Snows Lake certainly isn’t going to run out of names for its wines. Named simply “One” and “Two,” what Snows Lake lacks in complexity it makes up for with generally high quality.
Snows Lake is in California’s Lake County, an area north of Sonoma which generally gets little respect as a winemaking region. There’s a lot of iffy wine in Lake County, but Snows Lake is based in the Mayacamas mountain range, and it has one of the highest vineyards in the region. High-quality grapes in wonderful growing conditions lead to impressive results.
2005 Snows Lake One is a 100% cabernet sauvignon, aged in oak for 21 months. On initial pour it’s very tight, but a little air opens things open quite nicely, showing herbal character with a moderate berry core. The nose offers tantalizing smoky, grilled meat character. I’d like to give this wine some more time in the bottle to mellow out before cracking it open, to give some of its wood character time to meld with the earth and fruit in the bottle, but it’s drinkable now. B+
2005 Snows Lake Two takes that cabernet sauvignon and blends in 28% cabernet franc. The result is a definite winner, both fruitier and richer than the One and ready to drink today. Still fruity and herbal and a lot like the One, it’s got a chocolate character in the body that lasts well into the finish, and a youthful exuberance that makes it almost too drinkable. The proof is in the palate: I opened both bottles at once, and by the end of the night, the One was about half full, while the Two had nearly been drained in its entirety. A
$37 each / snowslakevineyard.com
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