2006 Leonetti Columbia Valley Merlot

SKU #1037771 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 This bright, aromatic, vivid wine opens with a bowlful of berries and cherries. There is plenty of acid under the ripe fruit, which takes center stage at the moment. The signifcant additon of Carmenere (from the Seven Hills Vineyard) adds black pepper to the engaging mix of flavors. Despite its youth, the flavors persist for a remarkably long finish. *Top 100 Wines of 2008* (PG)  (12/2008)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 Leonetti is justly praised for its Cabernets, but this 2006 serves to remind that Leonetti's Estate Merlot is one of its most consistently satisfying reds. The bouquet is heady and rich, with a spiced red berry scent. The flavor is pure red currant with a pleasing pipe tobacco accent. There's oak in the finish, but the wine remains lifted and light, with a texture that's as polished as a stone. For skirt steak.  (2/2009)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2006 Merlot has 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Carmenere, and 4% Petit Verdot in the blend. It was aged in a mix of new and used barrels for 15 months. It is dark ruby/purple-colored with aromas of cedar, earth notes, clove, cinnamon, red currants, and black currants. This leads to an elegant wine with ripe, savory flavors, good depth, and a lengthy, pure finish. It will evolve for 3-4 years and be at its best from 2012 to 2020. Founded in 1978 by Gary Figgins, Leonetti Cellar remains a benchmark Washington winery. Shortly the winery will be in a position to achieve its goal of producing all of its wines from estate-grown Walla Walla vineyards. Gary’s son Chris has taken over much of the day-to-day operation of the winery and in particular the viticultural component. (JM)  (6/2008)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good bright red-ruby. Candied red fruits, pomegranate and spices on the nose. Then sweet, silky and generous, with lovely concentration and sappiness to the dark berry and brown spice flavors. A very smooth, bright fruit bomb of a merlot, finishing with sweet flavors of cassis, black cherry and pomegranate. Aged in 65% new oak, but the American oak component was limited to used barrels. I find this more pliant at the same age than the 2005 release. For his part, Chris Figgins describes the 2005 merlot as big, but noted that he picked cabernet sauvignon a full degree Brix lower than usual in 2005, as the fruit got phenolically ripe early. (ST)  (12/2008)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Lean and crisp, almost delicate in its subtle, supple structure, with raspberry, blackberry, coffee and sage aromas and flavors that linger extensively and expressively on the fine-grained finish. (HS)  (12/2008)

K&L Notes

We love this wine's rich and dark hue, with notes of purple flowers, bright Bing cherry fruit and hints of toasty oak. There's great purity of fruit on the palate and the wine stays focused and balanced through to the finish. Ready to drink, this will also reward those who choose to cellar it.

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Price: $59.99
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- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.