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Leonetti Merlot 2017

  • WS94
  • JS94
  • JD93
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

A dominant note of ripe bramble fruit and cream explodes from the glass, as ifraspberries and blackberries were reduced on the stove and then poured hot over homemade vanilla ice cream. Secondary notes add just a touch of cocoa powder. In my opinion, Walla Walla Valley Merlot is about purity and precision of fruit, and thiswine delivers that in spades. The subtle and seamless tannins are not heavy on the palate, but clean and pure. The finish is both rich and acid-laced, making it truly satisfying and refreshing.

Blend: 94% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon

Critical Acclaim

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WS 94
Wine Spectator
Polished and multilayered, with expressive red currant, smoky spice and green olive accents that take on richness toward fine-grained tannins.
JS 94
James Suckling

Notes of iodine and some smoky nuances, as well as sappy, foresty freshness to the red plums and darker berries. The palate has rich tannins and dark-plum flavors pervade the assertive finish. A blend of 94% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 2% cabernet sauvignon. Try from 2023.


JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck
The only 2017 I was able to taste from this terrific estate, the 2017 Merlot reveals a saturated purple color as well as a terrific perfume of black cherries, cassis, toasty oak, and graphite. It's medium to full-bodied, plump, and rounded, with ample tannins as well as purity of fruit. It needs 2-4 years of bottle age but is a beautiful, outstanding, incredibly promising Merlot. The blend is 94% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon and it spent 15 months in 60% new French oak. Rating: 93+
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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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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 and is home to both historic wineries and younger, up-and-coming producers.

The Walla Walla Valley, a Native American name meaning “many waters,” is located in southeastern Washington; part of the appellation actually extends into Oregon. Soils here are well-drained, sandy loess over Missoula Flood deposits and fractured basalt.

It is a region perfectly suited to Rhône-inspired Syrahs, distinguished by savory notes of red berry, black olive, smoke and fresh earth. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot create a range of styles from smooth and supple to robust and well-structured. White varieties are rare but some producers blend Sauvignon Blanc with Sémillon, resulting in a rich and round style, and plantings of Viognier, while minimal, are often quite successful.

Of note within Walla Walla, is one new and very peculiar appellation, called the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. This is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries are totally defined by the soil type. Soils here look a bit like those in the acclaimed Rhône region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but are large, ancient, basalt cobblestones. These stones work in the same way as they do in Chateauneuf, absorbing and then radiating the sun's heat up to enhance the ripening of grape clusters. The Rocks District is within the part of Walla Walla that spills over into Oregon and naturally excels in the production of Rhône varieties like Syrah, as well as the Bordeaux varieties.

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Merlot

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An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot can be made into a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the best wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol where it is blended with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly from California’s Napa Valley.

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 with Cabernet Franc.

STC772261_2017 Item# 524022