Located on the beautiful Silverado Trail in the heart of Napa Valley, Signorello Estate stands out from all others thanks to its luxury style meets humble elegance attitude.
The estate is a reflection of a unique Napa Valley hillside vineyard and its terroir. The vineyards were planted and cultivated by the Signorello Family, who purchased the property back in 1977. Signorello Estate is now run by Ray Signorello Jr., who is the third generation of the Italian-heritage family. His quest in life is to produce the perfect Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. All their wines are estate, which means the wine must be entirely produced, aged and bottled on-site, using only grapes harvested from the winery’s property. Given the expense and labor-intensive methods involved, the practice of making wine this way is not all that common in the valley nowadays. These traditional techniques are a testament to Signorello’s commitment to quality winemaking.
Pierre Birebent, winemaker and vineyard manager, is a Frenchman from Corsica. He hails from six generations of winemakers, so needless to say, wine runs in his blood! His winemaking style is old-world in the truest sense of the word as the majority of their winemaking process is still done by hand.
A few words about the wine…
Signorello wines are handcrafted and estate grown & bottled. They are more European styled wines i.e., more subtle & nuanced rather than jammy and overripe. This is partly due to the fact that they’re located in the southern portion of the valley, where it’s a little cooler than farther north. Their old vines and the low yields give the wines great character and elegance. Signorello owns 35-year-old Chardonnay vines (some of the oldest in the Valley) and 28 Cabernet vines. The vineyard management and the wine production are 100% vertically integrated i.e., they don’t outsource anything from vine to bottle. They retain complete management and control. Impressive!
What should you expect when visiting Signorello Estate?
Well, get ready for a wine and food experience like no other.
The winery is open by appointment only, and when you pass through the large entry gates, the gorgeous vineyards surrounding the Italianate style estate, are the telltale sign that you’re in for a touch of Italy right here in California.
On the day we visited, our experience began with a guided tour of the estate vineyard, followed by the outdoor tank room and winemaking buildings. Since we had opted for the Enoteca Tasting, our guide accompanied us to the Enoteca Room for the wine and food pairing portion of our experience. The room, elegantly appointed with a large antique wooden table in the center, has a shared glass wall with the tasting room. The room also shares a wall with the kitchen, where the Chef creates his delectable five-course pairing menu.
Our Estate Ambassador offered an in-depth explanation of the wines while the Chef shared his philosophy on wine and food affinities. He believes it’s his job to make the wine shine using the food component as a culinary vehicle to emphasize the wine’s best varietal characteristics. Based on his inspiration and the seasonality of locally-sourced ingredients, the menu changes nearly every day. This allows guests to gain a new perspective on the wines each time they visit, as there’s always a new set of food pairings to savor.
Just to give you a little teaser about the pairings (as we don’t want to spoil all the surprises in store for you), this was the first time I had tried Kobe Beef. Everything you hear about it is true. The velvety texture melts on your tongue and left behind is the sweet, subtle flavor of the most amazing beef you can imagine. Simply divine!
Here are the five outstanding wines we tasted:
- 2013 Seta: 58% Semillon, 42% Sauvignon Blanc. Notes of caramelized citrus, white currant and quince. Deliciously floral with a bright acidity.
- 2013 Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes: 100% Chardonnay. A rich elegance balanced by a crisp and fruit-forward finish.
- 2012 Syrah Estate: 96% Syrah, 4% Viognier. A deep and inky-purple color, this richly seductive blend highlights notes of dark cherry and dark berry fruits from the Syrah, and the co-ferment with Viognier offers lovely lifted floral aromas.
- 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc. This dense, opulent and full-bodied wine shows layers of graphite, black currants and blueberries. Expect this wine to age gracefully; it will drink exceptionally well over the next twenty years.
- 2012 Padrone Estate: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc. Crafted to evolve over three decades, this wine offers notes of charcoal, scorched earth, black currant, blackberry, chocolate and a touch of espresso. Full-bodied with a multilayered mouthfeel, this is a wine of great intensity.
The Signorello Estate tastings could be described as an expert blend of Old World winemaking with New World fruits…and a bit of food pairing science thrown in. Their passion for what they do is evident on both the palate and the plate.
Tip: at the beginning of your visit, let your Estate Ambassador know how deep you want to dive into the wine knowledge. He can give you just a basic primer, or if you really want to go for the “wine geek” aspects, they can accommodate that as well. Either way, prepare yourself to have an incredible luxury food and wine experience.
Here’s some more information about the Enoteca Tasting:
- Reservations: 48-hour advance notice
- Available: Thursday through Monday
- Duration: 2 hours, including tour and tasting
- Group size: 2-10 persons
- Price: $175/per person
Louise Veron – firstname.lastname@example.org
Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at VinoVisit.com
Originally from Bordeaux (France), I moved to the Napa Valley to work for VinoVisit.com in 2015. I just finished my trilingual Master’s degree in Wine Tourism and International Marketing and graduated with honors. As a real food and wine lover, I’m enjoying exploring the area and relating my discoveries from a very French point of view.