Sunday, May 2, 2021

Spring Valley 2013 Blends - Uriah vs Frederick

Spring Valley Vineyard 2013 Walla Walla Valley Red Wine Bordeaux Blends - Uriah vs Frederick 

Alec bach'ing it for the weekend joined us for dinner with friend AJ in from FLL for a golf weekend. Linda grilled beef tenderloin with scalloped potatoes and asparagus. I sought a red wine blend for the occasion and pulled from the cellar this interesting pair of related wines. Two red wine blends from Spring Valley Vineyards in Walla Walla from the same vintage, this provided a comparative tasting of different blends of the same fruit in a mini-horizontal tasting.

Spring Valley Vineyard Uriah is a Right Bank Bordeaux Blend, meaning it is Merlot based like those from the northeastern or right bank of the Gironde River. Spring Valley Frederick is a Left Bank Bordeaux Blend in the style of wines from the left bank or from the south west of the river based primarily on the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. 

This release of Uriah is 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec while the Frederick is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc & 10% Merlot. Being from the same producer from the same vintage, they are comprised of the same fruits with different formulations of Bordeaux varietals. 

We tasted and acquired these wines during our visit to the tasting room and vineyards during our Spring Valley Vineyards Tasting and Vineyard Visit as part of our appellation visit to the Walla Walla (Washington) wine region in 2018. There we had the privilege of meeting Dean Derby, husband of Sharilee Corkrum Derby, who is daughter of Frederick and grand-daughter of Uriah Corkrum who are featured on these labels. 

I've featured in these pages the portfolio of Spring Valley wines with each label featuring a member of three generations of the Corkrum family reaching back to first generation founding producers Uriah and wife Nina Lee. 

Hiding in plain sight ... interesting that in all the years we've been collecting the complete portfolio of Spring Valley wines, I've never noticed that on the capsule, there is a letter designating which label it is, 'U' for Uriah, 'F' for Frederick and so on . 

Only when I was pulling bottles with the distinctive Spring Valley foil to determine their version did I suddenly notice and realize this is the case. While not seeming to be a big deal, it is when one has a half dozen vintages of six different labels - U-Uriah, F-Frederick, N-NinaLee (Syrah), M-Muleskinner Merlot, D-Derby (Cabernet Sauvignon), K-Katherine (Cabernet Franc), and S-Sherrilee (Petit Verdot).

 With dinner,  Linda also served Ceasar Salad, a selection of artisan cheeses and medley of Greek olives. The black Greek olives were an amazing pairing with these wines, especially the Uriah.

Spring Valley Vineyard Uriah Walla Walla Valley Red Wine 2013

So, there is some irony of this being a play on a father-son wine as it has some extra significance besides those featured on the two labels. When the 2010 vintage received a Top 100 #27 in the Wine Spect0ator Top 100 ranking for the year, it suddenly disappeared from merchant stocks. Son Alec picked up a half case on the east coast and brought it home for Christmas that year. 
Several years later, tonight, this 2013 vintage is the oldest release we hold in our cellar of these two wines so we pulled them as part of cellar management, drinking the oldest vintages as we cycle through the half dozen vintage releases in our cellar, replacing the oldest with the newest. 

Being a blend of five Bordeaux varietals, this was more complex than the 'simpler' Frederick with only three. I often compare the profile of blended wines to their width and depth - imagine a bar chart with five bars vs one with three.

This release was awarded 93 points by Wine Spectator,  92 points Vinous and Wine Enthusiast. 

Vinous in their review also mentioned both labels in their review,  "Incidentally, this wine and the Frederick are Spring Valley's most important bottlings, with about 3,000 cases of each produced.

The Merlot base exudes smoothness while the Cabernet Franc spiciness shines through. This was dark garnet colored, medium full bodied, Wine Spectator called it 'broad and expressive', black berry and black raspberry fruits accented by pepper, spice, black olive and notes of black olive, expresso and green herbs turning to fine grained tannins on a lingering finish. 

RM 90 points.

Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick Walla Walla Valley Red Wine 2013

As noted above, this label features a member of the Corkrum family, farmers and growers of Spring Valley Vineyards. Frederick was second generation son of Uriah and father of Sharilee Corkrum, current Matriarch of the family. 

As noted above, this is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon which provided a much more expressive, brighter, deeper and bolder fruit profile, while deeper, its not as 'wide' or complex as the Uriah above. 

Similar tasting profile to the above wine, as expected considering the similarities of the core fruits - Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot. 

Same dark garnet color and medium full body, bright expressive black berry and black currant fruits are accented by some red fruits, herb notes and hints of black olive tapenade. 

RM 91 points for its brighter more vibrant fruits.