The Hedonistic Taster | № 26 | Grochau Cellars – Willamette Valley, OR.
“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer
Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster*, an intimate showcase of artisan winemaker trade samples.
These tasting notes compliment binNotes | Affordable Burgundy and beyond. “Beyond” includes existing and emerging producers of Pinot Noir worldwide.
Did you know that August 18th is National Pinot Noir Day?!
Today’s Tasting: Grochau Cellars – Willamette Valley
Some wines sear the soul and haunt the palate. Grochau Cellars strike such a nerve. On the nose, these wines seduce, flatter, cajole – only to attack the palate with tensile nerve and unflinching precision before finishing with haughty grace – much like a taunting tango dancer. Or a really lean, mean (ok, maybe not mean), ex-professional Loire Valley bikeracer-turned-wineseller-turned Willamette Valley winemaker like John Grochau.
Grochau earned his stripes most notably at Erath Winery, and later with Doug Tunnel of Brick House Vineyards, before starting Grochau Cellars in 2002.
Recently, while in Oregon attending IPNC, I had the honor and privilege to sit down with John Grochau for a private tasting of Grochau Cellars wines.
I have long admired Grochau Cellars wines for their consistency, quality, and ridiculous affordability, especially his Commuter Cuvée Pinot Noir.
These wines did not disappoint.
Wine: Grochau Cellars Melon de Bourgogne | Willamette Valley, OR.
Suggested Retail: $18
Robe: Pale lemon robe.
Nose: Stone fruit, hint of wet stone, florals on the nose.
Palate: Bright acids, light body, lingering finish.
Suggested Pairings: Never heard of Melon de Bourgogne? It’s a white grape originally from Burgundy transplanted to the Loire Valley’s Nantais, a wine region famous for Muscadet. This one’s talking to you. It wants seafood. Now.
Wine: Grochau Cellars Chardonnay – Bunker Hill Vineyard | Willamette Valley, OR.
Suggested Retail: $23
Robe: Pale gold robe.
Nose: Mild, discrete hints of fleurs blanches on the nose.
Palate: Did not see this one coming. White Burgundy – say hello to my little friend Meursault–meets-Puilly-Fuissé. Lovely juxtaposition between a smooth entry, rich mouthfeel, and polished finish against a chiseled brightness and elegant core.
Suggested Pairings: A texturally interesting wine that compliments lightly sauced or roasted fish or fowl served along seasonal sides like grilled mushrooms.
Wine: Grochau Cellars Pinot Noir | Dundee, OR.
Suggested Retail: $33
Robe: Clear, crimson robe.
Nose: Red fruit, dried florals on the nose, with an herbaceous back note.
Palate: Red fruit and spice bouche, fresh acids, medium body, refined finish. Raffine.
Suggested Pairings: A wine for all seasons and reasons, especially with duck, pheasant, or turkey during lengthy, memory-worthy feasts with family and friends.
Wine: Grochau Cellars Pinot Noir – Bjornson Vineyard | Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, OR.
Suggested Retail: $38
Robe: Clear ruby robe.
Nose: Dark red fruit, baking spice, earth on the hose.
Palate: Brooding, red cherry and spice bouche with medium-plus acids, mineral core, muscular tannins, and firm finish.
Suggested Pairings: Rack of lamb, pork loin or beef.
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*Author’s Note: The title “Hedonistic Taster” derives from the term ‘hedonistic tasting,’ coined by legendary Burgundian vigneron Henri Jayer.
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