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Snowden Vineyards

2018 Cabernet Franc Melchior Kemper Vineyard

With the patrician aromatics and lithe structure of the classic Bordeaux varietal, this Cabernet Franc comes from 962 vines planted at 800 feet of elevation in our Melchior Kemper Vineyard -- named after the man who owned and farmed the ranch from 1881 to 1895.  100% Cabernet Franc, fermented with wild, native yeasts, aged for 18 months in French oak, and bottled, unfined and unfiltered, in the spring of 2020.  350 cases produced.

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Wine Specs
Cabernet Franc
Napa Valley
Vineyard Designation
Melchior Kemper Vineyard
Harvest Date
September 26, 2018
18 months in French oak barrels, 50% new, 50% used
Bottling Date
April 13, 2020
Residual Sugar
Fermented dry, no sugar added
Alcohol %
Wine Profile
Vineyard Notes
The 2018 spring was mild with just enough rain accumulating in the ground over winter. Both bud break and flowering occurred a bit late, under even weather conditions of abundant filtered light creating plentiful and even fruit set. This filtered light was due to wildfires elsewhere in the state, creating a layer of smoke very far up in the atmosphere which reduced UV rays by 30% -- but which never reached ground level to interact with the fruit. The relatively mild summer and autumn, with few days above 100°C and even, moderate temperatures, allowed for slow and gentle ripening. Harvest was late and drawn out, for the red varieties extending from the 20th of September for our Merlot to the 14th of October for our Petit Verdot. The berries and clusters were large, juicy, and perfectly healthy and ripe. The devastation of the 2018 wildfires aside, 2018 is a complete knockout. These are some of the brightest, most aromatically intense wines Napa has seen in almost a decade, with a finesse and a silkiness of tannins unmatched in recent memory.
Winemaker Notes
A perennial blending component of our Reserve wines of the past, this 2018 is our first release of a 100% Cabernet Franc. We could not be more delighted with this weightless, sublime beauty! It has intoxicating aromas of violets and juniper berries. On the palate it is seamless, ethereal, and long. It is like fine, transparent silk blowing gently in the wind. Flavors of cranberry and cedar ripple and weave, lingering for minutes.