Creating Groth’s newly released Estate White was NOT a quick or easy task.
In fact it was many years in the making from idea to fruition. The idea? Groth, famous for their estate Cabernet Sauvignon, wanted to offer a classic white Bordeaux style blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from their Oakville Estate in the heart of Napa Valley.
But first they had to plant the semillon — which they did by converting eleven acres of Chardonnay. Semillon is a bigger, fleshier grape than most with lots of pulp, very viscous, and as it mucks up the press, so once the new vines matured enough to produce fruit, they began co-pressing it with the Estate Sauvignon Blanc. They also co-ferment the juice to further integrate the two grapes and then use neutral French oak to add creaminess and smooth over the acidity and round it off.
Last fall, I attended a virtual tasting via ZOOM to celebrate the release of Groth’s brand-new Estate White with second-generation family member Suzanne Groth and Director of Winegrowing Cameron Parry. They shared the story behind the first white wine from their Oakville Estate, along with their Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Hillview Vineyard Chardonnay. Wine expert Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, led the tasting. After years of planning, they’re very excited to release the Estate White, which they see as the next wine in their estate’s evolution– and we were excited to be some of the first to taste it!
Groth wines often rank on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines; in 2019, the 2016 Reserve Cabernet was No. 4.We expect the new Estate White to show up on this list soon! And I look forward to visiting and writing about the reds one of these days too; they have a proprietary red blend coming out next year. I understand that winemaker Cameron Perry loves “rock talk” — and I do too.
Samples provided for my ZOOM participation and for my review consideration; all opinions my own; no other compensation.
- 2019 GROTH Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Napa Valley
- 2019 GROTH Estate White 2019, Oakville, Napa Valley
- 2018 GROTH “Hillview Estate Vineyard” Chardonnay 2018, Napa Valley
- Kale Chopped Ceasar Salad (kit from Earthborn Farms)
- Goat Cheese and Fresh Crusty French Bread
- Raw Oysters
- Sushi: salmon, ahi, California rolls
- Penne Pasta with fresh local shrimp, mussels, clams and broccoli in a garlic, butter, and white wine sauce
2019 GROTH Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Napa Valley
SRP $24; sample
82% Sauvignon Blanc, 18% Semillon
Fruit is purchased from neighbors as well as Lake County. Whole cluster pressed, 80% neutral oak barrels, three months sur lie aging, 20% stainless-steel tanks, no ML
Color: Very pale straw
Nose: At first it was florals and fruit for Sue, but when she came back to it, there was anise for her. I felt there was fennel pollen, but could also pick up on the anise. honeysuckle, citrus blossom, orange blossom, pine, orange oil, and chamomile..
Palate: Tart bright, such a wonderful mouthfeel, very silky, pink grapefruit, pomelo, a nice ripe fresh grapefruit, fennel. Nice clean finish reminding me of the sea. We haven’t had oysters yet, but it reminds me of the rich brininess of the sea
Pairing: Great with chopped kale salad, Sue wanted to make a grapefruit fennel salad. Would be wonderful with whitefish and fennel baked in a parchment wrap. Definitely goes with oysters!
2019 GROTH Estate White 2019
Oakville, Napa Valley
ABV 13.6%; SRP $50; sample
79% Sauvignon Blanc, 21% Semillon
What happens when you spend another $20 for a Sauv Blanc? While $50 may seem like a lot for a Sauv Blanc, this wine really performs by rewarding you with unexpected complexity and richness with a lovely mouthfeel, a never ending finish, and pairing flexibility. This comes from the exception fruit as well as the winemaking which uses second-fill Acacia and neutral French oak barrels, stainless-steel tanks, AND concrete egg! Then three months sur lie aging and three months blended aging. WOW!
Color: Pale lemon yellow, a bit deeper gold, still clear and pale
Nose: So much floral on the nose, pine, a bouquet of white flowers, with pine branches for the greenery. Orange or tangerine with cloves like an old fashioned pomander.
Palate: Bursting of citrus across the palate, smooth mouth feel. Tantalizing finish, tangy, and bright, very citrus and bright, long lingering, leaving the essence of orange oil lingering in my mouth.
Pairing: Oysters please! Overall delightful with this seafood dish, especially with the mussels, as well as the salad.
2018 GROTH “Hillview Estate Vineyard” Chardonnay 2018, Napa Valley
ABV 14.9%; SRP $35
Sourced exclusively from the Groth family’s sustainably farmed Hillview Estate south of Yountville, this limited-production Chardonnay highlights the beautiful fruit typical from Napa’s Oak Knoll District. Barrel fermented but with only 14% new French oak and aged sur lie for seven months with no ML to offer more fresh fruit flavors. A little less creamy, it’s better for aging, more balanced acidity, and more versatile with food.
Color: Bright pale lemon yellow.
Nose: Vanilla, apples, apple pie, pineapple upside down cake.
Palate: Green apple, pineapple, guava, fruit forward, nice minerals on the back end, some oaky caramel or butterscotch flavors but the oak is not overwhelming and nicely integrated; instead it brings a richness to the tropical fruit notes.
Pairing: Surprisingly, this was my favorite with the sushi, especially the salmon sushi. It also really shines with the buttery shrimp in the pasta.