Visiting Signorello Estate in Napa Valley
Posted by Gabe on May 4, 2011
I’ve been travelling to Napa Valley since the early 90’s. Even with trips out here several times a year there are wineries that have existed that whole time that I have yet to get to. With that in mind I try to scratch a few off of my list each time out so I can taste their wine and of course see what they’re up to. One such producer whose wines I’ve been drinking over the years is Signorello Estate located on Silverado Trail. Even before landing I had them on my short list of places to finally get to this trip. I’m happy to say I’m very glad I did.
The drive up the road to Signorello Estate from Silverado trail isn’t a long one, but when you reach the top you’re sure to feel like you’ve entered a special place. The grounds are stunning and the colors of the tasting room building inside and out are warm and inviting. When I reached their tasting counter I was greeted enthusiastically and noted that there are several tasting options. In addition to current release and Reserve flights poured in the tasting room Signorello offers tours, food and wine pairings and picnics on their patio. The food is cooked in house, actually right in the tasting room which features an open kitchen area.
The day I visited the current releases being featured included two whites and three reds. This tasting is available for $15. The reserve tasting featured fived reds; within that a three year vertical of their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and two vintages of “Padrone” their Proprietary Estate Blend. Depending on the day you go, they may have other treats open for you to sample. For example I got to experience a Cabernet Franc that was simply out of this world. One of my favorites amongst the current releases is their white blend “Seta.” This classic Bordeaux inspired blend is 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc, flipping the formula on most of the White Bordeaux style wines you’ll run across in California. It’s a really lovely wine that features a gentle palate layered with lots of flavor and a slightly zippy finish with good length. It’s delicious on its own but it’ll really work fabulously with lighter foods.
At the other end of the spectrum I thought that their proprietary Red “Padrone” was a knockout wine. I tasted both the 2006 and 2007. Currently the 2007 is a bit more accessible and ready to drink. However both are beefy, Cabernet based wines that will age gracefully for a minimum of 15 years. Other wines I tasted included Chardonnay, Syrah and Zinfandel. There’s clearly a house style at Signorello; Proportion, grace, balance and precise power are the words I’d use to describe that style. Each wine I sampled was loaded with varietal character and made in a food friendly style. I had the chance to speak to Pierre Birebent for quite awhile and he’s a charming host and great ambassador for these wines, not to mention a killer winemaker. He’s been at Signorello since 1998 after working at several other places as a vineyard manager, a title he also retains here. His passion for making excellent wines that are balanced but not wimpy was obvious in speaking to him. He’s clearly achieving his goal.
Out in back of the tasting room is beautiful patio and pool, where events and some of the tastings take place. The view is nothing short of stunning. Truthfully it took me much longer to visit Signorello Estate than it should have. One thing is for certain, it won’t take me nearly as long to get back. Their picnic on the patio sounds way too tempting, plus the wine is outstanding. I highly recommend you add Signorello to the itinerary on your next trip to Napa too! These folks are doing a wonderful job and a stop will be well worth your time and money.