Spring Valley Vineyard 2008 Frederick Red Blend
Spring Valley Vineyard is an estate winery located within the Walla Walla Valley AVA on 111 acres of vines about 12 miles outside of town. Among the varietals grown here are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah. There is a rich family history behind this land, dating back to the mid 1800’s, but the first Merlot vines were planted in 1993 and the winery’s first vintage debuted in 1999. The Spring Valley tasting room is located in downtown Walla Walla, and is nicely put together along with a very friendly staff. Three of their wines, the Mule Skinner Merlot, Derby Cabernet Sauvignon, and Nina Lee Syrah are all 100% varietals. The winery also has two red blends known as Frederick and Uriah. Each one of these wines has received a score of 90 or above from Wine Spectator, with the Frederick and Uriah each receiving a 93. I was in the mood for a red blend so I decided to take home a bottle of the 2008 Frederick. This is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9 % Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec and was aged 21 months in French oak. For a price of $50, this wine had a garnet red appearance with a bit of sediment, and on the nose I definitely got a lot of oak along with spicy black cherry. There was definitely a big tannic structure to the wine along with mellow acids, and that cherry went along with some earthy, leathery tones and smokiness on the palate. The alcohol came in at 15.3%, and it seemed to be just a bit too hot on the finish. I would say that decanting this wine ahead of time might have been a good idea; it seemed the wine may have needed some time to breathe and unlock some of the aromas. In spite of that, the wine seemed to be fairly balanced and complimented the flank steak I had along with it nicely. Overall, aside from the high heat and heavy oak I thought it was a pretty good wine, and I look forward to what the next vintage of the Frederick red blend has to offer.