2009 Leonetti Walla Walla Valley Merlot
Though 2009 was a difficult vintage for Washington Merlot, this is a truly luscious wine. It welcomes the taster instantly with massive, generous fruit cloaked in toasty, chewy, mocha and caramel flavors. Tasted over the course of 48 hours, it held up well, developing broad, well-integrated flavors of berries to complement the hedonistic oak. Sure to be a favorite among all the current releases from Leonetti.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Merlot displays inviting aromas of balsam wood, earthy minerals, spice box, black currant and blackberry. This sets the stage for a velvety-textured, layered, succulent wine that has impressive volume and length. It will provide prime drinking from 2013 to 2024.
A Merlot with admirable restraint, showing a lively balance of raspberry and roasted meat flavors, finishing against fine tannins. Offers freshness and immediate appeal, but there's more underneath that cellaring could bring out. Drink now through 2019.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep red-ruby. Very ripe, slightly medicinal aromas of kirsch, black raspberry and licorice. Dense, powerful and dark in the mouth, with a slightly tough quality to the mulberry and licorice flavors. Finishes with good length, but the wine's serious tannic spine and a late peppery quality leave the finish a bit rigid today. Will this tightly coiled, very primary wine unwind with several years in bottle? ... 90(+?)? points.
Leonetti Cellar belongs in the pantheon of Washington wine pioneers, planting grapes and making stellar wines in Washington's Walla Walla Valley back in the 1970s, when no one else really was. The wines are always extremely sought after, especially after they're reviewed, so get your hands on some before the critics make this scarce. The 2009 Merlot (which also includes small amounts of Cab, Malbec and Cab Franc for depth) is lovely and generous, with violet and briar fruit aromas and an undercurrent of caramel truffle and espresso. Sexy and approachable now, this will age well in your cellar if you can keep your hands off of it.