I have been wanting to visit Groth Vineyards & Winery for a few years, ever since an old classmate told me to check it out. I finally had a chance to pop in for a tasting last week, and I’m so glad I did!
Groth is located in the Oakville District of Napa Valley. They make only four wines, but have a case production of 80,000 cases (half of which is their Sauvignon Blanc production). Their current release includes a 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 Chardonnay, 2009 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. I sampled all of these wines, as well as the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and some 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon that was sampled right from the barrel itself.
I very much enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc, but I liked the Chardonnay better (shocker!). Their Chardonnay is made in my favorite kind of way: cool fermentation in a mixture of old and new French Oak with no malolactic fermentation. This creates a beautiful balance of lively and rich notes, which is both pleasing to the palate and great for food pairing.
All of the Cabernet I tried was great. The 2008 Reserve was particular smooth, with soft tannins and a full mouth-feel. The bit of 2011 Cabernet that I sampled from the barrel had a lot of bell pepper on the nose, and but was surprisingly smooth. My favorite Cab was definitely the 2004 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon (I bought a bottle). It was very smooth, big and lush, with lots of strong fruit on the nose and palate. Although it is drinking well right now, I plan to hold on to it for a couple more years and pair it with a nice, juicy steak.
I also got a quick tour of the barrel room (also known as the “post card room”), where all the barrels are stained and lined up. The actual production is in a room on the other side of the building, but they set up this room to please the tourists. Still, it’s a very unique and beautiful way to show off the barrels. I was told they stain them because over time, they need to add more wine to the barrel because they don’t want too much oxidation on the inside. When they add more wine, it tends to dribble out and stain the barrel. To keep the barrels looking nice and pretty, they pre-stain them. Clever, eh?
Groth is appointment-only and located off of Oakville Cross Road in Napa. I was able to walk in without an appointment because it was a slow weekday afternoon (and I’m sure my industry status helped). They are also widely distributed and you can find their wines in all 50 states, even in Costco.