Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch – 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
  • Cabernet from the Lost Orchard Vineyard at the top of the property at 850 feet, coolest black on property
  • Cabernet from the Pool Block, the lowest estate vineyard at 650 feet with a West exposure
  • Merlot from Lost Vineyard block
  • Soils: Rhyolite (volcanic sands)
  • CS Vines Planted: 1997
  • CS Clone 8 on 110R rootstock
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
  • Merlot harvested September 6
  • Cabernet harvested September 11 – 12
  • Petit Verdot harvested September 30
  • Fermented using only wild, native yeasts
  • Aged 19 months in 50% new French oak barrels
  • Bottled unfined and unfiltered May 5, 2023
Winemaker's Notes

2021 is an exciting vintage for the Ranch cuvée. As always blended entirely from estate grown fruit, the Cabernet Sauvignon came from the Lost Orchard block at the top of the property and the Pool block at the lowest elevation on our 160 acre homestead, enhanced by Merlot from the Lost Vineyard block and a dash of Petit Verdot. The 2021 Ranch is dense and crunchy with aromas of crushed black cherries, brambles and plum. On the palate it is bright and full of red fruit, with a crisp finish. Enjoy this wine immediately and for the next 10 years.

Wine Summary

84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot; alcohol: 14.5%; soils: rhyolite (volcanic sands); fruit from Pool Block, 650 ft altitude and Lost Vineyard, 850 ft. altitude; vines planted 1997; hand harvested from 9/6 – 9/30/2021; wild yeasts only; fermented dry; aged 18 months in 50% new, 50% neutral French oak barrels; bottled unfined and unfiltered on 5/6/2023.

Technical Information
  • 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot
  • Alcohol: 14.5%


93 Points

Diana Seysses Snowden’s 2021 Ranch bottling is composed this year from a cépages of eighty-four percent cabernet sauvignon, fifteen percent merlot and one percent petit verdot in this vintage. It is raised in fifty percent new oak and comes in this year again at 14.5 percent octane. It delivers a very refined aromatic constellation of cassis, black cherries, cigar wrapper, a fine base of soil tones, just a hint of eucalyptus and a refined framing of nutty new oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and shows off a lovely core of ripe fruit, with fine-grained tannins, lovely balance and a long, complex and very elegant finish. This will need a good decade in the cellar to soften up its backend tannins, but will eventually be a velvety and really lovely bottle of Napa cabernet. 2033 – 2085

View From The Cellar, November, 2023

90 Points

The 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch is soft, supple and full of charm. Bright acids lift a core of red-toned fruit, spice, flowers, cinnamon and mint. This mid-weight, vibrant Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious today. It should drink well for another handful of years or more. It’s a fine introduction to the range. 2021 – 2031

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, December, 2023

91 Points

Delicate sage and cedar shadings accent bright cherries and dark berries in Snowden’s 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch. It’s medium to full-bodied and silky textured, with fine-grained tannins and a long, elegant finish. Not overdone in any dimension, this nicely restrained and balanced Cab finishes with a touch of mocha. Enjoy it over the next decade. 2023 – 2033

© Wine Advocate, December, 2023

94 Points

Alder smoke and warm earth lead the way, with a core of steeped black currant and blackberry fruit following closely behind. This is dense from start to finish, offering hints of savory, worn cedar and tar that add range and grip through the finish. Leans old school in feel. Best from 2025 through 2040. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.

Wine Spectator, February, 2024

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)