* THIS JUST IN: NEW REVIEWS FROM ROBERT PARKER on SIGNORELLO WINES *
2013 Signorello Estate Padrone
The 2013 Proprietary Red Padrone, the winery’s flagship wine, is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc
aged 21 months in 100% new French oak prior to being bottle unfiltered.
This wine exhibits an inky purple color, notes of graphite, blueberry, blackberry, a hint of cocoa and a dense, full-bodied superrich mouthfeel with good acidity and strong, but well-integrated tannin.
Give this wine 6-7 years and drink over the following 35-40.
- Robert M. Parker, Jr. (October, 2016)
2015 Signorello Estate Chardonnay Hope's Cuvee Napa Valley
The best Chardonnay I have ever tasted from Ray Signorello has to be the 2015 Chardonnay Hope’s Cuvée.
With its tiny yields, old vines and unfiltered style of keeping the wine nine months in barrel (of which half is new French oak and the rest used),this wine is absolutely spectacular.
The wine has a Montrachet-like richness with profound concentration from the tiny yields, loads of caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, white peach, melons and a touch of brioche.
It is full-bodied, but great acid, purity and length make for an incredible wine from this old vineyard’s clay and loamy soils.
Drink over the next 10-12 years as this has every indication of being long-lived.
- Robert M. Parker, Jr. (October, 2016)
2015 Signorello Estate Seta (Semillon /Sauvignon Blanc)
He makes one of the more intriguing and fascinating proprietary white blends, the 2015 Proprietary White Seta, which is 66% Sauvignon Blanc and 34% Semillon aged nine months in two-thirds
French oak and bottled unfiltered (somewhat of a trick, since there is no malolactic).
This is a serious Haut-Brion Blanc-like wine with notes of lanolin, sealing wax, caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, a touch of tangerine and exotic fruits.
The wine is medium-bodied and concentrated, with great acidity and freshness. The sad thing is, less than 100 cases were produced.
- Robert M. Parker, Jr. (October, 2016)
NOW BACK TO REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING:
Big. Bold. Bella. This will become clear as you read on. Ray Signorello says, "my passion is wine." I know what you're thinking. Yada Yada. What winemaker doesn't say that? But there is a difference in the intensity here. This guy means really, really means it. And there is no better proof than Signorello Wines. "I am always in the pursuit of excellence," Ray says, "but perfection is elusive."
But if the judgment of Robert Parker is the quantifiable definition of excelllence, Ray Signorello is pretty darn close. The 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon received 94 Points and the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Padrone brought in 97+ points.
According to the website, which BTW, is one of if not THE best winery website I have ever seen.... (And this just IN: the website is being updated. Same address, new stuff HERE
)! "Signorello Estate is a one-of-a-kind reflection of a wholly unique Napa Valley hillside vineyard and terroir. Planted and cultivated by the Signorello Family since 1977, these grapes are the foundation of their richly structured, intensely flavored Estate wines. Ray Signorello, Jr. has left no stone unturned, no philosophy unexplored, no ancient or modern viticulture and winemaking idea untried in his decades-long quest to produce the perfect Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for his customers."
Ray Signorello hosted a Burger Lunch at Red Stag in Asheville today for some of his customers. He shared what was very, very obviously his passion for wine. In the beginning, Ray was working toward a career on Wall Street. He started making wine as a hobby and 28 years later, he has carved a real niche in the Napa Valley Cabernet Market. Located on The Silverado Trail, Signorello is in good company with wineries including Shafer and Stag's Leap.
The philosophy is simple Ray says, "we keep our hands off the process as much as we can." That said, the wines are unfined and unfiltered. While Signorello Wines do a table proud now, they are built to last. Made with all French Oak, and only French Oak!!, the focus is, Ray says,"on collectors." The Reds can go over 20 years in the bottle. Even the Chardonnay can do 10!
Competition is tough in the wine business but Ray stays the course. "We do not pander with over oaked-under fruited wines," he says. "And I would not bottle a wine that I would not drink myself."
So, yes, these barrel fermented wines are as you might expect from Napa Valley "big" and "bold" but here's the "bella." Instead of being a big, bold, brash, perhaps even sloppy, just big for the sake of being BIG, smothering food in a wash of fruit flavored motor oil (sorry, I might have gone a little too far there), Signorello wines are partners. "Our wines are geared for food," says Ray. "The style is more Euro with good acidity and structure.
As it is not all that common to hear a California winemaker emphasize food compaibility. So I ask Ray why? "Might be my Italian heritage that dictates the food and wine interplay." Oh yeah. What do you drink, Ray, when not opening a bottle of your own? What is a good pairing? "White truffles and Barolo, maybe a little tagliatelle." Rays says without hesitation.
Ray was also inspired by his visits to Old World wine estates. He insists that his visitors to his winery experience his wines with their "natural companions: food." But at Signorello Estate, it's not just talk. The winery has an on-site chef. Equipped with a full-sized professional kitchen stocked with gourmet meats, artisan cheeses and vegetables fresh from estate gardens, the Estate Chef creates dishes harmonized to bring out the subtle nuances in Signorello wines.
The Signorello Estate Chef will guide you through a five course pairing experience explaining the pairing philosophy and describing each creation. This is a wine and food experience unlike any other in the Napa Valley. Want to go? In my head, I am already gone. "The Enoteca Signorello" is a 2 hour adventure on Thursday through Monday, March through November starting at noon for $175 per person.
Back to reality! Ray Signorello stopped by the shop last night and hosted a tasting of his wines. I had a chance to ask a few more questions while Ray graciously juggled a crowd of abot 30 wine fans. He appears in personas you see him in his stock photo, that is, sophisticated, sport jacket, Italian leather shoes, nice haircut.
So it came as quite a surprise when I asked Ray his favorite movie and he said "Gladiator" so fast my head was spinning. I don't know why I was not expecting that answer. But I just wasn't. Not that anyone can't respect even love "Gladiator" but I just wasn't expecting it. Ray loves the view into Roman life and remains partial to all things Roman. But would Ray ever grow Italian grapes in California? Maybe a Sangiovese? I say other California winemakers do. "No," Rays says as quickly as he let loose on "Gladiator!" Ray thoroughly and professorially explained, with a lot of complicated wine terms but, basically, California is for Cab!
What Ray poured:
FUSE: Ray chose to the name to emphasize the fusion of varietals. This blend of 86% Cabernet, 8% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petite Verdot received 90-92 Points from Robert Parker in Wine Advocate. Parker said: "This wine was still in barrel and shows loads of espresso roast, blackcurrants, and hints of white chocolate and spicebox in an elegant, yet authoritative, medium to full-bodied style."
And addressing the harvest, Parker said: "2013 may turn out to be the finest vintage I have experienced in tasting North Coast varietals over the last 37 years. it's a game changer in terms of the consistency of quality, the depth of quality, and the across-the-board excellence for so many wines."
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
“The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a beauty. Inky purple-colored, with notes of charcoal, graphite, blackcurrants and blueberries, the wine is dense, opulent, full-bodied, fresh and full. It should drink well for up to 20 more years.” 94+ Points Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, October 2015
WINEMAKING NOTES: Traditional French winemaking practices: native yeast fermentations, extended maceration (each lot averaged 25 days on the grape skins) and pump-overs twice a day. The 2013 vintage aged for 22 months in 64% new oak from Troncais, Nevers and Alliers, coopered into thin-staved, medium-plus toast Chateau Ferre barrels by coopers Tarransaud, Saury, Darnajou and Nadalie. To preserve fruit intensity and body, the wine was not filtered prior to bottling
And 2012 PADRONE
“This is a fabulous wine, meant to evolve over three decades. It offers up notes of charcoal, scorched earth, blackcurrant, blackberry, chocolate and a touch of espresso. A wine of great intensity, full-bodied opulence and a multilayered mouthfeel, this is a formidably endowed, serious Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated wine from vineyards with some of the best fruit on the estate. Drink it over the next 30 years.” 97+ Points Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, Oct. 2015
WINEMAKING NOTES: Traditional French winemaking practices: native yeast fermentations, extended maceration (each lot averaged 25 days on the grape skins) and pump-overs twice a day. The 2012 vintage aged for 22 months in 100% new oak from Troncais, Nevers and Alliers, coopered into thin-staved, medium-plus toast Chateau Ferre barrels by coopers Tarransaud, Saury, Darnajou and Nadalie. To preserve fruit intensity and body, the wine was not filtered prior to bottling on September 5, 2014.
And finally, you're thinking that I forgot to ask about the winery dog. Au contraire! Ray does not have a a dog of his own because he travels so often. BUT, there is a winery dog. And a mighty happy one with a vineyard full of friends!