2014 Leonetti Walla Walla Valley Merlot

SKU #1245217 92 points Vinous

 (from Loess and Mill Creek Upland): Bright ruby-red. Deep, liqueur-like griotte cherry, wild herb and licorice aromas lifted by a slightly high-toned floral element. A lushly fruity, fine-grained fruit bomb on the palate, gaining creaminess with time in the glass. This wine has a pH of 3.52 following a bit of acidification. As sexy as it already is, the tannins currently impinge a bit on the finishing fruit, so I'd wait a year or two. Merlot for Pinot lovers. Chris Figgins described 2013 and 2014 as "pretty much identical vintages, although 2014 was a more even growing season, with fewer heat spikes." Both vintages, he said, had "good acidity considering their warmth. The 2013s are a bit angular while the "14s are more user-friendly wines." Incidentally, Figgins told me that he's not afraid to water back his musts in hot years, "but not with Seven Hills fruit, which typically matures in terms of flavor and phenolics at fairly low sugars so it's not necessary." Figgins added that Seven Hills fruit shows "a more feminine profile" that he believes would be damaged by any dilution. (ST)  (6/2016)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Dense, with cherry and herbal overtones wrapped in firm, fine, peppery tannins, swerving into a long, expressive finish. Needs time to soften the edges. Best from 2018 through 2023.  (5/2016)

K&L Notes

From the producer: "Placing one’s nose into a glass of this year’s Merlot results in an immediate smile. It leads with a gorgeous pure fruit nose of compote reduction and graham cracker that jump from the glass. It is so rich, lush, and pure. It is a positively delicious wine that I cannot help but drink more of today, but will easily age 10+ years for those of you who enjoy cellaring wines. This is everything Merlot wants to and can be in Washington State."

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Price: $70.99
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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.