Petit Verdot Levi Philander Davis Vineyard – 2014



Since 1955, the Snowdens have farmed their vineyard high above the Napa Valley. In addition to the stunning views of St. Helena, Rutherford and the San Francisco Bay, the estate offers four separate sites producing remarkably complex and individualistic wines. Winemaking duties are in the capable hands of Diana Snowden Seysses. The winery produces Bordeaux blends from their estate vineyards and a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc from a small parcel they call the Lost Vineyard.

Grapes / Soils

Petit Verdot Planted 1962, 1981, 2009 Perlite (volcanic), sand 0.25 acres

The Wine

Vineyard Profile
  • We cultivate around 500 Petit Verdot grapevines in a single acre block adjacent to the Brothers Vineyard.  Its main purpose has been to complement our Brothers Vineyard and Ranch Cabernet Sauvignons, but for the past few years we have bottled a barrel or two as a varietal – initially to learn more about the block, but now because we like it so much.
  • No surprise, the wine is powerful – the surprise is that it is delightfully approachable – an education in the wineglass.
  • Our Petit Verdot block is named after Levi Philander Davis, who homesteaded the ranch in 1878.
Harvest Notes
  • Harvested September 20, 2014
  • Winemaker’s remarks on the 2014 growing season:  “Like 2013, the 2014 gave us a dry, warm growing year that led to an early vintage – the continuation of a weather pattern that began after the 2011 vintage and persists into the current 2016 season.  2014 stood apart for its even temperatures, with no heat waves or sunburned fruit.  We also harvested a larger crop than in the 2013 and 2015 vintages before and after.  The finished alcohols are slightly lower than those other vintages and the acidity slightly more pronounced.  The 2014 reds are savory and bright, yet delightfully light-footed and immediately accessible.”
Winemaker's Notes

Winemaker’s remarks: “Wild and woolly, the 2014 Petit Verdot is rich, concentrated, and inky, with a heady bouquet of grouse, brambles, grape jelly, and tobacco.”

Wine Summary
  • Made from Petit Verdot grapes.
  • Vine age – planted 1962, 1981, 2009; grown on soils of Perlite (volcanic), sand.
  • Fermented in stainless steel tanks, using naturally occurring yeast.
  • Aged in French Oak Barrels.
  • Aged for 18 months.
  • Bottled unfiltered.
Technical Information
  • 100% Petit Verdot
  • 14.8% alcohol
  • 99 cases made


88 Points

It takes courage to bottle 100% Petit Verdot, but certainly Snowden has done it with their 2014 Petit Verdot. It is a small cuvée, and is pretty tannic, but there are also wonderful floral notes, blueberry, blackberry and forest floor. My experience with Petit Verdot-dominated wine suggests aging can be an issue when they become increasingly rustic and coarse. But this wine does have good fruit and may turn out to be more interesting than others I have tasted. Certainly it is capable of lasting another 10-15+ years at the minimum.

© Wine Advocate, October, 2016

93 Points

The 2014 Petit Verdot Philander Davis is deep and unctuous, but also surprisingly medium in body.  A host of blackberry jam, spice, crushed rock, lavender, rose petal and spice notes infuse this striking, varietally expressive wine.  Most importantly, the 2014 is absolutely delicious.

Vinous, December, 2016

General Info

Country USA
Region Napa Valley
Appellation(s) Napa Valley
Proprietors Scott and Joann Snowden and Randy and Janet Snowden, managing directors of Snowden Vineyards
Founded 1955
Winemaker Diana Snowden-Seysses
Annual Production 2,900 9L cases
Farming (Sustainable, organic, biodynamic) Sustainable (including no chemical herbicides used in vineyards)