2009 Leonetti Walla Walla Valley Merlot

SKU #1069670 94 points Wine Enthusiast

 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. (PG)  (9/2011)

93 points 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. (JM)  (8/2011)

92 points Wine Spectator

 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. (HS)  (9/2011)

90 points Vinous

 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? Chris Figgins notes that very hot weather from mid-June to July was harder on the merlot in 2009 than it was on the cabernet sauvignon, and that the merlot struggled to achieve physiological ripeness. (ST) 90+?  (11/2011)

K&L Notes

Leonetti Cellar belongs in the pantheon of Washington wine pioneers, planting grapes and making stellar wines in Washington's Walla Walla Valley since the 1970s when no one else really was. The wines are always extremely sought after, especially after they're reviewed, so it's always good get your hands on some before they becomes 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.

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Price: $79.99
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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.


- 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.