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2006 Leonetti Cellars Merlot Columbia Valley
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91 Points | Stephen Tanzer's IWC - November/December 2008

($65) Good bright red-ruby. Candied red fruits, pomegranate and spices on the nose. Then sweet, silky and generous, with lovely concentration and sappiness to the dark berry and brown spice flavors. A very smooth, bright fruit bomb of a merlot, finishing with sweet flavors of cassis, black cherry and pomegranate. Aged in 65% new oak, but the American oak component was limited to used barrels. I find this more pliant at the same age than the 2005 release. For his part, Chris Figgins describes the 2005 merlot as big, but noted that he picked cabernet sauvignon a full degree Brix lower than usual in 2005, as the fruit got phenolically ripe early.

91 Points | Wine Spectator

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Merlot enjoyed a surge in popularity in the 1990s as consumers suddenly discovered that they could enjoy aromas and flavors similar to those of Cabernet in a fleshier, softer wine with smoother tannins. A wave of Merlot plantings followed, frequently in soils and microclimates completely inappropriate for this variety, and the market was soon...
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