A visit to Signorello Estate

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Signorello Estate on Napa’s Silverado Trail has earned an excellent reputation for superb wines over the past 25 years, and now the jewel in its crown is its ‘Enoteca’, a 4-course lunch paired with estate wines.

It may be one of rare plated lunch experiences you can have at a Napa winery but be prepared to pay for it. The lunch is $115 per person and with tax and tip will run you about $150 per person. For that price I’d want to have some sun and vineyard views, and unlike their poolside tables that have fabulous views across the Napa Valley, the Enoteca is inside a dining room.

However, the food is superb and the wines exceptional. Sue Straight, the tasting room manager and our Enoteca host, explained that at 7,000 cases a year Signorello is still a small, boutique producer – and the focus is on quality.

Chef Britny Sundin did a fabulous job at explaining her reasoning for each course. Chef changes the menu all the time depending on the season. Much of the food is sourced from their organic garden and features the Snake River Farms American Kobe Wagyu Beef. I liked this place as it has a feel of a small winery and being appointment only there were just a few people around. The building is Italian in style, but not over the top. The staff were warm, knowledgeable and welcoming. The wines are hands down the best you’ll get to taste for any lunch pairing, and pours are generous.

“You won’t find any Jesus Juice here”, Sue pointed out. Jesus Juice we learned is when grapes are left so long on the vines and the wine is so rich it needs to be watered down. “Ray (Signorello)’s goal is to make wines that are not big or over the top in alcohol, but a little bit more refined, balanced and elegant.”

Enoteca Menu

  • Summer Melon salad paired with 2011 Hope’s Cuvee Chardonnay
  • Pork filet with Pappardelle and summer squash paired with the 2011 Syrah
  • Snake River Farms Wagyu Kobe beef paired with the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cheese plate & brownie paired with the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

What I would compare this experience most closely with is Robert Mondavi’s Harvests of Joy lunch ($115 per person) and Chalk Hill Estate’s Lunch & garden tour ($100 per person).   Both are excellent, with the main difference being the grander estate tours and legacy of the owners presented. But, for the quality of food and wine Signorello’s is certainly as good as these two, but pricier. I did not like the way they surprise you by adding the tip automatically added and with tax the price comes to around $150 per person.

Still, it is rare to have lunch in a winery in Napa (most wineries do not have permits for food service) so it is another excellent addition to Napa’s culinary experience.

Expert tips:

  • If the Enoteca price point is too much for you may be better off to have a tasting with cheeses on the poolside patio. ($35 – $65 per person)
  • Signorello is appointment only (although we saw lots of cars trying to sneak through the gates). Be sure to call ahead.
  • The Enoteca experience caps out at eight people so be aware that if you are in a smaller group you may join others.

WineryCritic Ratings

9/10 Overall visitor experience

9/10 Knowledge of guide

9/10 Location

9/10 Architecture and design, landscaping

9/10 Other experiences (cheese & wine pairings)

10/10 Friendliness of staff

9/10 Signage & ease of access

10/10 Quality of the wines poured & Food quality

8/10 Value for money

Appointment required: Yes

Address: 4500 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558

www.signorelloestate.com

Tasting fees & experiences:

  • $35 per person – Bacchus Tasting Bar:Five estate wines paired with artisanal cheeses. Includes short walking tour of vineyard.
  • $65 per person – Terrace Tasting: Five estate wines paired with artisanal cheeses and charcuterie. Includes short walking tour of vineyard. 10am & 3pm.
  • $115 per person – Enoteca Signorello: Four course lunch paired with Signorello estate wines and walking tour of vineyard. 12pm by appointment only. (Add tax & gratuity) Wednesday-Sunday by appointment only. Please arrive 15 minutes early and allow 2 hours.

Open daily 10:00 am – 5:00 pm by appointment only.

Good for: Foodies, Cabernet lovers

Wines produced:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Semillion / Sauvignon Blanc blend, Syrah

What’s nearby:  Darioush, Trefethen, Judd’s Hill, Clos du Val

District/Appellation: Oak Knoll, Napa Valley

Contact for appointments:

Tel: 707.255.5990 or book online at Cellarpass 

Date of visit: June 22, 2014

Email: mindy@winerycritic.com

Have you been to Signorello Estate? What was your experience like? Please post below.