Leonetti Cellar Merlot 2018
|United States, Washington, Walla Walla Valley
"A beautiful, layered red with blackberries, violets and chocolate. It’s full-bodied, yet agile and driven. Such balance and harmony. Lovely length. Drinkable now, but better in 2022." James Suckling 96 points Drink 2022-32
Already bottled, the 2018 Merlot comes from a mix of vineyards in Walla Walla (Loess, Mill Creek, and Leonetti) and spent 15 months in new and once-used French oak. Juicy, vibrant, and pure, yet also with plenty of power, it is loaded with ripe currants and black cherry fruit as well as notes of chocolate, leafy herbs, and graphite. Rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, with ripe tannins, it's a rocking Merlot that's going to benefit from just a year or two of bottle age and drink brilliantly for 8-10 years.
Bright ruby-red. Musky aromas of cassis, blackberry, bitter chocolate and cocoa powder; shows some almost liqueur-like ripe notes as well as a menthol hint. Enters the mouth with good density and chocolatey sweetness, with harmonious acidity framing and energizing the dark berry-dominated middle palate. Conveys a sense of controlled sweetness. This very suave, seamless wine boasts lovely definition of flavor, purity and lift, with ripe acidity contributing to the impression of energy. Tannins are fine-grained and suave, and the long finish features captivating rising violet perfume and a repeating note of dark chocolate. Not quite as tightly wound as the '17 was last year, but this splendid example of Washington Merlot is an energetic, seriously structured wine for at least mid-term aging.
This wine is 100% varietal-what a glorious example of Merlot. Aromas of dark-raspberry compote, plum, dark chocolate and cedar are followed by textured, layered, rich flavors that a firm spine of tannins stands up. Lovely acidity brightens it.
Beginning with a heady nose of spiced plum and Chambord notes, the 2018 Walla Walla Merlot pops out of the glass with dark cherry reduction and purple flowers. Full-bodied, the palate is generous with the red spice and potpourri elements. The wine's robustness offers gobs of pleasure but is not as complex as the rest of the range. The Merlot ends with a long, lingering finish with spiced plum notes.