2009 Leonetti Walla Walla Valley Sangiovese

SKU #1154333 94 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* A truly lovely and engaging nose bears scents of cherries, raspberries and exotic spices. It seems Italian in style, but with New World ripeness and power. A fine example of a domestic Super Tuscan-style wine. (PG)  (9/2012)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 I confess that my heart sinks a bit whenever I read the name of this grape variety on an American wine label because I've tasted one disappointment after another, but the Leonetti 2009 Sangiovese transported me smilingly straight to Tuscany before gently reminding me that it had a distinctly delicious personality, thank you, needing no Old World validation...Roasted chestnut, game, violet, and lightly-cooked cherry rise from the glass, then inform a palate whose sense of tannic grit is not at all coarse but sufficient to add invigoration and almost certainly enhance this wine's adaptability at table. While I strongly suspect that low-level brett is responsible for some of the personality on exhibit here - and in consequence I'd monitor stocks carefully if planning to cellar any - it, for now, in no way lacks for lip-smacking primary juiciness that extends all the way through a vibrant, saliva-liberating finish.. (DS)  (12/2012)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good bright deep red. Lively aromas of strawerry and raspberry. Tight, juicy and on the lean side, but with excellent cut to the blueberry and strawberry flavors. This very young wine is currently dominated by its firm tannic spine but should expand with several years of bottle aging. Chris Figgins told me that 2009 brought a huge crop, noting that 'a lot of '09s show tea leaf and dried fruit character due to machine harvesting.' He left 35% of his fruit hanging on the vines after the sharp frost on October 10, when the temperature plunged to 24 degrees. (ST)  (12/2012)

Wine Spectator

 Supple in texture, with a meaty edge that hints at gaminess around a medium-weight core of cherry and strawberry fruit. (HS, Web-2012)

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- The most widely planted grape in Italy is Sangiovese, a high-acid grape with moderate to high tannins, apparent earthiness and subtle fruit. It is thought to have originated in Tuscany and its name, which translates to "blood of Jove," leads historians to believe it may date all the way back to the Etruscan period, though historical mentions only go as far back as the early 1700s. Though planted all over modern Italy, the most significant wines made from Sangiovese still come from Tuscany: Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. Sangiovese must make up 75% of a blend from the Chianti DOCG t be labeled as such, traditionally allowing for Canaiolo, Trebbiano and Malvasia for the remainder, though more recently small proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot have been allowed. In Brunello di Montalcino the wine must be made entirely of Sangiovese. Prugnolo is Montepulciano's name for Sangiovese, and it is used there for the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines. In the DOC of Carmignano Sangiovese can be blended with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. There are also Super Tuscans, IGT wines that blend Sangiovese with large proportions of Cabernet or Merlot. Elsewhere in Italy it is a workhorse grape, though it does find some success (though not the longevity) in the Montefalco and Torgiano wines of Umbria as well as the foundation of Rosso Piceno and a significant element of Rosso Conero from the Marches. Like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese has struggled to find footing outside of Italy, though in recent years California wineries have been having better fortune with grape plantings in the Sierra Foothills/El Dorado County, as well as Sonoma County and the Central Coast.

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.