mouth it offers a seamless, achingly rich mix of fruits, woods and spices. Big, rich, long and deep, it's nonetheless best enjoyed right now, not cellared.
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The medium to dark ruby-colored 1998 Merlot possesses an immensely appealing spice and dark fruit-scented perfume. While it would be perceived as extroverted, even boisterous from another producer, it is reserved for Leonetti. Medium to full-bodied and hugely ripe, it is crammed with Asian spices, chocolate, blackberry juice, and a cascade of cherries. This expansive, rich, lively Merlot is unquestionably great stuff! There are no hard edges in its sultry character or exceptionally long, fruit-filled finish.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Firm, flavorful and distinctly spicy, with cinnamon and nutmeg overtones to the yummy, focused black currant and blackberry flavors. A racy red with great style and depth. Fine-grained tannins can use cellaring.
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Leonetti

Leonetti Cellar

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Leonetti Cellar, Washington
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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.
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A large and geographically diverse AVA capable of producing a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington state’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA even extends into northern Oregon!

Because of its size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which are both further split into smaller, noteworthy appellations. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences extreme winters and long, hot, dry summers. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the entire year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling. These range in style from citrus and green apple dominant in cooler sites, to riper, fleshier wines with stone fruit flavors coming from the warmer vineyards.

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With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

LSB209637_1998 Item# 209637

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