Monday, June 12, 2023

Signorello Hope's Cuvee Napa Chardonnay 2014

Signorello Hope's Cuvee Napa Chardonnay 2014

Concluding a real estate transaction, Linda and I had an intimate mini-celebration dinner at home on the deck. I pulled from the cellar this premium Napa Valley Chardonnay for the occasion as a pairing with the roasted chicken with haricot verts, carrots and mashed potatoes.

Signorello Hope's Cuvee Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014

As posted in earlier blogposts, we discovered and acquired (the then current release vintage of) this wine during our visit to the Signorello 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."

As part of proper cellar management, we pulled from our cellar the oldest vintage release in our collection of the multiple vintages we hold of this label.  I had set this bottle aside over the weekend to open with Sis Pat in town since she was with us when we visited the winery (shown below), but we didn't get to it. 

(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 (Jr) 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 that sits at the valley floor closer to the highway and similarly situated properties were untouched.

Signorello "Hope's Cuvée" Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014

The 2014 Chardonnay Hope’s Cuvée is crafted from a selection of the best lots and barrels sourced from the thirty-five year old vines on the 5 acre estate vineyard in front of the winery overlooking the valley floor. There were 379 cases produced of this wine, which went through 44% malolactic and was aged in 56% new French oak. 

Winemaker/producer Notes - Hope’s Cuvée Chardonnay showcases our utmost dedication to excellence, named in honor of my mother, Hope Signorello. It benefits from an intimate understanding of our 5.12 acre parcel on the west side of our hill. Planted 36 years ago with clonal selections from one of the region’s earliest outstanding vineyards, it is now one of the oldest Chardonnay vineyards in Napa Valley. Night-time hand-harvesting into small trays protects the varietal’s refined and delicate flavors. This wild yeast and unfiltered Chardonnay can be enjoyed over the next 12 years. 

This release was awarded 96 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.

This is one of the few Chardonnays that we keep in our cellar that is vastly predominantly red wines. This was delicious and most likely at the apex of it's drinking profile, but likely not to improve from further aging, so time to drink up. The fill level, label, foil and most importantly, the cork were all pristine, in ideal condition, still wrapped in the tissue packaging, we acquired this bottle upon release and have held it in our cellar for nearly a decade.

Bright golden yellow colored, medium-full bodied, rich, textured, round fruits, hints of butterscotch and peach accented by honeysuckle, nut, stone, and what Parker calls "plenty of orange blossom, lemon custard and crushed rock notes. It is certainly very Burgundian and almost like a grand cru from the village of Puligny-Montrachet," with a long flavorful lip-smacking finish.

RM 94 points.