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Leonetti Merlot 2010

Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE95
  • WS93
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

Dense, dark, and lush but with amazing focus and levity. Loaded with dark blue and black fruits. Gorgeous high tone aromatics are reminiscent of brambleberry reduction compote. Long and plush on the palate, but with a fine grained tannin structure and brilliant acidity from the epic 2010 vintage. This may be the finest Merlot in Leonetti's history. I am completely enamored by the complexity of this wine. The cool vintage gives such restraint to the opulence of the fruit. This wine will drink well upon release but age for many years to come. Made with 100% Merlot.

Critical Acclaim

WE 95
Wine Enthusiast

A classic take on Merlot - this is 100% varietal, and was aged for 15 months in new and neutral French oak barrels and botti. The flavors more through strawberry, raspberry and Bing cherry, with great breadth of flavor and texture throughout. The midpalate is concentrated and fulll, with a fine, lingering, superclean finish. Cellar Selection.

WS 93
Wine Spectator

Shows real presence and depth, offering a vibrant package of red berry, cherry and black currant, with hints of licorice and herbs as the finish lingers impressively. Cellaring should soften the raw feel and make this something special.

RP 93
The Wine Advocate

The Leonetti 2010 Merlot - which, unlike any preceding vintage save for 2000 and 2008, was blended with no other variety - offers a perfect validation of Chris Figgins's intention to render a serious, self-standing wine from this grape capable of starring in Washington if given the right, sufficiently clay-rich and thermally temperate sort of site. Fresh dark cherry and purple plum already announced in the nose take on a delightful primary juiciness and invigoratingly tart fruit skin edge on a fine-grained palate. This is so exuberantly juicy and saliva-stimulating in its long, lip-smacking finish - a feature no doubt enhanced by bottling after only 14 months in barrique, and justifying the release of Leonetti Merlots a year ahead of their other wines - that you can't possibly take just one sip. Piquant fruit pit, crushed stone, and peat add interest and stimulation to an energetic yet lusciously ripe and richly-textured effort whose longevity will, I predict, surprise most wine lovers (perhaps even its authors?) and extend for more than a dozen years. The intended Merlot self-sufficiency on exhibit here is furthered by Figgins' increasing reliance on grapes from their relatively cool, long-ripening Mill Creek Upland Vineyard, with fruit from Seven Hills or Loess more apt to end up being selectively blended into their other reds or sold off.

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Leonetti

Leonetti Cellar

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Leonetti Cellar, , Washington
Leonetti
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.

Home to some of the world’s finest and longest-lived sweet and dry white wines...

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Home to some of the world’s finest and longest-lived sweet and dry white wines, the Mosel is a region of Germany formerly known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer—named thusly for the three rivers that flow through its dramatic valleys. Geology, climate and topography are paramount here, and the wines produced communicate a distinct sense of place. In addition to being prized for their heat-retaining properties, slate-based soils lend a stony minerality to the wines, contributing to some of the most recognizable terroir in the world. Cool temperatures necessitate the use of the region’s rivers to reflect heat onto the vineyards, and the best wines are made from sites with south or southwest facing slopes to receive sufficient direct sunlight for ripening. The breathtakingly steep slopes that straddle the river banks cannot be worked by machine, contributing to a high cost of labor (and treacherous working conditions).

Riesling is by far the most important and prestigious grape of the Mosel, grown on approximately 60% of the region’s vineyard land—typically the sites that provide the best combination of sunlight, soil type, and altitude. These wines, dry or sweet, are distinguished by marked acidity, low alcohol, and intense flavors of wet stone, citrus, and stone fruit. With age, a pleasing aroma of petroleum often develops. The lesser plots are mainly planted with lower-maintenance but relatively neutral varieties like [Müller-Thurgau] and other German crosses, but Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) can perform quite well here.

Riesling

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A regal variety of incredible purity and precision...

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A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling, and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes in New York.

In the Glass

Riesling is low in alcohol, with high acidity, steely minerality, and stone fruit, spice, citrus, and floral notes. At its ripest it leans towards juicy peach and nectarine, and pineapple, while in cooler climes it is more redolent of meyer lemon, lime, and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of gasoline.

Perfect Pairings

Riesling is very versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice), and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.

Sommelier Secret

It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.

YNG859620_2010 Item# 115599

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