Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch – 2017



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

Wine Blend Vine Age Soil Type Vineyard Area ha or acres
Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 85%, Merlot 15% Planted 1994, 1997, and 2011 Rhyolite (volcanic) sand 8.9 acres

The Wine

Vineyard Profile
  • Cabernet from Pool Block at 650 feet altitude and Lost Orchard at 800 feet altitude
  • Merlot from Lost Vineyard
  • Soils: Rhyolite (volcanic sand)
Harvest Notes
  • Hand harvested between 9/6 and 9/26/2017
  • Fermented with native yeasts only
  • Malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels, 50% new, 50% used
  • Aged in barrels 17 months
  • Bottled unfined, unfiltered in April 2019
Winemaker's Notes

2017 Ranch is a classic, compelling Cabernet-driven wine.  It opens with inviting aromas of pencil lead, black plums, and brambles. On the palate there are equal measures of structure and generous fruit, reminding me of two stone arrowheads I recently found walking the vineyards at the ranch – once a regular occurrence, these were our first such finds in more than 30 years.  The Ranch 2017 is just perfect in proportion, precision, and weight.  Polished and strong, this wine can be enjoyed immediately and over the next 10 years.

Wine Summary

85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot; alcohol: 13.8%; Cabernet from Pool Block at 650 feet, Lost Orchard Vineyard 800 feet; Merlot from Lost Vineyard; hand harvested in September; fermented with only native yeasts; malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels, 50% new, 50% used; aged in barrel 17 months; bottled unfined and unfiltered in April 2019.

Technical Information
  • 85% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% Merlot
  • Alcohol: 13.8%


90 Points

The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch is an attractive, mid-weight wine that shows the more gracious, understated side of the year. Floral and spice notes give the 2017 lovely aromatics to play off a core of sweet red berry fruit. This is a very pretty wine. 2020-2030

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, January, 2020

16.5 Points

Silky and polished – not chasing intensity. Tannins a little dusty on the end, but a welcome change from turbo-charged. 2019 – 2026, January, 2019

91 Points

This is nicely packed, showing polished cassis and plum reduction notes layered with smoldering tobacco accents and a hint of alder.  A touch toothy through the finish as the toast hangs on, but the fruit core is plenty solid, and that should win out with some cellaring.  Best from 2021 through 2030.

Wine Spectator, November, 2020

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)