The Napa Valley is home to some of the most diverse terroir anywhere on earth. Finding jaw-dropping hillside vineyards beyond each weave and turn of the road is common. However, finding winemakers living up to the landscape by their pursuit of graceful, nuanced, and site-specific wines can be challenging. Diana Snowden Seysess typifies this essence like few others in the valley do. The history behind Diana's winery is one that explains why personification of place is her ultimate intent.

Snowden Ranch was originally planted in 1878 after the Homestead Act encouraged settlement of new agricultural lands in the valley. The Snowden family took control of these vineyards in 1955, planting different parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon. Through the 1980's the family worked closely with Warren Winiarski of Stags Leap Cellars to improve their vineyards, and finally in 1993 grapes from the family estate were first produced by Snowden Vineyards. 

Diana's background spans time growing up in the Napa Valley and graduating from UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program. In 2003 she became oenologist at Domaine Dujac in Morey Saint Denis, where she now works alongside her husband Jeremy Seysses crafting some of the most celebrated wines of Burgundy. Her continual time between Napa and Burgundy has brought a perspective on viticulture and winemaking that is undoubtedly extraordinary. These are wines that re-shape my view of what Napa Valley ultimately can speak of through place.

The Snowden wines eschew many practices that have become commonplace in today's valley. Here there are no cultured yeasts employed, no enzymes to enhance color, no "bleeding" of must for purpose of concentration, no fining and no sterile filtration. And wines are pressed off of their skins when they are dry, rather than ongoing maceration to pick up more density and extraction. The wines never see more than 50% maximum new French oak.

2012 Snowden "Lost Vineyard" Napa Valley Merlot
$38 per bottle.
The most forward and open-knit of the wines. Soft, approachable, and silky.

2014 Snowden "The Ranch" Cabernet Sauvignon
$53 per bottle.
A blend of three vineyards showing a Napa Valley Cabernet at it's most diverse, honest and graceful.

Antonio Galloni of Vinous drives the point home,

"The Ranch is one of the best values readers will find in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Don't miss it!"

2014 Snowden "Brothers Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon
$85 per bottle.
From uniform volcanic soils at 850 feet on the mountains of east side of the valley. From a parcel on Palomino Hill. Structured and supremely age-worthy.