2013 Leonetti Walla Walla Valley Sangiovese

SKU #1245218 92 points Vinous

 (bottled in July of 2015): Bright red-ruby. Redcurrant, raspberry, spices and a whiff of leather on the perfumed, high-toned nose and palate; very Sangiovese. Captivating, savory wine that combines a creaminess in the mid-palate with a very firm tannic spine and terrific finishing grip. Lovely New World Sangiovese with character. 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)

K&L Notes

Winemaker notes: "Every year I realize that Sangiovese, besides being my favorite grape to cultivate, is a variety that qualitatively respects vine age and thus expresses its beauty finer every year. As our vines now average almost 20 years in age, the resultant wines are becoming extraordinary. The ’13 is loaded with cranberry, black cherry, pomegranate, and notes of white tea. The palate is so incredibly refreshing and will complement almost any food. My favorite thing about Sangiovese is how it is able to possess power with levity…a quality I find in all the finest wines of the world and constantly pursue in my own wines."

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Varietal:

Sangiovese

- 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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

Washington

- 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.