From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Variety: Pinot Noir
Tasting Notes: The Commuter Cuvee is the first Pinot Noir we blend and bottle every year. The wine is from almost all of the vineyards we work with. Every year the assemblage is different with the goal being to blend a wine that is bright, fresh, and floral; showing the pretty side of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. With the warm summer and small grapes, the resulting wine is darker in color and flavor profile with good concentration and bright acids. - John Grochau
Pairing: Break this out early in your evening with a cheese plate with nuts. You could also go with roasted root vegetables tossed in hazelnut butter. This would also work with roasted beets, yams, or artichokes (which are notoriously hard to pair). As a Thanksgiving accompaniment to squash soup, this would be juuuust right, the baby bear of food and wine pairings!
John Grochau was first introduced to wine and the winemaking landscape in his early 20’s while racing bicycles for a French team in the Loire Valley. For several years, he raced through some of France’s most revered winemaking regions including Champagne, Burgundy, and the across the Loire Valley. When he returned to his hometown of Portland, Oregon, he went to work in the restaurant business and quickly discovered an even greater appreciation for wine.
After more than a decade selling wine in some of Portland’s finest restaurants, including a 14-year stint at Higgins, Grochau plunged into winemaking. He spent a year in Sonoma before returning to Oregon to work at Erath Winery and then worked alongside winemaker Doug Tunnell at Brick House Vineyards for four years. His first vintage as owner and winemaker at Grochau Cellars was in 2002.
With Grochau’s restaurant experience, there was a natural progression as a winemaker to craft food-friendly wines that enhance a meal. Grochau strives to make wines that are balanced, textured, and expressive of place. Inspired by the diversity of the Willamette Valley’s soils and microclimates, Grochau sources fruit from organic and sustainably-farmed vineyards.
Grapes are hand-harvested and wines undergo a slow, natural fermentation. Working with grape varieties with a legacy in the Willamette Valley – namely Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc – Grochau also seeks to showcase the potential of emerging varieties like Melon de Bourgogne and Gamay.
90 Points -James Suckling
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