Leonetti Cellar Merlot
Walla Walla Valley
The Wine Advocate: 94 points
The only 2013 I was able to taste from Leonetti, the 2013 Merlot (includes 8% Cabernet Franc) is a blockbuster from this team that’s certainly one of the best examples of this variety in the state. Giving up gorgeously pure notes of blackcurrants, licorice, charcoal and Asian spice, this medium to full-bodied beauty has a voluptuous, layered and seamless texture, building, fine tannin and a terrific finish. Seeing 15 months in new and once-used French oak (small barrels, puncheons and oval botti), it will have 20 years of longevity.
Wine Spectator: 92 points
Ripe and generous, though polished in texture, with cherry, apricot, floral and orange peel flavors, tinged by a smoky overtone as the finish extends. Drink now through 2019. 1,898 cases made.
Vinous Review: 91+ points
Healthy dark red with ruby highlights. Aromas of black and blue fruits are lifted by a violet scent and an exotic suggestion of white fruits. Silky-sweet and already attractive, but bracing acidity and a savory quality gives this superb Merlot the grip to blossom in bottle. Its dark fruit flavors are complicated by hints of tobacco leaf and game. Structured and firm for Walla Walla Merlot. This wine is normally an early drinker, says ??, but this 2013 has a firm tannic spine and bright acidity and is a bit less creamy in the early going. Interestingly, this wine came across as tight and tannic following the 2012 Sangiovese.
-- Stephen Tanzer