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Snowden Vineyards

2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Dum Spiro Spero

“Dum Spiro Spero” – while I breath I hope – is the Snowden family motto which has appeared on every label and every cork since we began producing our own wines 30 years ago.  For our 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, we are using it to mark a unique cuvée from a unique growing year, when winemaker Diana Snowden Seysses combined the Cabernet Sauvignon which would normally have gone into our Brothers and Los Ricos vineyard designates with Cabernet Franc from our Melchior Kemper block.  Diana loved the small clusters and small berries of 2020, which resulted in “spectacular concentration.  The bouquet is lifted with violets and beeswax.  Plum, black cherry, and Bramble lie beneath."  Writing in Vinous, wine critic Antonio Galloni noted "black cherry, chocolate, leather, licorice, and expresso ... this is a very fine 2020."  Fermented with wild, native yeasts, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 50% new, and bottled unfined in April, 2022.  Due to the fires of 2020, it is the only red wine we will be releasing under the Snowden label from the vintage.  11,220 bottles were produced, plus 240 magnums.

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Wine Specs
Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley
Harvest Date
September 9 to 20, 2020
18 months in French oak, 50% new 50% used
Bottling Date
April 25, 2022
Residual Sugar
Fermented dry, no residual sugar
Alcohol %
Wine Profile
Winemaker Notes
The 2020 season will be remembered for the dramatic fires and a growing season that was managed in the midst of a global pandemic. With the passage of time and a gradual return to normalcy, we have gained confidence in the wines of the vintage. The 2020 growing season began with a warm, dry winter – we didn't start to see rain and cold weather until the end of March. Summer brought very cool mornings and very warm days with some extreme heat spikes. The build-up to harvest was interrupted by two wildfires: the NLU lightening complex fires started on August 17th and the Glass Fire started on September 27. We harvested as we could between the fires. The low seasonal rain resulted in low yields, small berries and small clusters – which are generally very auspicious for wine quality. In the months that followed harvest, we exchanged information with other producers around the valley, consulted with academics, and invested heavily in an unprecedented regimen of laboratory testing. These all bore out our initial assessment that the location of the ranch had been favorable and a wine from the three blocks included in this blend would meet our standards for pristine aromatics, flavors and quality. While laboratory analysis of our other red wines was generally favorable, we eventually decided the 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Dum Spiro Spero would be the only red wine released under the Snowden label from the vintage.