Leonetti Reserve 2009
Impenetrably dark magenta. A beautiful and precise nose of graham cracker, mixed high-tone florals, ripe fruit, and hints of honey. Palate is silky smooth, incredibly dense and plush, loaded with ripe fruit and butressed by fine grained tannin and a very long finish. Simply pleasurable to sit on the palate. Overall this wine is more youthfully restrained than the Cabernet with laser focus and purity. I think this wine will really blossom over the next five years and reward as much cellaring as its owner is willing to allow.
Blend: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Lastly, I was also able to taste a bottle of the 2009 Reserve, which now, ten years after the vintage, is just starting to show some secondary notes. Based on 92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot, its still youthful ruby/plum color is followed by notes of blackcurrants, toasted spice, graphite, unsmoked tobacco, and cedarwood. Rich, full-bodied, and still structured on the palate, it’s beautifully balanced, with plenty of fruit and a great finish. It’s solidly in the early stages of full maturity, where it’s going to remain for another 10-15 years, and then have a gradual decline. It’s a beautiful wine from Leonetti and a testament to the longevity of the wines from this region.
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.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.