Petit Verdot Levi Philander Davis Vineyard – 2018



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
  • Block from a 0.84 acre of Petit Verdot immediately adjacent to Brothers Vineyard at 800 feet
  • Soils: Rhyolite (volcanic sand)
  • Vines Planted: 1962, 1981, 2009
  • Petit Verdot block named for Levi Philander Davis, who homesteaded the ranch in 1878
Harvest Notes
  • Mild 2018 spring with just enough rain accumulation over winter
  • Bud break and flowering a bit late, even weather conditions of abundant filtered light and even fruit set
  • Filtered light due to wildfires elsewhere in California, creating layer of smoke very far up in atmosphere which reduced UV rays 30% – but never reached ground level to interact with grapes
  • Relatively mild summer and fall, with few days above 100º F and even, moderate temperatures ensured slow, gentle ripening
  • Last 2018 fruit harvested from Snowden on October 13
  • Natural, wild yeast fermentation
  • Fermented dry
  • Aged 15 months in used French oak barrels
  • Bottled unfined and unfiltered April 13, 2020
Winemaker's Notes

The family loves this wine for its flamboyance, fascinating floral aromas, subtle spicy edge, and the deep color so characteristic of Petit Verdot. This kind of “Goldilocks” vintage is what Petit Verdot waits for to show its stuff. Full of dark black cherries, licorice, and brambles, this untamed wine commands attention. Full, rich and chewy on the palate, it can take on grilled meat and spices which would wash out most wines.

Wine Summary

100% Petit Verdot; alcohol: 14.3%; vines planted 1962,  1981, 2009; single block of Petit Verdot adjacent to Brothers Vineyard at 800 feet; grown in Rhyolite (volcanic sand) soils; last block on property to be harvested on 10/13/2018; fermented with only native yeasts; malolactic fermentation and aging in French oak barrels for 15 months; bottled unfined and unfiltered 4/13/2020.

Technical Information
  • 100% Petit Verdot
  • Alcohol: 14.3%


(91 - 94) Points

The Petit Verdot is another gorgeous wine in this range of the 2018s from Snowden. Deep, inky and fleshy in the glass, with accents of dried flowers and spice as well as tremendous textured richness and inner sweetness, the Petit Verdot is compelling.

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, January, 2020

92 Points

The 2018 Petit Verdot Levi Philander Davis Vineyard is an absolutely gorgeous wine. It offers a beguiling mix of textural intensity and savory aromatics, but in the mid-weight style that is such a Snowden signature. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, spice, sage and menthol infuse the 2018 with quite a bit of nuance. 2023 – 2033

Vinous - Antonio Galloni, January, 2022

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)