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Leonetti Merlot 2005

Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • RP94
0% ABV
  • WS93
  • RP93
  • RP93
  • WS91
  • WE91
  • WE92
  • RP94
  • WE94
  • RP93
  • WE93
  • WS91
  • WE95
  • RP93
  • WS93
  • WE94
  • WS92
  • WE96
  • W&S92
  • RP93
  • WS91
  • WE96
  • W&S92
  • RP91
  • RP95
  • WE92
  • WS92
  • RP90
  • WS92
  • WE91
  • WE94
  • WS92
  • RP94
  • WE94
  • WS93
  • WS91
  • WS91
  • RP90
  • WS91
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Winemaker Notes

"The 2005 Merlot contains 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot. It spent 14 months in French and American oak and was bottled unfiltered. Purple-colored, it has a splendid bouquet of pain grille, spice box, cassis, and black currants. This is followed by a plush wine with layered flavors, superb balance, and terrific length. This outstanding Merlot can be enjoyed now but merits 4-6 years of further cellaring. It should provide pleasure through 2030."
-Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Leonetti

Leonetti Cellar

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Leonetti Cellar, Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
2005 Merlot
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.

Walla Walla Valley

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Responsible for some of Washington’s most highly acclaimed wines, the Walla Walla Valley has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. It is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers. Though it is cooler and wetter than most of Washington State’s viticultural areas, irrigation from the Columbia River is still common, though some vineyards on the rainier eastern end of the AVA are able to dry farm.

The conditions in the Walla Walla Valley are perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of black olives, smoke, bacon fat, and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are produced in a range of styles from smooth and supple to tannic and structured. White varieties are a relative rarity here. Sauvignon Blanc is sometimes blended with Sémillon in the style of Bordeaux white blends, resulting in a richer, rounder version take on the variety. Plantings of Viognier are minimal, but often quite successful.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

CAR260391_2005 Item# 95020

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