Saturday, September 24, 2022

Signorello Hope's Cuvee BYOB at Suzette's Creperie Wheaton

 Signorello Hope's Cuvee BYOB at Suzette's Creperie Wheaton

Saturday night, date-night dinner out, we dined at Suzette's Crêperie Wheaton for authentic French cuisine in intimate casual setting. We've featured Suzette's Crêperie Wheaton several times in these pages, most recently back in May in this blogpost. 

This is pretty a replay of those earlier posts,  Suzette's Crêperie in nearby Wheaton (IL), is one of the few authentic French cuisine eateries in the western suburbs, and one of our favorite go-to casual fine dining sites. 

Sited downtown Wheaton city centre, adjacent the convenient muni parking garage, a block from the Metra station, Suzette's offers intimate casual fine dining, al fresco dining out front or on the rear patio, a private dining room for special dinners, and a bar, adjacent the authentic Suzette's Boulangerie & Pâtisserie, a French inspired bakery. 

We're delighted to see Suzette's has survived and started return to pre-covid normalcy, offering once again their broader menu entree selections beyond their namesake specialty Crêpe menu.

As with our recent visits, again tonight, I selected the 'daily special' Sole Meunière, which is one of my favorite dishes, along with the Country Style Pâté, another of my favorites.

As featured in recent previous posts in these pages, the Chicken Liver Mousse and slice of Country Style Pâté  are served with Dijon mustard, Cornichons and delicious Red Onion Marmalade with toasted Brioche on the side.  

Suzette's Sole Meunière is
served in the classic French style, Filets of Sole were dredged in flour, pan fried in butter and served with the resulting brown butter herb sauce, parsley and lemon, alongside spring vegetables and mashed potatoes. Wonderful, delicious, as usual. 

Knowing we would be ordering the Sole, we brought BYOB from our home cellar one of our current favorite rich Chardonnay's as an accompaniment, Signorello Hope's Cuvee Napa Valley Chardonnay.

This is the same wine we took BYOB on another earlier Saturday dinner outing that I featured in a previous blogpost Signorella Hope's Cuvee at Marco's Kitchen back in June.

Signorello Hope's Cuvee Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016

As posted in an earlier blogposts, we discovered and acquired (the then current release vintage of) this wine during our visit to the Estate on Silverado Trail in Southeastern Napa Valley during our Napa Valley Wine Experience in 2013. At that time I wrote about this label: "I am predominantly a red wine drinker and while I enjoy an occasional glass of white, most often with appropriate food, I don't normally get excited about a white wine. This chardonnay was the exception,  memorable and special."

We're getting down to the last few remaining bottles of the label that we've acquired over time.

(Former) Signorello Estate overlooking vineyards
and valley floor.

The Signorello winery sits at the very southern end of Napa Valley and has 43 acres of vineyards, including some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in all of Napa Valley - fruit from 37-year-old vines goes into his Hope’s Cuvée.

The magnificent Estate was destroyed in the fires that engulfed much of sections of Sonoma and Napa in 2017. Fires came down the foothills to the property that sat up the hill back from the highway.

The fire reached the winery and completely destroyed the hospitality center that also housed offices, a wine lab and a family residence upstairs. The adjacent  crush pad and stainless steel tanks survived intact along with the barrel cellar and equally if not most importantly, the vines of the adjacent vineyards. 

In the wake of the destruction from Napa Valley’s October 2017 Atlas Peak Fire, Ray Signorello vowed to rebuild. We're relieved to read about the Phoenix of Signorella Estate, rising from the ashes, literally, and being rebuilt, even grander and larger than before. Signorello said he viewed the tragedy as an opportunity to do something new and exciting and is rebuilding with a larger fermentation facility, wine caves and a stunning expanded hospitality center.

The winery has kept almost all of its team employed as an interim step toward returning to normalcy and they have been operating out of a modular building was brought in to serve as a temporary hospitality center.

The adjacent Darioush property nearby the sits at the valley floor closer to the highway and similarly situated properties were untouched.

Signorello "Hope's Cuvée" Napa Valley Chardonnay 2016

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate gave the 2015 release 98 points and said, "The best Chardonnay I have ever tasted from Ray Signorello has to be the 2015 Chardonnay Hope’s Cuvée." Vinous gave it 91 points.

Tonight's tasting was consistent with earlier tastings of this label. This Hope's Cuvée Chardonnay was full bodied but nicely balanced and polished for very pleasant drinking. It is bursting with flavorful fruit with layers of peach and poached pear giving way to hints of honey, almond, nutmeg, vanilla and creamy soft spicy oak. There is very pleasant full mouth-feel with rich texture on the palate with a long lingering finish of sweet mellow oak.

Golden colored, full bodied, rich and concentrated caramelized citrus, honeysuckle, white peach, pear and melon notes with a touch of almond and brioche.

RM 92 points.

Zaca Mesa Inceptive Red

Zaca Mesa Inceptive Santa Ynez Valley Estate Vineyard Rhone Red Blend 2018 with home grilled pizza

We discovered, tasted and signed up for the wine club for this wine portfolio during our Zaca Mesa Estate Winery and Vineyards Visit on the Santa Maria Valley Foxen Canyon wine trail during our Santa Barbara County Wine Experience this spring. 

We just received our wine club fall allocation this week and were eager to try two new labels so opened this tonight with home grilled pizza. 

This 2018 Inceptive is a blend of Rhone varietals Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, aged in a combination of neutral oak barrels, Italian concrete tanks, and amphora vessels. 

It was rated 92 points by Antonio Galloni, and 90 points by Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits.

This was dark garnet purple colored, medium bodied, a bit of alcohol heat that may burn off over time, tight black berry and black plum fruits with tongue puckering dry chalkiness with notes of cola, charred bacon meats, tobacco and tangy dry smoke.

RM 89 points.

Zaca Mesa Winery Twitter - @ZacaMesa_Wine