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2018 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon

2018 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon

94 AG


Sokolin Notes:
This Gorgeous Wine is Drinking Well Now!

From the critics:

92 DEC

92 WS

91 JS

Featured Review
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. Antonio Galloni

Vinous (Galloni) | 94 AG

Critic Reviews

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.

Antonio Galloni

| 94 AG
Shows intense raspberry and black currant fruit flavors with a good racy edge to match their concentration, while lively anise, black tea and savory details fill in throughout. This also has a nice mineral thread on the finish, which extends nicely as the fruit lingers. Best from 2023 through 2035. 24,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 92 WS
Really intense scents of herbs, ripe black fruit, boysenberries, leather and wood smoke. Spicy palate with a vibrant acidity, balanced and layered. (Drink between 2022-2035)

Decanter | 92 DEC
Lots of dark chocolate, blackberries, blackcurrants, tar and dark spices on the nose. Violets and licorice, too. Medium-to full-bodied, dark and spicy with medium tannins. Drink after 2022.

James Suckling | 91 JS

Wine Details for 2018 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon

Type of Wine California Red : Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
Varietal Cabernet Sauvignon : It is recognized worldwide, referred to as “king of grapes” and has easily become the most popular grape variety in the world. Cabernet Sauvignon has seemingly taken the world by storm. It has seen exponential growth and popularity in American and around the world over the past thirty years. The phrase “Cabernet is king,” is a common maxim in the world of wine. Cabernet Sauvignon wine has become so popular that when being referred to can be recognized by simple slang, such as “Cab” or “Cabernet. It might appear simple, straightforward and easily understood; yet, interestingly remains an enigma, which has both baffled and excited oenologists since its discovery.

The exact origin and circumstances of this world-altering event are still enigmatic; however, at the end of the 20th century, UC Davis Scientists (John Bowers and Carole Meredith) were able to solve part of the mystery using DNA fingerprinting technology that proved Cabernet Sauvignon to be the offspring of a surprising spontaneous crossing of Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. By the 18th century there were already records of Cabernet Sauvignon being well-established on the west side of the Gironde Estuary (Left Bank) in the Medoc and Graves.

Although tremendously popular in California and what seems to have become the identity of Napa Valley winemaking, Cabernet Sauvignon’s birth took place in the Bordeaux region of southwest France by fortuitous unification. Whereas Napa Valley experienced a winemaking renaissance during the 1970’s and 1980s (greatly due to the 1976 Judgement of Paris) quality wine from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape has been produced in the Medoc, on the Left Bank of Bordeaux for over 400 years.

Cabernet Sauvignon’s first recorded plantings in California can be traced back to the 1850’s when Antoine Delmas, a French nurseryman, brought French vines (including one called ‘Cabrunet’) to the Santa Clara Valley. Early cultivation suffered due to obscurity of the varietal and improper planting in inhospitable soil. It wasn’t until pioneers such as Robert Mondavi, Randy Dunn and Warren Winiarski with their amazing foresight and understanding of terroir, would the grape variety finally find its niche in California winemaking.

Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in warm climates moderated by a cooling marine influence. It is perfectly attuned to gravel-based soils with good drainage. Whether on flat land or a hillside, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape flourishes in proper climates and terroir, producing incredible yields. The thick grapevine is extremely vigorous allowing it to exploit its natural host. Its distinctive small, black berries (reminiscent of blueberries) adhere firmly to the stalk and are capable of a very long “hang time.” These berries are extremely concentrated, producing intensely flavored fruit. The thick skins of the grape are characterized as having highly astringent flavor, high tannin, acidity and dark color. Coincidentally, the variety has a special affinity for oak, which helps soften the bitterness.

Today, the Noble Bordeaux varietal of Cabernet Sauvignon is planted on 340,000 hectares (741,300 acres) of vineyards across the earth’s surface. From Sicily to Sonoma, Chile to Bordeaux, South Africa to Napa. It has found symbiosis in terroir hotspots that mimic that of the Medoc and Napa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon’s globetrotting has allowed the grape variety to take root all over the world, captivating its inhabitants and influencing winemaking. This serendipitous marriage between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc centuries ago, which offered to the world its progeny, has changed the landscape of winegrowing, winemaking and the face of the entire wine market forever. It has influenced blending, changed civilization and has cultivated a place for itself in today’s world… the very pinnacle.

Country US : As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
Region California : With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.

Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
Subregion Napa Valley
Appellation Oakville


Producer Groth : Though all of Napa is renowned for its production of quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville is one of those special sub-appellations where Cabernet is simply, magical.  It is home to some of the most iconic Cabernet Sauvignon produced in Napa Valley and is some of the most sought-after terroir in all of California.  In 1981, when Dennis and Judy Groth decided to lay roots in this famed terroir, their aim was to produce great Cabernet Sauvignon.  After only a few short years, the bar was raised when their 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded the coveted 100 point score.  This would set a high standard not only for Groth, but for all of Napa Valley, as it was the first American winery to receive such an honor.  The tale of the Groth legacy is not dissimilar to that of many other California wineries that have risen to stardom; however, it was Groth that set the benchmark for rest of the country.

Where Groth now resides, once were vineyards cultivated in the mid-1970s by Justin Meyer (co-founder of Silver Oak Cellars) to both Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Gamay (Valdiguie) and both varieties were being sold to other wineries at the time.  Dennis, in being thorough, wanted to sample wines from comparable vineyards to ascertain the quality of his own property.  When he tasted a 1978 Villa Mt. Eden Cabernet (produced from the site that is now Plumpjack Winery) he was so impressed that he ultimately contacted the winemaker of that particular wine, Nils Venge, who he eventually hired. 

Groth’s early sales spike can be directly attributed to one man’s praise, the highly esteemed Robert Parker, who in 1984 wrote complementary notes about their wines.  Such was Parker’s influence that it immediately resulted in a rapid increase in sales of their wines.  The following year would be a momentous occasion in Parker’s own career.  Parker awarded his first 100-point score to an American Winery for their 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.  This resulted in lines of customers waiting outside the winery in hopes of purchasing the wine (which is done online today).  This set a high standard for Groth as their reserve is only made during certain years when it meets their exacting quality standards.  In some instances, the Reserve may not be produced for four to five years.

The 1990s brought about many improvements to the estate, including the replanting the vineyards.  The vine row orientation was changed from east-west to north-south, allowing breezes from the San Pablo Bay to flow more easily through the vineyards.  Increased air circulation reduced the need for fungicides, which is better for the wine and for the environment.  Today, the planting of cover crops has increased soil organic matter, the soil has a higher water-holding capacity which allows for less frequent irrigation.  Specialized farm equipment is used to control weeds without the use of herbicides.  The addition of owl boxes, raptor perches, and blue bird boxes on the property has helped with naturally controlling pests and insects.  The Groth’s are dedicated to sustainable, healthy farming techniques.

Located in the heart of the Oakville District, Groth’s Estate vineyards span 121 acres on the valley floor of Napa.  Prominent neighbors in this premium vineyard neighborhood include Silver Oak, Screaming Eagle, Plumpjack and Saddleback cellars…not bad real estate.  Groth is renowned for their Estate and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, though their portfolio also includes a proprietary red blend (Oakville Cross) a proprietary white (Estate White) and Sauvignon Blanc.  Based on their excellent reputation, some people are not even aware they produce white wines.  The Groth’s also own Hillview Vineyard (10-minute drive from Groth Estate), located in the Oak Knoll District where they produce a single-vineyard Chardonnay.

The magic of Oakville lies in the terroir.  A breakdown of bedrock plates creates residual soils in the hills.  Along the margins of the valley, distinct alluvial soils form on the fans composed of material washed down from the adjoining hills during torrential rain events.  Along the axial part of the valley where the Napa River flows are fluvial soils, finer grained loam coming from upstream locations and deposited from floodwaters. 

In 2018, a re-plant project, that will take more than 30 years to complete, was set in place.  This project was to secure the future of the winery for the third generation of the Groth family.  With hope, intuition, a shared vision and their esteemed neighbors, the Groth family helped Oakville become recognized as one of the world’s preeminent wine regions.  Today, the Oakville AVA (American Viticultural Area) is home to largest concentration of the very best Napa Valley producers of Cabernet Sauvignon. 

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