Spring Valley Vineyards

Spring Valley Vineyard consistently makes some of the best wine in Walla Walla Valley. Three of the first seven vintages of the Uriah – their Merlot based blend – landed in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year. The winery, now part of Ste. Michelle Estates, is located on the Derby/Corkum family farm situated amidst rolling hills north of town.

All of Spring Valley’s recent releases are flirting with alcohol levels close to or above 15%, quite high for wines from Washington. While I prefer a little more restraint on the alcohol, I do not believe the high levels negatively affecting these wines.







Spring Valley Frederick 2006

Milk chocolate mixes with anise, rose petals, black licorice, dark berry, and cigar box aromas on a fairly elegant nose for a wine that packs such a big punch. Beautifully structured with an elegant tannin backbone that provides structure but doesn’t overpower. Will benefit from some time in the cellar. 54% Cabernet; 27% Cab Franc;10% Merlot; 7% Petit Verdot; 2% Malbec. 15.4% alcohol.



Spring Valley Muleskinner Merlot 2005

A much more opened up nose than the previous two with mocha, dark rich fruit, anise, tart cherry, and blueberries. A nose to linger over. Tart with a lot of body. Very enjoyable for the $. 100% Merlot. 14.9% alcohol.



Spring Valley Nina Lee 2006

A luscious nose loaded with fruit, including huckleberry, boysenberry and other black and blue fruit. Chocolate and anise threads wind throughout. A generous amount of tart fruit up front on the palate. 100% Syrah. 15.6% alcohol.


Sean P. Sullivan

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  1. I would be curious to know how some of the older, equally high octane, Spring Valley wines are holding up. Any chance you have an older bottle that you could pop for a taste comparison? My suspicion is that all of that alcohol is not going to be kind to Father Time.

  2. It's a very good point Thad regarding the aging of these high alcohol wines. A couple of weeks ago I opened a bottle of 2003 Nina Lee. Others thought that it was drinking quite well. While I enjoyed it, I thought it seemed quite over-extracted with a whole lot of alcohol. It will be interesting to see how this and other wines with this alcohol level hold up in the future.


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