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Grochau Cellars

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 your interest.

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, not later. · 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.

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