2004 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Estate Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: The dreams from which wines are made
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure another stellar 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery:Signorello Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2004 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Ray Signorello, Jr.
Backgrounder: Napa Valley is revered worldwide as the ultimate area in which to produce Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2004 vintage has produced some of the most amazing examples on record. Today we send Agent Red to Signorello Vineyards, where winemaker Ray Signorello, Jr. makes wines of quality and distinction. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet with a darker heart and solid color-concentration right out to the edges of the glass. This wine has a very tight surface, but settles fast on swirling, leaving behind skilly and widely-spaced legs move down the glass quickly
Smell – Classic Napa Cab aromatics of deep blackberry, black plum, cassis, tobacco and leather, with subtle cocoa and vanilla with mildest cigar box
Feel – Cool and light at the front of the mouth, then the wine’s medium tannins take hold softly on the mid-palate as the wine coats your mouth
Taste – Beautifully balanced with layers of bright fruit and darker, smoky flavors. Presnt here is a delicious and mouth-filling collection of mixed berry, dark cherry, cassis and sweet currant, with the darker flavors of black plum, smoky herbs and toasted oak
Finish – Big flavors persist for a long time here, but the wine eventually finally tails off with a mouth-watering acidity and soft to medium tannins
Conclusion – Brilliant! This wine delivers sophistication and big, delicious flavors that make you want to keep sipping! 2004 Napa Cabs have consistently blown us away, and just when we thought that we had tasted the pinnacle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon perfection, along comes this stunner of a wine; It strikes a perfect balance while delivering great character, deep aromatics and great flavors. I suspect that the wine will improve for years to come, improving the feel and flavors of this nearly-perfect wine.
Because this wine is in limited supply, be sure to grab up as much as you will need. Drink now or cellar for another 10 or more years.
_Today we present another in a series of winery interviews. Agent Red spent some time with Signorello Winery’s, Director of Marketing (and overall go-to guy at the winery), Ryan Shenk. What follows is an extract of their talk_:
AGENT RED: I know how busy you are, Ryan, so thanks for taking some time to chat with me today.
RYAN SHENK: My Pleasure, Agent Red! We’re excited to have our 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon featured on The Wine Spies. This is our best wine and I am sure that your Operatives will love it.
RED: Our Operatives know that 2004 was a banner year for Napa Cab, so I expect them to procure an ample supply for their own collections.
RYAN: It’s a great wine, and it’s the wine that we pour the most love into. We’ve been making Cabernet Sauvignon since 1988 (Chardonnay since 1985), so we’ve had some time to perfect it.
RED: Ray Signorello, Jr., your winemaker, sort of fell into the wine business, didn’t he?
RYAN: Yes, his family purchased land in Napa when Ray Jr. was just a kid. That was in the 70’s. They purchased 150 acres that Ray’s father planned to retire on. The plan was to build a house at the top of the hill, but they were soon convinced by friends to plant Chardonnay grapes instead.
RED: At that time, Napa Chardonnay was just beginning to receive worldwide recognition. In fact, the famous Judgment of Paris was won by a Napa winery, beating out several big French wines!
RYAN: Exactly. Back then, Napa was just beginning to emerge as a top wine making region. Ray Jr. was really at the forefront of Napa wine. His family stated off by growing and then selling grapes. soon after Ray Jr. became a winemaker for Signorello’s own wines.
RED: How did he really get into the business, though? Ray Jr. was starting a career in real estate in San Francisco when the family really got going in the business.
RYAN: Ray Jr. would return home to Napa on the weekends, where he learned the art of winemaking. Soon after, he joined his father in the business and worked full-time to build the winery and make great wines.
RED: Ray Jr. does make great wines. I am really impressed with the elegance of this 2004 Cab. Its delicious and very supple. What’s happening at the winery these day?
RYAN: Well, like all of our friends and neighbors, we are rushing around, preparing for the coming harvest! We’re getting the equipment ready, cleaning and sanitizing everything, getting the bins ready, fueling the tractors, and, most importantly, checking the sugar levels in the grapes.
RED: I would imagine that you don’t see much of Ray this time of year.
RYAN: Oh, we see him zipping around, but mostly he’s in the fields, checking on the grapes, measuring and waiting for that magical moment that sets the harvest team into a frenzy of activity!
RED: I know that this is a busy time of year for everyone in the winery. I thank you for spending some time with me today!
RYAN: Thanks, Red. Cheers to you and your Operatives. Enjoy our great Cab!!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Signorello vineyard and winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Signorello Vineyards, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Our Signature Wine, expressing characteristics of cassis, plums and tobacco, with hints of vanilla. Enjoy with dark chocolate, cheese, steak, or venison!
Our signature wine is chocolate colored and opens to coco bean, allspice, and vanilla. The lush, full-bodied palate continues with flavors of black currant and hints of tobacco. This wine’s incredible balance and long finish is accentuated by its integrated tannins and lush flavors. Enjoy with chocolate, cheese, Filet Mignon, NY Strip steak, Flat Iron steak or venison. Drinkability: Now to 2020
Our Estate program follows traditional French winemaking practices. Techniques include the use of extended maceration (each lot averaged 25 days on the grape skins) and frequent pumping-over (three times a day). The 2004 vintage aged for 21 months in 45% new Troncais, Nevers and Alliers Oak (thin-staved, medium & medium-plus toast Chateau Ferre barrels). Tonnelleries: Seguin Moreau, Radoux, Demptos and Sylvain and Doreau. Barrels were topped monthly and racked every 6 months. To preserve fruit intensity and body, the wine was not filtered prior to bottling on May 23, 2006.
Our estate vineyards planted in 1990 on the Napa Valley hillsides east of the Silverado Trail provided the grapes. A variety of exposures increased the wines complexity. Western slopes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Eastern slopes: Cabernet Franc and a second Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. Crop level and vine growth were closely monitored to achieve balance and intensify fruit character. The vineyards are densely planted (1240 vines per acre) and vertically trellised. The rocky soil with moderate amount of clay averaging three feet in depth provides excellent drainage.
Winemakers are predicting a memorable vintage for 2004 with fruit that bears the imprint of an early spring and a slow and steady ripening period that ended with a fast, hot finish several weeks ahead of traditional harvest times. A warm consistent summer was bracketed by an early spring but break and several late summer hot spells, creating growing conditions that allowed for one of the earliest harvest periods in almost a decade. Some varieties showed a lower yield than expected producing fruit quality that looked very good!
About The Winery:
Ray Signorello Jr. began his journey as winemaker and vineyard owner in the Napa Valley during the mid 1980’s. Ray, born in San Francisco, California, moved to Vancouver, Canada where the Signorello family continues to maintain a home. Ray divides his time between Napa, San Francisco, Vancouver and business related travel. Ray’s father, Ray Sr., initiated the vineyard project during the mid 1970’s by purchasing the 100-acre estate located on the Silverado Trail in the beautiful Napa Valley. Ray Sr. worked side by side with Ray Jr., establishing the winery’s reputation for excellence until his passing in the fall of 1998.
No Turning Back – Signorellos’ original plan was to grow quality grapes to sell to existing wineries, but the harvest of 1985 changed this plan into a new level of evolvement. The bountiful crop allowed Signorellos to custom crush the excess grapes. This opportunity demonstrated what fabulous wine their vineyards were capable of producing. The project continues to grow, as do the spectacular 42 acres planted in several different varietals. Ray’s continuing effort represents the invested energies that created this reality from a dream.
In 1986 the Signorellos began the second phase of the venture, this was the building of the main winery structure. This beautiful building is used for barrel storage, wine tasting and retail sales. Along with the building of the winery, wine production was expanded to include Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. By the end of the 1980’s the Signorello family was thoroughly committed to making wine as well as growing grapes.
The decade of the nineties proved to be pivotal for Signorello Vineyards. In 1990 the first planting of red varietals began on the property- Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.
What brought the Signorellos to the Napa Valley was the romantic side of winemaking; growing grapes, working the land, and enjoying the wine country lifestyle of camaraderie, good wine and great meals. While the Valley lifestyle is a very real part of the business, there is a serious responsibility to making a dream become a reality, both father and son realized this fact early in the endeavor.
This venture was a dream; now it is reality. We have enjoyed every moment of it, and we look forward to continuing on to make quality wines from the Napa Valley!