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The history of Spring Valley Vineyard, which dates back to the mid 1800s, is deeply rooted in the soils of Washington’s Walla Walla Valley. The names of these wines are a direct tribute to the lineage of family members who have not only experienced struggle as farmers but also great success on the same land where the Spring Valley Vineyard and Winery now flourish. Originally owned by Uriah Corkrum, a wheat farmer who persevered through years of unfavorable weather patterns, Spring Valley continues to thrive as the result of years of hard work and strong traditional family values which are now combined with the assistance of Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.  Often out-shined by the neighboring wine regions of Napa and Sonoma, it is imperative to spotlight the favorable climate of Washington’s Walla Walla grape growing region. Located on the same latitude  as the Rhone Valley/Bordeaux regions of France and Tuscany, Italy, this appellation gets 300+ days of clear skies while experiencing 35-45 mph winds, allowing for increased airflow throughout the vineyards. An absolutely ideal growing region as a result of longer summers, the ripened grapes of Walla Walla receive extended hang time, resulting in a more mature, fruit-forward wine.

Devin, the son of vineyard owners Shari & Dean Corkum, had a yearning and gut instinct to cultivate 30 acres of wheat fields at Spring Valley Vineyards. His theme and approach to viticulture was simple: Grow Superior Grapes. Devin achieved this by growing small lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  He would later hand crush them which he believed gave the wine a unique sense of strength with a developed soul.  In 1999 the first vintage of Uriah was produced and instantly received 90+ points from Wine Spectator.  To this day, the vintages of Spring Valley Vineyards have never received less than 91+ point ratings and have  been among Wine Spectator’s top 100 rated wines.  After a tragic motorcycle accident took Devin’s life, the Corkum family again persevered and turned to Chateau Ste. Michelle for a helping hand.

It is interesting to note, the growth of Chateau Ste. Michelle parallels the growth of Washington state as an increasingly important winemaking region known for the top quality wines produced there. By focusing on quality Washington fruit and melding old world winemaking traditions (similar to those of Spring Valley Vineyards) with new world innovation, Chateau Ste. Michelle continues to make a name for itself, as well as for the state of Washington, as one of the premier wine regions in the world.  A beautiful partnership began as Chateau Ste. Michelle adopted Spring Valley Vineyards as one of their, “String of Pearl” wineries and therefore upgraded their winemaking equipment as well as imported brilliant French winemaker “Serge”.  He has since become part of the Corkum’s extended family and continues to execute Devin’s vision of creating exceptional Washington wines.  Additional Chateau Ste. Michelle “String of Pearl” wineries include : Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Northstar, Columbia Crest, Antinori, Col Solare, Erath, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte and Villa Maria of New Zealand.

For further information on the  history of the Corkum family and Spring Valley Vineyards please watch this wonderful video:

SPOTLIGHT WINE: SPRING VALLEY VINEYARD Uriah Walla Walla Valley 2010

SCORE: 91

The 2010 Uriah is an expression of the Spring Valley terroir.  Complex layers of herbal notes, orange zest and almond paste on the nose evolve into complex aromatic notes of summer berries, candy and cigar.  Ultra-rich, round flavors of ripe berries with soft polished tannins lead to chocolate, caramel and vanilla notes on the long and complex finish.

Related Scores: NYR

Market Price: $50

Blend: 46% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec

Aging: 18 months in 60% New French Oak

Recommended Glassware: Riedel Vinum Cabernet/Bordeaux

Decanting Time: 45-60 minutes

Serving Temperature: 60-65F/16-18C

Drinking Window: Drink now through 2020

Food Pairing: Short Rib Ragu

-R.H

Food52

Chateau Ste. Michelle Upcoming Calendar of Events:

http://www.ste-michelle.com/events

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