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by Fred McMillin
For Signorello's a Good Fellow
In 1993 I was suprised to learn that a Napa vintner lived within walking distance of my apartment. I was even more suprised by his 1991 Napa Valley Chardonnay (700 cases). Here's what Wine Spectator critic James Laube wrote about it. "Delicate and complex, with layers of honey, pear, vanilla and nutmeg flavors, a smooth, supple texture and spicy honey notes." No wonder my panel gave it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
The vintner-winemaker was Ray Signorello, Jr. His dad had purchased 100 acres near the prestigious Stag's Leap District when the price was right in 1977. They planted vines and had no trouble selling their coveted fruit to wineries. But Ray Jr. is a gifted winemaker, so before long they built a 3,000-case boutique winery.
Now Ray is a creator. I have a 1993 note from him saying he's getting better Chardonnays by fermenting a good portion of the Chardonnay with wild yeast, NOT crushing the Chardonnay grapes before pressing the whole clusters (made a silkier wine), etc. How did all this work out? Here's what some of the sharpest observers say.
Wine historian Charles Sullivan—"High marks for a wide variety of wines." Bob Thompson, WINE ATLAS—"Lofty reputation." Prof. John Baxevanis, Wine Regions of America—"Sensational."
Hence, our Wine of the Day is the latest release...
Postscript—Like Father Like Son
I like Jim Wood's (S.F. Examiner) description of the Signorello's creation on the Silverado Trail: "Signorello Vineyards is like an elegant jewel, not very large, but beautiful and loved."
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