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Leonetti Merlot 2011

Merlot from Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • WE93
  • RP93
  • WS91
14% ABV
  • WS93
  • RP93
  • RP93
  • WS91
  • WE91
  • WE92
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5.0 1 Ratings
14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
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.
RP 93
Robert Parker's 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.
WS 91
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

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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Sauvignon Blanc

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A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.

In the Glass

From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.

Perfect Pairings

The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.

CAR260118_11_2011 Item# 123197

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