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WTN: 4 from Groth

geo t.

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A few weeks ago, I spent some time talking with D. Andrew Groth, Dennis and Judy’s son and current regional sales manager for Groth Vineyards and Winery. He filled me in on the extensive replanting of vineyards that has taken place at Groth, and the resulting suspension of the Reserve Cabernet program while waiting for the new vines to mature to the point where they can produce the quality of fruit that will warrant it’s resumption. I also had the opportunity to taste through four of the winery’s recent releases, which I quite enjoyed.

2004 Groth Napa Sauvignon Blanc, 95% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Semillon, $15, 13.8% alc.: Pale straw color, with apple, pear and grapefruit flavors and aromas showing overtones of tropical fruit, a hint of boxwood and a little minerality; some soft grassiness is muted by the neutral (four and five year old) French oak. Bright, crisp and clean, with a good finish, this is a nice Napa expression of the varietal that does just what it's supposed to, and matches well with an Italian submarine sandwich, of all things! Whole cluster pressed; 30% of the wine sees no oak at all, being fermented and aged in small stainless steel tanks, while 70% is aged sur lie for five months in neutral oak.

2003 Groth Napa Chardonnay, $25, 14.2% alc.: Medium straw color, with restrained oak over soft, slightly creamy apple and pear flavors and aromas, shaded with hints of banana, fig, and some maple syrup and sweet pea as it opens. Showing good balance, with just the right amount of acidity, this is elegant and food friendly, and makes a good match for grilled chicken breasts and asparagus. Whole cluster pressed; 30% new French oak, with no malolactic fermentation; aged for eight months sur lie.

2001 Groth Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville, $55, 13.8% alc.: Dark garnet color, with some slightly green toasty oak on the nose that quickly morphs into a pretty cassis, black cherry and sweet oak perfume accented with hints of tobacco and tea leaf. These follow through on the palate with medium full body and a fine structure that should easily make this a ten year wine. With its mouth coating texture and fine sense of proportion, this is already delicious with some air and/or a good cut of red meat, but again, it's only going to get better with time in the cellar.

2002 Groth Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville, 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, $55, 14.3 % alc.: I only got a quick snapshot of this at the Decanter trade tasting, but I really liked what I tasted; it seems to show a little more of everything that the '01 model has, with sweet toasty oak over a cassis, black currant and black cherry personality, all shaded with a little chocolate and tobacco. Like the rest of these, it has wonderfully balanced structure and long finish. Fermented over seven days in small stainless steel tanks at an average temperature of 80 F.; aged in French oak (50% new) for 23 months.

- from Synchronicity

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

George Heritier aka geo t.

The Gang of Pour

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