Cabernet Franc Melchior Kemper Vineyard – 2021



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.

The Wine

Vineyard Profile

962 vines from a single acre of Cabernet Franc at 800 feet. Vineyard named for the person who owned and farmed the ranch from 1881 to 1895.

  • Soils: Rhyolite (volcanic sand)
  • Melchior Kemper purchased the ranch from Levi Philander Davis in 1881 for $2,350 in gold coin
Harvest Notes
  • Growing season began with very little water in soils
  • Mild, clear Spring led to good flowering
  • Very short shoot growth in late Spring – very little canopy managment needed
  • No heat spikes or drying offshort winds during the season
  • Moderate, even temperatures through early Fall
  • Drought conditions created light clusters and tiny berries – yields 30 – 60% below average
  • Hand harvested September 11, 2021
  • Fermented using only indgenous wild yeasts
  • Aged 19 months in 50% new French oak barrels
  • Bottled May 6, 2023
Winemaker's 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.

Wine Summary

100% Cabernet Franc; 13.5% alcohol; single block of Cabernet Franc at 800 feet; grown in Rhyolite (volcanic sand) soils; hand harvested on September 11, 2021; fermented with only indigenous yeasts; malolactic fermentation in 50% new French oak barrels; aged 19 months; bottled unfined and unfiltered on May 6, 2023.

Technical Information
  • 100% Cabernet Franc
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Grapes organically grown


92 Points

The 2021 Cabernet Franc is a complex, dynamic wine. Crushed herbs, mocha, spice, blood orange and red cherry fruit are nicely delineated in this vibrant, mid-weight offering from Snowden. Readers will find a Franc that emphasizes energy and saline-infused freshness. Terrific. 2024 – 2033

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, December, 2023

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)