A New Twist to a Standard Blend: Mannina Cellars Cali Red

Good evening, my fellow wine enthusiasts!  Grad school has been taking it’s toll around here, so I decided I needed to sit  back and enjoy a glass of wine.  And while I was at it, right up a review!  The biggest challenge came in finding what to open tonight.  I have few Washington wines downstairs I haven’t reviewed yet.  However, there was one little gem I came across.  I recalled the winery, but could not recall anything about the wine itself.  Perfect!   Mannina Cellars from the Walla Walla Valley of Washington state.  Whether it is true or not, I have always had the impression of this being a small mom-and-pop winery, something that really appeals to me.  I suppose many could argue being such an operation, though.  I do support locally owned businesses!

My husband and I came across Mannina Cellars during our last weekend getaway over the summer to Leavenworth, Washington. Haven’t been there?  I do highly recommend making a night or two of it. Beautifully set in the Cascades, lots of quaint shops, many wine rooms (of course!), and all set up Bavaria-style.  The food is great, the wine: fantastic!  Anyway, Mannina Cellars was new for us, and as it turned out, they had in fact, just opened up their Leavenworth tasting room a few short months before we arrived.  Up for review tonight: the 2010 Cali Red Blend.

Many red blends are composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with an occasional third (fourth, fifth, etc.) varietal thrown in.  Mannina Cellars Cali Red Blend does have Cabernet Sauvignon (54%) and Merlot (38%).  It may be the seemingly small amount of Sangiovese (8%) that gives this wine it’s wonderful uniqueness.  Right out of the gate, this blend is pleasantly surprising.  Before I could detect any specific aromas, the first thing I noticed was what appeared to be a brightness to the wine.  Yes, brightness, a word I generally use to describe floral white wines, never a red wine.  I detect notes of plum, perhaps fig, and a slight hint of raspberries.  The sip follows through with a blend of plum and fig; it is bright, the acidity is light.  With heavy floral tones and a light touch of pepper on the finish, this (lighter) medium bodied wine is quite enjoyable, nicely balanced.

2010 Cali Red Blend $22

I notice in my own tasting I don’t detect any of the “typical” flavors of Cabernet or Merlot: I am not picking up leather, or earth; no blueberries or chocolate.  I don’t live in the Walla Walla area, nor have I had many wines from this area, so I really can’t say for sure, but my personal experience has been “floral” and “pepper” to be some key characteristics of Walla Walla wines.  These characteristics, I feel, are what set this wine apart from many others.

Mannina Cellars 2010 Cali Red Blend:   ★★★★  Great wine!!

For general retail purchase, I am not certain how easy this wine will be to find.  In Spokane, I have yet to come across any of the Mannina wines in any store.  As I mentioned above, we purchased this wine directly from their tasting room.  If you are really wanting to give it a try yourself, visit them online at:  The Cali Red Blend retails for $22, and is certainly worth the price.  I recalled the gentleman at the tasting room telling us Mannina Cellars makes red wine only, and I noticed this seems to be true when I was on their website.  We did try all of their wines, and I can say with certainty (according to my palate): Mannina Cellars does not make a bad wine!  While I don’t have other notes to share, I do recall having really enjoyed their 2011 Maddily Rose (a Mourvédre rosé) and the Sangiovese.  But their Merlot and the Roseanne’s Red should not be overlooked either.   If you ever find yourself in Leavenworth, or even at the winery itself, I highly recommend stopping in and giving Mannina Cellars a good part of your day!

Have you tried this wine before? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!


2 responses to “A New Twist to a Standard Blend: Mannina Cellars Cali Red

  1. Thanks for the nice write up! We are small, 2000 case/year and only use Walla Walla fruit. Our 2012 wines will all be Estate from our 29 acre vineyard, Cali Vineyards. Salute! Don

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