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Review: Mannina Cellars Winery


If you're looking for evidence of things changing out at the Walla Walla airport, then look no further than Mannina Cellars. This winery is located on a street containing several newly constructed buildings housing some upstart winemakers in the valley. The backdrop of wheat fields and the Blue Mountains just behind this stretch of wineries is just beautiful.

On the Sunday afternoon I visited, a Walla Walla Community College eunology student was working in the tasting room, pouring a merlot and a red blend with no tasting fees attached. I was impressed when the young woman behind the counter offered up the story behind Mannina's "Cali" wine without my asking about it. Now that's good beyond the bottle training.

I liked the design of this winery (e.g., windows into the barrel room) and the personal touch of founder/winemaker Don Redmon's family portrait hanging on the wall. On another wall was the portrait of Rose Cali, Don's grandmother, who serves as the namesake of his Cali blend, a bottle I purchased as a result of my visit.

Overall, it was a pleasant visit, although I had hoped for more than two wines to taste. Guess it was bad timing, as I see quite a few more Mannina Cellars wines have been released. This winery is worth a visit the next time you're in Walla Wall.

And you've got to try Don's sangiovese, a delicious approach to what I think is Washington's next best grape. Best of all, Don seems to go easy on the oak, allowing the fruit to express itself unadulterated with balanced acidity making this a very food-friendly wine. I look forward to trying his 2007 vintage of this variety.


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