*Cellar Selection* A classic take on Merlot--this is 100% varietal, and was aged for 15 months in new and neutral French oak barrels and botti. The flavors move through strawberry, raspberry and Bing cherry, with great breadth of flavor and texture throughout. The midpalate is concentrated and full, with a fine, lingering, superclean finish. (PG)
The Leonetti 2010 Merlot - which, unlike any preceding vintage save for 2000 and 2008, was blended with no other variety - offers a perfect validation of Chris Figgins's intention to render a serious, self-standing wine from this grape capable of starring in Washington if given the right, sufficiently clay-rich and thermally temperate sort of site. Fresh dark cherry and purple plum already announced in the nose take on a delightful primary juiciness and invigoratingly tart fruit skin edge on a fine-grained palate. This is so exuberantly juicy and saliva-stimulating in its long, lip-smacking finish - a feature no doubt enhanced by bottling after only 14 months in barrique, and justifying the release of Leonetti Merlots a year ahead of their other wines - that you can't possibly take just one sip. Piquant fruit pit, crushed stone, and peat add interest and stimulation to an energetic yet lusciously ripe and richly-textured effort whose longevity will, I predict, surprise most wine lovers (perhaps even its authors?) and extend for more than a dozen years. The intended Merlot self-sufficiency on exhibit here is furthered by Figgins' increasing reliance on grapes from their relatively cool, long-ripening Mill Creek Upland Vineyard, with fruit from Seven Hills or Loess more apt to end up being selectively blended into their other reds or sold off. (DS)
Shows real presence and depth, offering a vibrant package of red berry, cherry and black currant, with hints of licorice and herbs as the finish lingers impressively. Cellaring should soften the raw feel and make this something special. Best from 2015 through 2020. (HS)
Bright ruby-red. Blackberry and licorice on the nose. Densely packed and vibrant but backward, with terrific cut and penetration to the black fruit and licorice flavors. Finishes with firm tannins and excellent black fruit persistence. Chris Figgins describes 2010 as "a perfect year, like 2005, requiring no acidification." This structured and very promising Merlot will need patience, and may well merit an even higher rating down the road. 91+ (ST)
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