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Snowden Vineyards

2021 Cabernet Franc Melchior Kemper Vineyard

With the patrician aromatics and lithe structure of the classic Bordeaux varietal, winemaker Diana Snowden Seysses describes the bouquet as “reserved and shifting” with hints of “violets, dried tobacco, rose petals and dark cherries.”  This unblended 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.  Harvested on September 11, 2021, the fruit was fermented with wild, native yeasts, aged for 19 months in French oak, and bottled unfined in the spring of 2023.  2,832 bottles were produced

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Wine Specs
Cabernet Franc
Napa Valley
Vineyard Designation
Melchior Kemper Vineyard
Harvest Date
September 11, 2021
19 months in French oak barrels, 30% new, 70% two years old
Bottling Date
May 4, 2023
Residual Sugar
Fermented dry, no sugar added
Alcohol %
Wine Profile
Vineyard Notes
The 2021 growing season began with very little water in the soils and continued to walk a fine line, right at the edge of the rainfall required to meet the physiological needs of the vines. Spring was mild and clear, so flowering unfolded under ideal conditions. Low rain resulted in short shoot growth and little little work to do in the “passes” to remove lateral shoots and then leaves. Fortunately, there were no heat spikes or drying offshore winds -- a heat wave would have been disastrous for the crop in such a dry year. The crop was light, with small clusters and tiny berries. The reds began coming in with the Merlot on September 6; the first Cabernet Sauvignon came in on September 11. Overall, yields were 30% to 60% below average, depending on the block, but the fruit quality was superb, giving us wines intense with nerve and style.
Winemaker Notes
Our Cabernet Franc is always a wine which waits for you to come to it. The 2021’s bouquet is reserved and shifting -- violets, dried tobacco, rose petals and dark cherries do a dance of the seven veils. On the palate, the tannins are fine and subtle. Blood orange, dark cherry and sage balance the sweet and savory for a mouth-watering finish.