I have to lean on Michael Alberty of Story Teller Wine Company in Portland, Oregon for the story on
Grochau (pronounced grow-shaw) Cellars which is a new producer with a fledgling and unfinished
website. Apparently noted wine writer Matt Kramer touted Grochau Cellars wines by saying, “A couple
of sips will tell you he’s a purist winemaker interested in finesse, nuance and what can admiringly
be called a certain tenderness (Some other Oregon winemakers strive for power and what might be
called a “smash mouth” effect.).”
Michael Alberty is a retailer (meaning they can get carried away and hype just about any wine that
they have for sell) but I respect the wines he recommends. John Grochau (it would have been easier to
name his wines John’s Cellars, but that would have been boring) learned his winemaking craft under
Doug Tunnell at Brick House Wines and it doesn’t get much better than that. (Grochau is also the sommelier
at Higgins Restaurant in Portland).. Michael feels that John’s wines reflect Tunnell’s hands off
approach and “the wines are thoughtfully made, thoughtfully priced and a true expression of the
grape variety from which it came.” Alberty and Grochau (and Grochau’s wife Kerri) graduated from
Sunset High School in Beaverton, Oregon, so Alberty naturally has a soft spot for these wines. He sent
me several to sample and since I don’t have any ax to grind, I can honestly say these are wines worth
2006 Grochau Cellars Toute De Suite Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $18. The name of
this wine is from the French, “at once, right now.” A wine meant to be enjoyed now,
The scents are true to Pinot Noir with dark cherries, smoke and clove. Simple
cherry, earth and wood flavors are soft on the palate and the whole package ends
in a clean and refreshing finish. Easy to like, easy to drink.
2006 Grochau Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $24. This is
Grochau’s entry level serious Pinot Noir but that doesn’t mean it is wimpy. It is a
blend of fruit from multiple vineyards.
The aromatics are striking with dark berries
and plums showing off. Dark fruits continue on the palate with oak and mushroom nuances.
The after taste of black Pinot fruits is haunting and lengthy. A lot of pinotosity.
2006 Grochau Cellars Cuvee Des Amis Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $36. Sourced
from five different vineyards.
A lovely, but demure, nose of dark fruits that need coaxing. A big gulp of
dark cherries and blackberries with a subtle hint of oak. Harmonious from start to finish, but reluctant at
this stage. Cellaring will be rewarded.
2005 Grochau Cellars Anderson Family Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., 25
cases, $35. The Anderson Family vineyard is planted to Dijon clone 667 in the Yamhill-Carlton District.
Prominent oak char that runs through the wine from start to finish. Big in the mouth, the plush dark berry
fruit has an appealing earthiness. The wine possess fine-grained tannins and a clean finish. It is a little too
oaky for me at this time but the oak may integrate better with time.
Grochau Cellars is based in Newberg. The wines are available in Oregon restaurants and from Oregon
retailers like www.storytellerwine.com. The website, www.gcwines.com, is rudimentary. The
phone is 503-522-2455.