Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Leal Estate Vineyards 2004 Merlot, Unfiltered, Estate (San Benito)

Leal Estate Vineyards

2004 Merlot, Unfiltered, Estate
(San Benito)

Owner Frank Léal and winemaker Dave Griffith set up shop in the foothills of Central Coast’s Hollister in 1998, working around the clock to set up a 45-acre parcel with Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre vines. “Griff” sources oak from France, America, Hungary, Russia and China, incorporates various yeast strains to give more complexity to the wines, and bottles most of the Léal releases without filtration.

While San Benito has wide variations in elevation and soil types, it is, overall, a moderately warm growing climate giving wines with lavishly ripe fruit, with the high-elevation limestone-imbued Calera (Mount Harlan AVA) as a notable exception. Cooling breezes and fog from nearby Monterey Bay help to mitigate the heat and provide for a longer than normal growing season.

This warmer-origin Merlot does lose some of its structure and classic varietal markers that would be found in cooler areas such as Bordeaux or parts of the North Coast. Moderately saturated ruby with ripe strawberry cobbler, boysenberry, dark currant, framboise, and smoky notes, this opulent wine is creamy and silky with sweet ripe fruit and spicy oak.

Reviewed November 7, 2006 by Catherine Fallis.

Other reviewed wines from Leal Estate Vineyards


The Wine

Winery: Leal Estate Vineyards
Vineyard: Estate
Vintage: 2004
Wine: Merlot, Unfiltered
Appellation: San Benito
Grape: Merlot
Price: 750ml $24.00

Review Date: 11/7/2006

The Reviewer

Catherine Fallis

Founder and President of Planet Grape LLC, a company committed to bringing the joy of wine, food, and good living into the lives of everyday people, Catherine is creator of the “grape goddess guides to good living,” a series of books, television presentations, seminars, and e-learning programs. The fifth woman in the world to become a Master Sommelier, grape goddess Catherine Fallis is still very much down-to-earth.