Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Groth Vineyards and Winery

You will find some really great Cabernet Sauvignon here at Groth. Groth Vineyards and Winery was founded by Dennis and Judy Groth in 1982.  They became famous for their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon after Robert Parker awarded their 1985 Reserve a perfect 100 points.  It was the first time Parker awarded a perfect score to any California wine.  Even today Wine Enthusiast magazine designated the 2009 Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as one of the "Best of the Year 2012," referring to it as "incredibly lush and delicious."  Nick Webb at WineSpeak USA recently named the Groth 2008 Reserve Cabernet as his blog's "Wine of the Year," stating that it "is an unforgettable, regal wine that electrifies the senses and does the highly lauded Oakville AVA proud." WineSpeak USA

Groth winery building

Groth's reserve block of Cabs was replanted in 1999, so they did not have a Reserve Cabernet again until 2005 after the vines matured.  In 2006 they rebuilt their barrel cellars, crush and fermentation areas.  The winery building is a very distinctive landmark in Napa that reminds me somewhat of the Hawaiian Pink Palace.  Groth owns 121 acres of vineyards in Oakville and 44 acres in Yountville and produced about 60,000 cases of wine in 2012, with about half of that being their Sauvignon Blanc, making it a medium size family winery. Tasting is by appointment only which may be obtained over the Internet or by phone.  If you do visit them, you will have the option of a tour and tasting or just a tasting.  If you take the tour you will be able to visit the "insectary" garden planted in 2007 that hosts all sorts of beneficial insects.  A brochure identifies the 44 different species of plants and mentions the various beneficial insects that they try to encourage as part of their sustainable farming.


Our tasting began with the Groth 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($17.)  It is made with 7% Semillon and about 35,000 to 40,000 cases a year are produced, representing half the production of the winry.  Although the SB has sold out at the winery, you should be able to find bottles at Safeway, Costco or other major retailers.  After a pleasant nose of mostly melon, I got more melon with a little grapefruit on the palate.  The Semillon seemed to round it out, and I liked the balance.  Eric Asimov of the New York times in July 2011 listed the Groth 2010 as the favorite in their group's tasting of twenty Sauvignon Blancs.  "Among the 20 bottles in the tasting, we certainly had our favorites, like our No. 1, the 2010 Groth from Napa Valley, which, with its liveliness and balance, pleased all of us."  New York Times

Groth tasting room

The Groth 2010 Chardonnay ($29) can also be found at many major retailers.  This one has no malolatic conversion and sees 25% new French oak with sur lie aging.  It had a very pleasant nose On the palate I got a smooth, creamy palate of tropical fruit and toasted oak with a smooth, medium length finish. Although it has plenty of fruit, it is lighter bodied than many Napa Chards. About 3,000 to 4,000 cases are produced each year.  Both whites were pleasant, easy to drink and well worth the price, but did not seem to aspire to the heights of their Cabs.

Groth barrel room

Groth Cabs, especially the Reserve, seem geared to discriminating persons who really know and appreciate serious wines. We started out with the Groth Oakville 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon that sells for $50. It is made with 20% Merlot and sees 65% new French oak. This one has a very nice aroma. On the palate it is dry but big in flavor, with rich red cherry and well integrated tannins. The wine goes down smoothly with some earthiness and a medium length finish. It is very drinkable now and does need of years of cellaring to be appreciated.

Groth from across the vineyard.

Our last tasting was the Groth Reserve 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon that sells at $125.  This was an outstanding Cab.  It had a nice aroma followed by a full, lush mouthfeel of cherries and blackberries with a touch of spice.  It had great, very well integrated tannins with pleasant toasted oak, along with a good finish.  I found myself taking very small sips and not wanting to swallow because it had such a pleasant mouthfeel.  I asked how the 2008 compared with this 2009 and was told that the 2008 was slightly better, not because of the vintage but because it had an extra year of aging.  The Reserve should cellar very well but it is so enticing to drink now that it would be difficult to lay any away

Entry sign

Groth wines are widely available in grocery and other stores in case you cannot visit the winery.  If you do visit Napa Valley, however, we highly recommend a visit to Groth Vineyards and Winery.

750 Oakville Cross Road
Oakville, CA 94562

1 comment:

  1. TJ,

    Totally agree with you on the mouthfeel of the Groth's Reserve Cab--to me it was the most captivating quality of the wine. I'm speaking for the 2008 vintage (haven't tried the '09), but it appears to be a trait that crosses vintages.



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