J.J. and Kelly Menozzi moved to the Walla Walla Valley after each served in the Air Force for two decades as pilots, and they have launched their new winery and vineyard they’ve planted near Mill Creek. Their debut release is this Left Bank-inspired blend that’s heavy on Cabernet Sauvignon (79%) from two nearby vineyards – Wild Rose and Yellow Bird – and they’ve named it for the Italian phrase for “first flight.” It takes off with aromas of blackberry, plum, toasted oak, cocoa powder and minerality. On the palate, there’s a smooth approach with blackberry and black cherry flavors, leading to a rich midpalate. Its expansive finish waves in coffee and baking spices. The Menozzis made their instructors at Walla Walla Community College proud by using this to earn a gold medal and best of class honors at the fourth annual Walla Walla Valley Wine Competition. And perhaps they celebrated with their suggested pairing of Penne with Braised Short Ribs.
Production: 209 cases