Leonetti Cellar Reserve 2009
Impenetrably dark magenta. A beautiful and precise nose of graham cracker, mixed high-tone florals, ripe fruit, and hints of honey. Palate is silky smooth, incredibly dense and plush, loaded with ripe fruit and butressed by fine grained tannin and a very long finish. Simply pleasurable to sit on the palate. Overall this wine is more youthfully restrained than the Cabernet with laser focus and purity. I think this wine will really blossom over the next five years and reward as much cellaring as its owner is willing to allow.
The wine known simply as Leonetti 2009 Reserve is, in fact, 92% Cabernet Sauvignon (the rest Merlot), a major departure from the norm of two-thirds to three quarters established in its previous eleven vintages (other exceptions being 2000 and 2001 when the Cabernet share dipped to less than half). Interestingly, too, Petit Verdot vines have contributed a significant share of each earlier Reserve bottling since their first crop, 2000, but this year dropped out on account of having been hit by the late frost. While at 14.7% virtually identical in alcohol to the corresponding Cabernet Sauvignon bottling, this 2009 Reserve comes off as significantly fuller-bodied. It also misses the vibrancy of its ostensibly lesser sibling. "For the reserve," notes Chris Figgins, "we look for lots that are more backward and brooding," and he certainly was rewarded this year. Ripe, lightly-confitured cassis and mulberry are mingled with toasted nuts, peat, and dark Burley tobacco. High-toned suggestions of camphor, mint, and gentian distillate emerge with aeration. The amplitude and sheer fruit intensity here comes along with a palpable if well-coated tannic undergirding; and the finish splendidly soothes and sustains. The longer this was open to the air, the greater its appeal; and I'm only sorry I could not follow it for a second day. Look for at least 15 years of profound pleasure not to mention persistent contrast with the corresponding Cabernet bottling.Score: 95. —David Schildknecht, December 2012.
Leonetti's 2009 Reserve-92% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Merlot-is a simpler blend than in past vintages, and it seems to mark a return to the style of wine that built the winery's reputation initially. Powerfully, lavishly oaky, with a ripe, chewy black-fruit flavor, it is bursting with notes of black cherry, cassis, dark chocolate and a hint of butter. Though not quite as graceful or detailed as the regular Cabernet, this is the more potently expressive of the two flagship Leonetti reds.Score: 94. —Paul Gregutt, September 01, 2012.
Supple, lithe and distinctive for its red berry and fresh red pepper flavors, weaving in mint and dried herb notes as the finish persists against fine tannins. This has an aristocratic feel. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2013 through 2017. 1,060 cases made.Score: 92. —Harvey Steiman, October 15, 2012.
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