Friday, February 17, 2023

Uriah Spring Valley Red Blend 2015

 Uriah Spring Valley Vineyard Red Blend

Wife Linda's friends took her out to lunch for her birthday at local popular trattoria Gia Mia in Naperville. She brought back for me, take-out, one of my favorite dishes from there, their Meatballs al Forno, Veal Meatballs with Creamy Polenta and Roasted Tomato Sauce.

I picked up some artisan cheeses including Raclette cheese which was featured in our spectacular dinner the other night at 3-Michelin Star Alinea restaurant, that we were eager to try. 

For this favored meal combination, for a nice relaxed evening dinner together, I pulled from the cellar one of my favorite drinking Right Bank Bordeaux varietal blends from one of our favorite producers, Spring Valley Vineyards

We visited Spring Valley during our appellation visit to the Walla Walla (Washington) wine region in the fall of 2018. We visited the Spring Valley Vineyard tasting room in downtown Walla Walla, then ventured out to the vineyards and winery northeast of town. There, we met Dean Derby patriarch, and husband to Shari Corkrum Derby, grand-daughter of Uriah Corkrum, namesake for this label. Meeting Mr. Derby was one of the highlights of our Walla Walla Wine Experience, especially since he has since passed on. We posted a Tribute to Dean Derby and memorium of that visit - Spring Valley Vineyard toward the end of 2021. 

All of the Spring Valley wines are named for one of the ancestral or current family members. Spring Valley Vineyard wines are all produced from 100% estate-grown fruit, a relative rarity in Washington.

Washington State and regional powerhouse Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates purchased the winery and the brand from the Derby family recently, but they continue to own and operate the vineyards.

The complete lineup of Spring Valley wines featuring the family member labels is featured in a boxed set. Shown is our set commemorating the 2013 vintage releases.

Spring Valley Vineyards Uriah Red Blend 2015

The Spring Valley Vineyards adjacent to the
farmstead site
This label, Uriah, is named for the Spring Valley Vineyards founder Uriah Corkrum, grandfather of matriarch Shari Corkrum Derby. Born in Walla Walla on June 1, 1866, he began successfully farming on his own during the 1880s. Unusual summer rain kept him from getting his harvested wheat to the warehouse so he lost everything in the depression of 1893. He persevered and, in 1897, acquired land in the area known as Spring Valley that is the site of the vineyards today. Uriah is featured on the flagship label Uriah Spring Valley Red Blend. This is our favorite label from the Spring Valley portfolio. 

This is 100% sourced from Spring Valley Vineyards in the wind-shaped Palouse Hills 12 miles northeast of Walla Walla, amid the picturesque wheat fields of southeastern Washington and the Blue Mountains in the distance. The initial block of Merlot was planted in 1993 on a southern hillside facing southwest. The vines follow the north-south slope of the hills in vertical rows, an orientation that when combined with the declination of the slope, allows the vines to take optimal advantage of air drainage, sunshine, and the reflective nature of the surrounding wheat fields.

The 2015 vintage was one of the warmest growing seasons on record in Washington. Warm temperatures continued through the spring and summer, moderating slightly into fall and extending an early harvest. Overall, 2015 saw very favorable growing conditions, producing optimal ripening across varieties and yielding outstanding wines throughout the region.

This label, Uriah, is a Right Bank Bordeaux Blend, meaning it is predominantly Merlot based rather than Cabernet, complemented by Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This release has a high percentage of Cabernet Franc which provides spiciness and bright flavor sprites.

This 2015 release is a blend or Bordeaux varietals, 43% Cabernet Franc, 38% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. It was aged 18 months in 100% French oak, 40% new.

Winemaker Tasting Notes: “Our most terroir driven blend, mostly Cabernet Franc and Merlot. A rich wine coming from one of the warmest harvests. The tannins are velvety and the finish is long and soft.”
~ Serge Laville, Winemaker.

This was rated 93 Points by Wine & Spirits, 92 Points by James Suckling, 91 Points by Wine Spectator, and 90 points by Sean Sullivan of Wine Advocate. 

We hold half dozen vintages of this label and pulled the oldest vintage as part of effective cellar management rotation. 

At eight years this is probably at its peak, the apex of its drinking profile, not likely to improve further with aging, but certainly to age gracefully for another decade if you're patient enough to keep it that long. 

Bright garnet colored, medium bodied, elegant polished, rich but approachable for pleasant but sophisticated drinking, its right-bank style blend shows vibrant black berry and dark plum fruits with notes of cassis, spice, floral and hints of balsamic and herbs with dusty minerality with polished soft tannins on the lingering finish.

RM 92 points.

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