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Signal Ridge Vineyard, Dubbed “The Crown Jewel of the Mendocino Ridge AVA” and a “Grower and Producer to Watch” by Decanter Magazine, Releases Its 2021 Pinot Noir and First-Ever Chardonnay 

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Decanter Awards 95 Points to the 2021 Signal Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay and 96 points to the 2021 Signal Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir 

BOONVILLE, Calif. (April 17, 2024)— Signal Ridge Vineyard, a boutique, family-owned winery in the heart of the Mendocino Ridge appellation—a region being hailed as one of the next critically acclaimed California AVAs for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay—releases its 2021 Flagship Pinot Noir and first-ever 2021 Chardonnay wine. These two wines exemplify the quality of the Signal Ridge Vineyard estate and begin to define its legacy. 

SIGNAL RIDGE VINEYARD. DRONE

“We started this journey in 1999. It has taken 25 years of constant evolution, learning and adapting to the rigors of growing grapes in such an extreme site, but the reward comes in the form of gorgeous, unique wines,” said Roger Scommegna, founder and owner of Signal Ridge Vineyards. 

Signal Ridge Vineyard resides at an elevation of 2,742 feet on weathered-in-place mountain top soils nine miles from the Pacific Ocean. The site falls within the Mendocino Ridge AVA, a truly unique American viticultural area that encompasses a series of non-contiguous peaks all rising above 1,200 feet elevation. The estate, perched on a ridgetop peak named Cold Spring Mountain, encompasses 100 acres with only 18 plantable vineyard acres. 

The site’s extreme nature and cool, coastal climate demand intensive hand tending and intuitive farming practices. Signal Ridge Vineyard’s long commitment to organic, regenerative viticulture and dry farming has resulted in resilient, deeply rooted vines that weather the ever-changing climatic conditions with ease. Winemaker Joanna Wells has scoured California’s Grand Cru vineyards for Massale selections of California Heritage clone Chardonnay varieties. Six clones of Pinot Noir were thoughtfully selected to best suit the fractured marine sediment soils and to create wines of depth and concentration. 

“Diversity is everything. At nearly 2,800 feet elevation, our vineyard is always above the fog and our vine rows are situated on extraordinarily steep slopes, allowing for even more complexity within each block,” said Wells. 

In the cellar, winemaker Joanna Wells employs a gentle touch to allow for the ultimate expression of the estate. Grapes are hand-picked, sorted, and placed in a combination of small, upright oak and concrete fermenters. The use of concrete and wood vessels promotes a slow and controlled fermentation that encourages the health of the native yeasts while also preserving natural acidity and enhancing mineral texture. 

Chardonnay grapes are fermented in neutral French barriques and concrete tulips, and the final aging is completed in stainless steel. Pinot Noir grapes are co-fermented with one-third whole clusters, which helps balance the site’s inherent richness and adds to the finished wine’s aromatic complexity. After fermentation is complete, the wine is transferred to neutral French oak barrique, where malolactic fermentation occurs naturally and at its own pace. The wine is then aged for 18 months before being bottled unfined with minimal effective SO2. 

DECANTER REVIEWS: 

2021 Signal Ridge Vineyard, Estate Chardonnay, Mendocino County, Mendocino Ridge, California, USA (LINK

95/100, Decanter: “A beautifully refined Chardonnay with irresistible pure fruit flavours, tension, and vivacity. Alluring quince, lime zest, Marcona almonds, and Lily of the Valley all embody a heady bouquet. At the same time, the wine layers itself on the palate with a penetrating core of quince and Marzipan enveloped in vanilla essence. What’s most striking is the minerality, which has three-dimensional qualities, evoking round wet river stones and fractured slate, which, married with the crystalline acid tension, brings the wine into focus and carries the finish for well over a minute. On top of all that complexity, it is one of the brightest wines from the entire appellation and a true testament to the slice of spectacular terroir that is Signal Ridge Vineyard at 835m high. The owner is Roger Scommegna, and the winemaker is Joanna Wells.” 

2021 Signal Ridge Vineyard, Estate Pinot Noir, Mendocino County, Mendocino Ridge, California, USA (LINK

96/100, Decanter: “Smoky clove, conifer, and black cherry notes are dusted with black pepper and crushed spicebush leaves. Linear and lean on the palate, with supreme elegance. Medium-bodied, showcasing cranberry and blood orange flavours with sappy tannins and a host of brown baking spices resolving with black liquorice notes. Coiled-up acidity lays a serious foundation and focuses this wine, which is best decanted from the crown jewel of the Mendocino Ridge AVA perched at over 2,700 feet elevation.” 

About Signal Ridge Vineyard 

The Signal Ridge Vineyard was established in 1999 by Roger Scommegna and is among the first wineries to recognize the potential in the remote mountains of the Mendocino Ridge AVA. The name is derived from an abandoned fire watch tower that still adorns the estate’s apex at 2,742 feet. Today, Signal Ridge is the highest-elevation vineyard in all of Mendocino, Sonoma, and Napa counties. (For reference, Hirsch hovers at 1,600, and Kongsgaard caps out around 2,300 feet.) Signal Ridge can be found online at www.signalridge.com, and on social media @signalridgevineyard.

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