2018 Grochau Cellars, Pinot Noir, Commuter Cuvée, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
I’ve loved this bottling of John Grochau’s Commuter Cuvée Pinot since I first tasted it back in 2012 and this 2018 is an outstanding and pure wine with pretty floral notes, dark cherry fruit, delicate spices, earth and a supple texture, making for an excellent easy drinking wine that is lovely with or without food. The color is brilliant ruby and garnet, invitingly dark and deep, the 2018 Grochau Cellars Commuter Cuvée is impressive in the glass and gets better and better as it opens, adding mineral tones and the mouth feel highlights the quality here, this wine is an exceptional value. This wine was, as the winery notes, from grapes that were hand sorted and mostly de-stemmed with just about 5% to 10% whole cluster fermentation usually from a combination of vineyards and a range of soils from marine sediments to volcanic that are sustainably farmed. The Commuter Cuvée was aged 8 months on lees with about 30% in stainless steel and about 68% in French oak, mostly used, and with a touch, close to 2% in concrete tank, all to promote freshness. This wine and Grochau’s single-vineyard Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard from the Eola-Amity AVA are well worth searching out, these are sublime.

Grochau Cellars was founded in 2002, after John Grochau had worked at the legendary Erath Winery and notably at Brick House Vineyards, where working alongside winemaker Doug Tunnel he gained experience and insight that has influenced or guided his winemaking style. Grochau, who fell in love with wine while riding bikes professionally in France, especially while cycling through the picturesque Loire Valley and when he retired and came home to Oregon. John quickly immersed himself in the local wine and food culture, it was at this point he knew it was his calling and after almost a decade in the restaurant business was winemaking, and that’s where his talents have been highly successful in producing in beautiful Pinot Noirs. Grochau says he was inspired by the diversity of the Willamette Valley’s soils and micro-climates, which he promotes by crafting terroir driven wines, these are transparent and elegant efforts. There are not many better Pinots for the price than this one and it should drink nicely for another 3 to 5 years, it is a wine to stock up on, regardless of vintage, but this one is absolutely delicious. In the last year I have tasted more releases from Grochau and have really enjoyed them, especially this one, as well as the Gamay and the Etheric Wine Workshop Pinot Noir.
($18 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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