2016 Leonetti Cellar Merlot

Year: 2016
Appellation: Walla Walla Valley
Country: USA - Washington
Wine Spectator: 92
Wine Advocate: 93
Vinous Media: 92+
James Suckling: 95
Jeb Dunnuck: 93
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.3%
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100% Merlot

"Combines a sense of sleek elegance with a refined structure, featuring expressive black cherry and smoky spice overtones that take on richness toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2024. -T.F" (WS)

"The 2016 Walla Walla Merlot (which contains 5% Cabernet Franc) is showing very well already, offering up a lavish bouquet of juicy cherries, crème de cassis, pencil lead and subtle spice. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, supple and open-knit, with a generous core of succulent primary fruit and a youthfully chewy finish. It should drink well for a decade." (WA)

"(from higher-elevation vines in Seven Hills): Bright dark red. Aromas of crushed berries, licorice and mint. Quite penetrating and classically dry on the palate, with its berry and bitter chocolate flavors complicated by a subtle spicy, smoky character. Not a thick wine but energetic and incisive, showing excellent definition for Merlot and finishing with attractive floral lift. This wine may not possess the fruit sweetness of the superb 2015 but it should reward aging. In fact, Chris Figgins predicts that it will be at its best in eight to ten years." (VM)

"Intense aromas of blueberries, blackberries and black olives with some graphite follow through to a full body. Ultra-fine tannins and a savory finish. Needs time to soften but already shows class and finesse. Drink in 2020 and onwards." (JS)

"I always love the Merlot from Chris and the 2016 Merlot (there’s 5% Cabernet Franc) is no exception. Deep purple-colored and loaded with notions of black cherries, plums, leafy herbs, and graphite, it offers medium to full-bodied richness, bright yet integrated acidity and a great finish. It's a fresh and lively Merlot that I suspect will keep for 10-15 years.

This was another terrific lineup from winemaker Chris Figgins, who never seems to miss a step. Both of his Cabernet Sauvignon releases are brilliant wines that check-in near the top of the vintage, but readers also shouldn’t miss his straight Merlot and Sangiovese." (JD)

Winery Notes:
This 100% Merlot pours inky into the glass. The nose is deep and intricate with top note florals lifting it higher as it opens. Tightly focused, the wine saturates the palate with dense blue and black fruits that linger endlessly. An immensely pleasurable wine, it possesses all the attributes that make Walla Walla one of the world’s premier places to grow Merlot.