Friday, November 5, 2021

Jack's Masterpiece Father Son (s) Celebration Tasting

Hall Jack's Masterpiece, Signorello Padrone for Father Son (s) Celebration Tasting

For eldest son Ryan's birthday we pulled from our cellar a special bottling label crafted and dedicated as a tribute to Father's Day and father-sons. We were joined by youngest son Alec who also brought a Napa Cabernet to share and compare. 

Ryan had open from his cellar a Signorello Padrone Napa Valley Oak Knoll District Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Alec brought a Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet, the Lede estate is a line of sight neighbor to Signorello, just down and across Silverado Trail, but across the geographic boundary, the foothill rise that separates the Stags Leap from Oak Knoll appellations.

To top off the tasting flight, I brought Hall Vineyards Jack's Masterpiece Napa Valley Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, another 2013 for a horizontal comparison with the Padrone. 

All these wines were spectacular with the fudge chocolate that Linda brought along - a perfect pairing that accentuated the enjoyment of it all. 


Signorello Padrone Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Our visit to the Signorello Napa Valley Estate Vineyard & Winery was one of the highlights of our Napa Valley wine Experience in 2013. 

This is a poignant memory as the magnificent Estate was destroyed by the Atlas Fire that ravaged the hills of Napa Valley and engulfed much of sections of Sonoma and Napa County in August, 2017. 

The fire came down the foothills to the property that sat up the hill back from the highway. The fire had winds that reportedly topped 70 mph on Atlas Peak that swept the flames down to the Silverado Trail area near Soda Canyon and destroyed the Signorello winery production facilities, offices, hospitality space and the Signorello family home. 

We viewed the devastation during our Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley visits in 2017 and Napa Wine Experience 2018. It was amazing how Signorello was destroyed, yet adjacent wineries such as Darioush were untouched. Notably, son Alec's and Vivianna's honeymoon to Napa Valley was cut short last year due to the ravishing Glass Fire that forced cancellation of a half dozen of their winery visits.  Signorello has become a symbol of the survival and recovery, and resurgence, the spirit of Napa (and Sonoma) wine producers.

The Signorello Napa Valley Estate Vineyard & Winery site sits on the base of the eastern slope of the Vaca Mountains overlooking Napa Valley near the bottom of Silverado Trail in the Oak Knoll Appellation of Napa Valley. At the very southern end of Napa Valley and the Silverado Trail, the estate has 43 acres of vineyards, including some of the oldest Chardonnay and Cabernet vines in all of Napa Valley with 40-year-old vines.  

Meeting the cousins at Signorello Estate
overlooking vineyards and valley floor.

Signorello is coming back, the Napa County Planning Commission approved their plan to increase annual production from 20,000 gallons to 50,000 gallons and annual visitation from 6,637 guests to 20,221 guests. 

The plans include construction of a 15,906-square-foot cave, increasing parking from 10 to 17 spaces and employees from four to 20.

 The Signorello family bought the Silverado Trail property in 1977, initially growing grapes that they sold to other wineries; they started producing their own wine in 1985.

Signorello Padrone Napa Valley Proprietary Red Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Padrone is Signorello's flagship wine, produced in honor of Ray Signorello Sr., the patriarch of the family and founder of the estate. Grapes for this complex proprietary red wine are sourced from two extremely rocky parts of the estate vineyard with minimal yields of only 1.3 tons per acre.  
Ray Signorello first made this wine in 1997, although the first vintage for Signorello was back in 1985. Most of the vineyard is between 30 and 40 years of age. 

This label was rated 96+ points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. 
This wine is a selection of the best lots chosen from the top rank 2013 vintage. The wine is sensational long, rich, complex and should age for 30 or more years.
The 2013 Padrone Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. This is aged in 100% new French oak.
Despite decanting and aerating a couple times, this was a brooding bruiser, a big bold concentrated and structured wine with a firm tannic backbone, this will age for another two decades or more and may be more approachable after a few more years of aging.

Dark blackish garnet colored, full bodied, complex, dense contrated powerful blackberry, black current and black cherry fruits (note the redundant 'black' fruits), with tones of bittersweet dark mocha chocolate, graphite, what Anthony Galonni of Wine Advocate refers to as 'scorched earth', creme de casis licorice, leather and hints of mint with a long tongue puckering tannin laced finish. 

RM 94 points.


Hall's Jack's Masterpiece Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

This special bottling is crafted from select grapes from the HALL Wines vineyards from their 500-hundred acre estate in the Rutherford Hills of Napa Valley and ten estate vineyards across the valley. 

This is a fun label and appropriate for the occasion. It is a special blend produced annually by Hall President Mike Reynolds dating back to when he was head winemaker there. The label features an original painting done by his son, Jack, who was eighteen months old at the time, who painted the picture and presented it to his father on Father's Day. 

As I have written in earlier posts, this is another very special wine for a several reasons; it is devoted to family, it is based on artwork, and it is a birthyear vintage for two of our grandkids. Our dearly beloved Lucy was an artist, our daughter Erin was educated in Art, Art History and Fine Arts, and taught art for several years, and Linda is a budding artist and studied and taught art history.

 With the current market price at $230  (Cellartracker average value), this is what one might call a 'special occasion' wine, set aside for celebrations such as this. We featured this wine for our Gala Family Christmas celebration wine dinner last year, and previously for a Covid Shutin virtual family dinner.

Our tastings at the Rutherford site have been highlights of several of our Napa Valley Wine Experiences such as this on back in 2013. We tasted this wine during with Kathryn Hall during the release tour tasting for Club Members in Chicago in 2018. Ryan also tasted and acquired this wine during a visit to the magnificent Hall Rutherford cave tasting room. We acquired this label as part of our Hall wine club allocations.

Son Alec selected Hall's Excellenz from their super premium collection for special gifting to clients for the holiday a year ago.

This vintage selection is also the birthyear of Ryan's daughter Marleigh and cousin Richie, eldest son of our daughter Erin. 

This was awarded 99 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points from Wine Spectator and 93 points from Vinous.

This is a premium blend, selected from the finest grapes from Hall's finest vineyards. All the pundits say it needs several years to shed its 'formidable tannic heft', and that it has three decades or more of longevity. 

From their reviews: "opaque purple color, opulent, full-bodied mouthfeel, deep, plush texture, dark, powerful and explosive, blueberry and blackberry fruits, blackberry jam, dark berry flavors, mocha-scented oak and notes of blackberry, licorice, hazelnut and brownie, espresso, chocolate, leather and super-sweet tannins.

This was clearly WOTN (Wine of the Night) - dark garnet with inky purple hues, full bodied, black and blue berry fruits - smooth, silky, velvety, polished, elegeant - a symphony of flavors, mocha, cognac, toasty oak, creme de cassis, tobacco and leather .. a long sensuous finish ... 

RM 96 points.


Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

This is a perennial favorite that we collect as members (Ryan) of their wineclub. We've visited the Stag's Leap District estate during numerous visits to Napa Valley. 

Alec is carrying on the tradition to the next generation with this label. 

It was fun to taste the next new vintage release of this label that we have collected and enjoyed for more than a decade. Alas, tonight it wasn't a fair fight against these two stellar, spectacular ultra-premium labels. It was a shadow of the Signorello with a similar profile and character but lacking in comparative depth or breadth. We'll save a proper review when we can taste this in an appropriate setting and pairing that will reveal its potential.  

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