One of the great historic Washington wineries, Leonetti Cellar was founded by eminent winemaker Gary Figgins in 1977. At the time he was the first Washington winery to by highly acclaimed as his 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon was named top Cabernet of the year by Wine & Spirits magazine. I have been enchanted with the aging potential of these wines over the year. I’ve tried several aged Leonetti wines over the past year and several stand out in particular: the 2002 Leonetti Sangiovese was incredibly vibrant for its age, the 2006 Leonetti Merlot was showing marvelously and has a long life ahead of it and the 2009 Leonetti Merlot is soft, round and generous at now ten years of age.
I recently had the chance to review the new set of releases by Leonetti and was completely blown away with the quality in the bottle. For those who are a bit less familiar, Leonetti sources from great Walla Walla vineyards including their own Leonetti Old Block, as well as Mill Creek Upland, Loess vineyards and their Holly Roller Vineyard in the Walla Walla Rocks AVA. Their new releases were largely from the warm 2016 vintage — a vintage that I have seen carry some impressive red wines thus far in my reviewing.
I was absolutely blown away with the 2016 Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese (WWB, 95) as this is one of the best Sangiovese releases from this house and rivals any new world Sangiovese wine. I think you would very hard pressed to find a better new world example of this varietal with its earthy tones and remarkable richness and texture. Even better was the scintillating 2016 Leonetti Cellar‘Reserve’ Red Wine (WWB, 97) which has amazing richness and intensity. This wine is only an infant and really needs a few more years of bottle age. Learn more about these beautiful new release wines at http://leonetticellar.com Here are the impressive new lineup of wines from Leonetti Cellar.
2016 Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese- The 2016 Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese was sourced from the Seven Hills, Loess, Mill Creek Upland and Holly Roller vineyards. The wine was aged in French oak for 22 months prior to bottling. Toasty oak wraps around copious dark fruits, red fruits and pipe tobacco on the rather intoxicating nose. The palate is exceedingly plush, revealing a beautiful texture and a soft mouthfeel. The earthy undertones of leather and underbrush combine marvelously with roasted dates, pipe tobacco and wild blackberry cobbler flavors on the palate. Round, generous and layered, this is quite simply the finest of its kind in Washington. Enjoy this beautiful new wine over the next fifteen plus years. Drink 2019-2035- 95
2017 Leonetti Cellar Merlot- A downright stunning new Merlot, the 2017 Leonetti Cellar Merlot was aged for fifteen months in French oak prior to bottling. Needing more than a one hour decant to fully develop, the wine shows intense dark fruits that mingle with chocolate fudge and black tea with Asian spices on the nose. The palate has a great combination of freshness and richness as Earl Grey tea, mocha, cassis, graphite and leather flavors all combine marvelously alongside a good sense of minerality. While simply gorgeous now, this beautiful wine will evolve well over the next fifteen to twenty years. If enjoying in its youth, be sure to give this beautiful Merlot at least an hour decant. Drink 2020-2040- 95
2016 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon is a simply irresistible new wine made by superstar winemaker Chris Figgins. Sourced from the Mill Creek Upland, Loess, Seven Hills, Serra Pedache and Holly Roller VIneyards, the wine is a silky blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller portions Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Showing off its brooding core, the 2016 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon opens with sagebrush with red bell pepper, Turkish coffee, and dark chocolate shavings. The palate shows incredible richness with a silky mouthfeel. Blackberry cobbler, creme de cassis, anise, graphite and exotic spice flavors with toasty oak all mingle brilliantly on the palate. A long-ager, be sure to give this beautiful wine at least a two hour decant if savoring in its early years. This is truly one of the best of its kind in Washington. Drink 2020-2040- 96
2016 Leonetti Cellar ‘Reserve’ Red Wine- The 2016 ‘Reserve’ Red Wine is a magnificent new release by Leonetti Cellar. Sourced from the Loess, Seven Hills, Holly Roller, Serra Pedace, Mill Creek Upland and Leonetti Old Block Vineyards, the red blend was aged for 22 months in French oak before bottling. The final blend is a smaller than usual portion of Cabernet Sauvignon (73%) and an unusually high portion of Malbec (22%) with just a touch of Cabernet Franc (5%). This wine needs a two hour decant before enjoying. Once aroused, this slowly unveils green bell pepper, blueberry compote, creme de cassis and sagebrush tones that fill this highly perfumed nose. The palate is decadent, revealing an exceedingly plush texture. With bright acidity and serious weight, the wine expresses copious dark fruits with sweet pipe tobacco, blueberry compote and dark chocolate shaving flavors. Seductive in its youth, this stunning new bottling will have an exceedingly long life ahead of it. Try to resist this beauty for at least another year. Drink 2020-2045- 97