Grochau Cellars Commuter Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2018

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Winemaker Note:
This wine is all about the bright fresh purity of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir! The Commuter Cuvée is our first release Pinot Noir each year and is a blend from multiple Willamette Valley vineyards that capture the essence of each vintage. It’s a wine for every occasion from a family dinner to relaxing in front of the TV. Take it to the beach, the mountains, the office party or along on a bike ride (not encouraging, just saying). This is your anytime go-to bottle. Drink up!

Winemaking:
The grapes had a short three to five-day cold soak as the warmth of the days started off fermentations fairly quickly. Most fermentations lasted around 12 days and were pressed off after 16 days on the skins. The resulting wine was aged in French oak (none new, 5% twice used, the rest neutral) staying on its lees for nine and a half months before going into tank for bottling. We always pick on the early side of ripeness to highlight the bright and fresh red fruits that we love in Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, but with the cool finish to the 2017 vintage, we were able to get some of the darker fruit flavors while still capturing the freshness and keeping the alcohol at a respectable 13.3%. Due to the great balance of the grapes, we used less whole clusters than we do in warmer years, with 6% of the stems being used in the fermenters.

Harvest:
For the last 3 years bud break started early, but in 2017 we saw a return to the “old normal,” at least for the first 4 months of the year. After a cool early spring, bud break began in the middle of April. The summer months started off cool, but once we hit late June, the heat came and stayed. Just as harvest approached, a rainstorm came in and slowed the vineyards’ rush to ripeness, giving the grapes time on the vine for flavor and tannin development and the winery more time to take care in our picking decisions.