2018 Grochau Cellars, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
This aromatic and deep ruby/garnet Grochau 2018 Willamette Valley Pinot is ridiculously good and showing beautiful right now with exceptional purity and transcendent in flavors with silky layers of Italian cherry, plum, raspberry and pomegranate fruits that are wonderfully accented by an array of floral and spicy events and just the right amount of savory earthiness, lifted by cinnamon, rose petals, flinty stones and a restraint use of oak and its subtle toastiness. I’ve enjoyed the latest releases from John Grochau, but this is a sleeper and drinking fantastic, he is committed to sustainable, organic and sensible farming, and works growers with or without official certification. With this wine seeing some impressive sources that, as he puts it, span the northern Willamette Valley, including the Björnson Vineyard, Vivid Vineyard, Carlton Hill Vineyard, Zenith Vineyard, and some others that provide the pedigree here over the years, with this 2018 being made from hand picked barrels.

John Grochau, the ex-professional cyclist turned winemaker, has been turning out lovely and authentic Willamette Valley Pinots since 2002 and this cuvée in particular has been a huge hit and a favorite of mine, coming from a variety of sites and all grown sustainably with the goal of making a transparent and pure regional Pinot Noir. It’s hard to imagine a more enjoyable Pinot for the price, I only wish I had bought more of this vintage, though I’m sure the current 2020 and up coming 2021 release will be worthy of attention too. Most of Grochau’s Pinots are done with whole cluster and native yeasts and aged primary in used French oak barrels, with this Willamette Valley cuvée seeing an elevage of almost a year before bottling, everything is about allowing the fruit to expressive itself. Grochau also does a range of single vineyard wines and each have a more individual personality with his Zenith being another of my favorites in the lineup, plus their are a couple of tasty Gamay offerings, and even a Tempranillo that is fun curiosity, along with a fine selection of whites, that includes a Pinot Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne.
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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