Cheers to 40 Years

On June 4th, Groth Vineyards & Winery is celebrating a special anniversary: 40 years of building a generational family business, one of Napa Valley’s oldest family-owned wineries; 40 years of farming their Oakville Estate, arguably the finest appellation for Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa; and 40 years of making award-winning wines cherished by collectors and critics alike. A special occasion like this deserves an equally special wine. From a vintage James Molesworth of Wine Spectator calls “a new benchmark for Napa Cabernet”, the Groth 2018 Reserve Cabernet is that special wine: complex, elegant and age-worthy, a true expression of Oakville.

Grapes for the Reserve Cabernet come from the finest lots in the Oakville Estate reserve vineyard, sustainably farmed by an expert team of vineyard managers and winemakers whose intimate knowledge of their vineyards guides every careful step from vine to bottle. The soils in this vineyard are an anomaly within the estate vineyards and within the Oakville AVA itself, formed by a high concentration of chert, a compact sedimentary rock comprising quartz crystals and fossils deposited here by an alluvial fan flowing out of the Vaca Range to the east millions of years ago. This “sweet spot” in the vineyard provides a signature mineral core and incredible elegance to the wine. Aging for 22 months in new French oak barrels adds richness and complexity, while another 14 months in bottle allows the aromas and flavours to harmonize before release. The finished wine is an abundance of heady aromatics including blueberry, black currant, cinnamon, mocha, lavender, clove, cigar box and wet gravel. On the palate, the tannins are smooth and fine and there is ample balancing acid to lead through rich flavours of boysenberry, blackberry and ripe plum skin to a long and seamless finish.

Not to be forgotten, however, are Groth’s other beauties: the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, made with grapes from a diverse selection of vineyards that showcase the complexity within the compact Oakville AVA, a wine that shines with intensity and texture; and the 2019 Hillview Vineyard Chardonnay, a single-vineyard wine from a cooler pocket near Yountville that balances exquisite fruit with sparkling acidity.

Three remarkable wines and 40 years to celebrate – happy anniversary to an exceptional winery!

Groth 2019 Chardonnay, Hillview Vineyard, Napa Valley
Retail: $62.95 / btl

Groth 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville
Retail: $124.95 / btl

Groth 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Reserve’, Napa Valley
Retail: $274.95 / btl

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The Wines

Groth 2019 Chardonnay, Hillview Vineyard, Napa Valley
91 points – James Suckling, December 2020
“Attractive aromas of peach, dried pineapple and shortbread. Lemon curd, too. It’s full-bodied with tangy acidity and a flinty finish. Drink now.”

Groth 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville
94 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville) is fabulous. Moreover, it shows the important strides that have been made here in recent years. A wine of depth as well as energy, the Oakville Cabernet is both complete and absolutely delicious. Time brings out a whole range of leather, spice and chocolate notes to play off a core of intense, dark-fleshed fruit. I would prefer to cellar the 2018 for at least a few years. In a word: impressive.”

Groth 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Reserve’, Napa Valley
96 points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, February 2021
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is sourced from choice blocks on the Groth family’s Oakville property. A gorgeous, classically built wine, the Reserve is just fabulous today. Bright and lifted, with striking aromatic intensity. Dark red-toned fruit and purplish berry, cedar, lavender, rose petal, mint, spice and mocha lend considerable energy as the 2018 gradually opens in the glass. I would be in no rush here.”

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About Groth

Dennis & Judy Groth purchased the 121-acre Oakcross Ranch in 1981, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon by Justin Meyer & Ray Duncan between 1972 & ‘74. Some of the fruit went to Meyer & Duncan’s Silver Oak Cabernets in the 70s; and Oakcross was source of the legendary 1978 Villa Mt. Eden Reserve Cabernet made by Nils Venge (Villa Mt. Eden is now the home to PlumpJack). Groth also owns the 44-acre Hillview Vineyard in Napa’s Oak Knoll District, source of their Chardonnay & Merlot. Dennis was one of the executives at Atari (remember Pong?), and in 1984 when it was sold, the family moved to Napa. Their first vintage was 1982 – the winery was completed in 1990, even though it’s image is on the very first labels – and they were notable very quickly when Robert Parker gave Groth 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon the distinction of being California’s first 100-point wine.Today, Judy & Dennis’ daughter Suzanne has taken the reins, having grown up around the estate. In 2014, Cameron Parry, former winemaker at Chateau Montelena, took over from Michael Weis, who was winemaker from 1994-2014. Michael had succeeded the infamous Nils Venge, Groth’s original winemaker. Vineyard Manager Ben Benson has been farming this land since he joined Groth as the first employee in 1982.

Between 1999 and 2003, most of the Oakville Cabernet vineyard parcels were replanted, notably changing the direction of the vine rows — from east-west to north-south orientation (following the valley) — which allows for both optimal air circulation and sun exposure. As a result of the replanting, no Reserve Cab was made between 1999 & 2005. Interesting fact: the east section of Oakcross Vineyard, closest to the Napa River, is too wet and cool for Cabernet, but optimal for Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyard across the river from Groth is Betty O’Shaughnessy’s vineyard that PlumpJack uses as the source for Cade Sauvignon Blanc.

Groth has been a leader in crafting expressive, lower-alcohol style of Sauvignon Blanc and ‘non-malo’ Chardonnay, with greater expression of fruit, using whole-cluster pressing and less aggressive oak treatment. Always wines with structure requiring some bottle-age, the ‘anti-blockbuster’ Groth Cabernet Sauvignon is better than ever, showing all the balance, finesse, depth and character of wines of great pedigree.

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Groth is represented in Ontario by The Vine Agency.

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