Review: 2005 Snows Lake One and Two

Review: 2005 Snows Lake One and Two

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

each $37

2005 Snows Lake One




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. John Skupny on June 25, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I would take exception to your statement “There’s a lot of iffy wine in Lake County”! One could also contend that there are a lot of iffy wines emanating from the likes of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties but a broad brushstroke as such is neither really fair nor accurate for an entire grape growing region. I personally think that there is a vast array of very interesting wines emanating from Lake County. One only needs to ask the question why so many Napa Valley Wineries and Winemakers are sourcing grapes from this area.
    Though I live and work in Napa Valley, my association with growers and winemakers from Lake County extends back almost 30 years. In that time Lake County has quietly become a grape growing region with serious gravitas. In addition to the likes of Snows Lake other notable and dedicated producers include the likes of Six Sigma, Brassfield, Gregory Graham [Napa Valley ex-pat] and some keen values from the likes of Shannon Ridge. And yes, I source grapes from both sides of the Lake as I find the quality exceptional, the price earthly and the people honest, hardworking and willing to grown awesome grapes!
    Before accepting a statement as broad and flippant as ‘iffy’ I would seek a greater understanding and exposure to the wines from Lake County.

  2. Christopher Null on June 25, 2009 at 10:18 am

    John – Of course there are many fine Lake County wines, but there is lots of plonk, too. Grape for grape, though, I still think you’ll find better wine produced in Napa, though I’m sure we agree that blanket comparisons like that are wholly useless. That said, to address your question as to why people are sourcing grapes from Lake County, I think the main answer is simple: Because they are cheaper. Regardless, you may be right that my comments are too broad — I certainly didn’t mean to impune the wines of an entire county with a single offhand comment.

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