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1999 Leonetti Columbia Valley Merlot

SKU #992942 94 points Wine Enthusiast

 For more than two decades, Merlot has been the signature wine for Leonetti. This year’s version is dense and tannic. The immediate impression is of charcoal, ash and black cherries. As the wine opens up there are spices (black pepper, anise, bay leaf), roasted nuts, lush tannins and more fruits — berries, cherries and plums. Though young, tight and still tannic, with several hours breathing time this extraordinary Merlot begins to smooth out the rough edges and show its best stuff.  (10/2001)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Seductive for its balance, with ripe flavor and gentle texture. Firm tannins support lively berry and currant fruit, which echo beautifully on the finish, along with subtle shadings of black pepper and cedar. The fruit prevails and just sings on.  (10/2001)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Roses, spices, violets, juniper berries, vanilla, as well as candied raspberries and cherries can be found in the aromatics of the 1999 Merlot. This medium to dark ruby-colored wine has juicy, well-focused layers of spicy cherries, cinnamon, blackberries, and cassis in its well-delineated, concentrated, and long-finishing personality. (PR)  (10/2001)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-red. Complex aromas of raspberry, cranberry, coffee, chocolate and pepper. Then lush and pliant in the mouth, but kept firm by edgy, slightly tart acidity. Opens out nicely on the back end without losing its shape. Perhaps a bit disjointed today, but built to age. (ST)  (9/2001)

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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.


- 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.