A few weeks back I was fortunate enough to spend the afternoon talking wine with superstar winemaker Chris Figgins as we both share a mutual love for Arsenal football club and world class wine. Chris has been working very hard with his Toil Oregon project and has a killer new Toil lineup. The new Leonetti wines are really world-class, across the board. One of the great houses in Washington, Leonetti sources from some top Walla Walla vineyards including their own Leonetti Old Block, as well as Mill Creek Upland and Loess vineyards. The new wines are sourced from warm vintages. 2015 was a vintage in particular that saw major heat spikes in the Walla Walla valley. Chris talked about how the higher elevation sites that he sources from help protect the vines from the high temperatures. The elevation also helps impact the acidity of the grapes through marvelous diurnal shifts from day to night.
One of the best Washington Merlot wines that I have sampled in the past year is their new 2016 Leonetti Cellar Merlot (WWB, 95) which shows an incredible combination of weight, mouthfeel, acidity and deep flavors. This is an absolutely irresistible Merlot. Even better is the 2015 Leonetti Cellar ‘Reserve’ Red Wine (WWB, 96) which is incredibly layered, rich and shows a vibrant minerality. This wine has a marvelous sense of place and purity. Learn more about these marvelous wines at http://leonetticellar.com Here are the gorgeous new wines by Leonetti Cellar.
2015 Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese- The Sangiovese by Leonetti is 100% Brunello clone and was sourced from Loess, as well as Mill Creek Upland Vineyards. The wine was aged in 100% French oak prior to bottling. The nose is distinctly oaky with beautiful red cherry and cran-pomegranate aromatics on the nose. The mouthfeel here is wonderful, with great tension and richness. There is a very intriguing combination of red and dark fruits on the palate with a touch of blood orange rind. Seductive and rich, showing some mild tannins, this gorgeous effort will drink marvelously over the next fifteen years. Try to resist this beautiful wine for at least another year. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2016 Leonetti Cellar Merlot- Aged for fifteen months in barrel, the wine was sourced from Mill Creek Upland, Loess and Figgins vineyards. This deep colored wine begins with a gorgeous bouquet. Dark cherry candy, mocha and creme de cassis fills the nose. There is wonderful tension int he wine as the it slowly reveals deep dark cherry, blackberry cobbler, and mocha flavors. This finishes extremely long with dark fruits and minerals. Superstar winemaker Chris Figgins has crafted another stunning release here that is up there with the best in the state. Drink 2019-2035- 95
2015 Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon- This hot vintage Cabernet Sauvignon is a glass-staining purple. The nose is highly seductive as this displays gobs of dark fruits with milk chocolate and toasty oak overtones. The minerality of this wine shines, as does the deep dark cherry cordial, creme de casis, milk chocolate and coffee ground flavors that sit alongside the lovely minerality. Intense, layered and highly complex with light tannins towards the back end, this gorgeous wine will cellar marvelously over the next twenty years. Try to resist this beautiful wine at least for another year. Drink 2019-2040- 95
2015 Leonetti ‘Reserve’ Red Wine- Superstar winemaker Chris Figgins has crafted another stunning ‘Reserve; bottling with his 2015 Leonetti ‘Reserve’ Red Wine. Figgins has crafted this wine from what he considers to be the best barrels of the best lots at Leonetti Cellar. Figgins mentioned that he particularly liked the Petit Verdot from this vintage. Blueberry compote, blackberry preserves, mocha and creme de cassis fills the nose. There is also a light black tea and pipe tobacco essence showing aromatically. The rich texture is truly outstanding. Blackberry compote, blueberry cordial, mocha, creme de cassis and anise flavors entice. Balanced and ultra-rich, this is another truly outstanding effort by Leonetti Cellar that needs at least two more years of bottle age to fully reach its drinking potential. Drink 2020-2040- 96
2013 Leonetti ‘Serra Pedace Vineyard’ Aglianico- Sourced from a high elevation site, this was the latest varietal to be picked by Leonetti in 2013. Aged in a combination of clay amphorae and oak puncheons, the wine is one of the only Aglianico plantings in Washington. The nose is intense and highly perfumed with dried sage, toasty oak, blackberry pie, dusty earth and mocha. The mouthfeel here is truly outstanding as the wine slowly unveils black tea, wild blackberry pie, coffee grounds and dusty tannins towards the back end. Give this at least another year in the bottle for the tannins to fully settle. Drink 2019-2035- 93