Leonetti Reserve 2009
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.
Bright red-ruby. Cassis, chocolate, cocoa powder and enticing oak tones on the nose. Opulent and layered on the palate, with a hint of chocolatey merlot adding sweetness to the creamy dark berry flavors. Most impressive today on the very long finish, which features thoroughly ripe, very broad tannins that are already in harmony with the wine's lush fruit. This will be a knockout early and has the stuffing and balance for a graceful evolution in bottle. It's hard to imagine that a wine like this will ever go through a dumb stage.
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.
With its core of dark fruit and a polished impression of oak, Leonetti's classical approach to its Reserve bottling works well in a power vintage like 2009. It leads with scents of violets and black plum, the flavors taking on a warm-weather tone of roasted cherries and grilled figs. This is built for the cellar, and once it emerges, for a steak.
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.