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Community Tasting Notes (10) Avg Score: 94.8 points

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  • By Stephen Tanzer
    New Releases from Washington: A Bonanza for Consumers (Dec 2019), 12/1/2019, (See more on Vinous...)

    (Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Washington Red) Login and sign up and see review text.

Full Pull

  • By Paul Zitarelli
    Full Pull Leonetti, 3/24/2019

    (Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon) Hello friends. Today we have one of our annual Full Pull rites: new releases from the inimitable Leonetti Cellars. Deep in the stubborn gloom of March, it’s a bud pushing through cold earth: a clear indication that spring is on the ascendancy. It’s one of my favorite offers to write each year. After all, it isn’t every day that you get to write about the grand dame of the Walla Walla Valley, the founding winery in that AVA that quickly became one of Washington’s few cult producers. Founded in 1978 by Gary Figgins, Leonetti rapidly established a reputation as one of Washington’s top Cabernet and Merlot producers, helped along by their 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon being recognized as best in nation in a Wine & Spirits Magazine blind tasting. Brisk mailing list sales followed, and soon thereafter, the mailing list closed and the waiting list opened. Currently it’s the second generation helming the winery, in the form of Chris Figgins. Chris has subtly shifted the emphasis of the winery towards its estate vineyards over the past decade, and the results have been outstanding. I have also been lucky enough to taste vintages of Leonetti wines from the ‘80s and ‘90s, as well as plenty of more recent vintages. These are wines that can age in profoundly beautiful directions (if you can resist their youthful charms). The transition to Leonetti’s second generation is just about complete, and the future for this Mt. Rushmore-level Washington winery looks bright indeed. Now, a quick logistics reminder: This is a pre-release offering, where we’re sending the offer before we know our allocations. Using this model allows us to advocate on behalf of our list for allocations that most accurately reflect our overall demand. The flip side is: some pre-release offerings turn out to be mirage wines: wines where we end up receiving smaller-than-expected allocations and then need to under-allocate. Apologies in advance if that’s the case here. As far as timing goes, we should be able to send out allocation notices in 1-2 weeks (orders will remain Pending until then), and the wines should arrive by mid-April. Now let’s dig into them: First produced in Leonetti’s inaugural vintage – 1978 – this 2016 marks the 39th consecutive vintage of Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon. This comes from all five Leonetti Estate sites: Mill Creek Upland, Loess, Leonetti Old Block, Serra Pedace (location here, on the basalt outcroppings of Sevein), and Holy Roller (pic here), Leonetti’s new Rocks vineyard, just online with the 2016 vintage; exciting!). The blend includes 13% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, and 2% Merlot, and it spent 22 months in new French oak barrels, once-filled French oak barrels, and neutral French oak barrels and botti. Listed alc is 14.4%. No reviews yet for the 2015, but the 2012 received 96pts Dunnuck, the 2013 96pts Dunnuck, the 2014 96pts Bargreen, and the 2015 97pts Suckling and 96pts Dunnuck. Winery tasting notes: Penetratingly dark. Exhibiting a wonderfully complex nose of dried rosemary, sage, and lavender with subtle aromas of coffee and toffee. Remarkably refined with fantastic secondary notes – unusual in a wine this young. Delicious plum and blackberry saturate the palate and lead to a long and lush finish with soft tannins – truly emblematic of the delightful 2016 vintage.

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