9360 SE Eola Hills Rd.
tel. (503) 835-0208
0 ac – 114,000 bt
John Grochau’s introduction to wine came from the saddle of a road bike. The Portland native raced professionally in France in his 20’s, pedaling through Champagne and Burgundy. Restaurant work back in the states ultimately nudged Grochau toward Willamette Valley wine country, where he worked at Erath Vineyards and Brick House before launching his brand in 2002. Grochau’s foodie mindset informs his approach, yielding wines that are very much at home atop the dinner table. Always the cyclist, Grochau continues to race on a weekly basis.
More than a dozen vineyards round out the Grochau Cellars lineup, most of which are organic and sustainably farmed. They include Stavig Vineyard in Happy Valley, a rocky site reminiscent of the western Loire Valley, along with Bjornson Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, a Salmon-Safe and LIVE-certified patch rooted in volcanic soils. Grochau also pulls Chardonnay from Bunker Hill outside of Salem and Pinot Blanc from Fir Crest Vineyard, a dry-farmed site tucked in the foothills of the coast range in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. He stretches beyond the Willamette Valley to sites like Upper Five in the Rogue Valley for Tempranillo and Syrah.
The wines are approachable across the board and encompass a lively spectrum stretching from regional classics like Pinot Noir to up-and-comers like Gamay and Melon — varieties Grochau has long admired. His Melon 2017 is light but layered, with kiwi and green tea notes. The Bjornson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 shows cherry pie and lychee, a 45% whole-cluster wine with ample character.
Redford Wetle Farm Gamay Noir 2015
This wine truly stands apart, behaving more like a Pinot with its unexpected elegance and darker fruit to enhance the brightness. Production stands at about 12,000 cases per year.