Walla Walla, Washington may very well be America’s most authentic wine region.
Unlike Napa, Walla Walla doesn’t feature faux Persian castles or wineries named after celebrities. Instead, this surprisingly vibrant town of about 30,000 people in eastern Washington State makes exceptionally good wine, grows sweet onions that the town is famous for, and is in the heart of wheat country.
In the northern area of Walla Walla County, outside of the city and situated among the rolling wheat covered hills of the Palouse, Spring Valley Vineyards is quietly making a case as one of America’s best wineries. Owned by the same family that has been farming this land since 1910 (the forbearers of the family first arrived in Walla Walla in 1865), Spring Valley is a relative newcomer to the world of wine. The first vines were only planted in 1993, and Spring Valley’s first vintage was in 1999. Yet with a focus on high quality wines, collectors and wine enthusiasts have quickly begun the recognize the wines from Spring Valley.
Spring Valley has two vineyards: the original 1993 vineyard and a 2007 addition that gives the winery 111 acres of vines that include classic French varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Winemaker Serge Laville, who grew up in France’s Cote du Rhone, has been the winemaker at Spring Valley since 2005, continuing the legacy of his friend and previous winemaker by hand-tending and sorting the grapes and intervening as little as possible in the process from vine to bottle.
The results speak for themselves. Spring Valley has won numerous awards and accolades for their wines, and they garner consistently high scores from wine publications.
Spring Valley Vineyards currently produces six wines, all from estate fruit from the vineyard itself:
- Uriah, a merlot blend named after family patriarch Uriah Corkrum, this is a full-bodied, well-structured wine with notes of cassis, black cherry, and pepper ($50 MSRP).
- Nina Lee, a 100% syrah wine features notes of chocolate, blackberries, and plum ($50 MSRP).
- Frederick, a Cabernet blend features notes of black pepper, cassis, blackberries, and chocolate ($50 MSRP).
- Derby, 100% Cabernet and features a softer profile than Frederick, with more of an emphasis on cherry and red fruit flavors and an intriguing florality ($50 MSRP).
- Mule Skinner, a 100% Merlot features notes of raspberry jam, black cherry, and pepper. ($45 MSRP).
- Katherine Corkrum is a 100% Cabernet Franc wine with notes of strawberries, spice, and leather. ($50 MSRP).
Look for Spring Valley Vineyards wines in your local wine shop or at better restaurants. These are special wines from a special winery, and you’ll appreciate the quality and dedication that went into these wines.