Inconsistent quality, with ripeness to the fore. Best reds have concentrated flavours, deep colours and supple tannins, with Shiraz and Grenache standing out. Cabernets may lack elegance.
The key feature of this vintage was the low yield, at least a third less than the average this century. On-going and widespread drought plus sporadic, severe frost mid-spring (October) affected red grapes in particular, and especially in cooler climate regions like Victoria’s Yarra Valley and Heathcote, South Australia’s Limestone Coast (Coonawarra and Wrattonbully), and Northern Tasmania. Only Western Australia escaped the extreme weather thanks to ocean breezes and adequate rainfall.
Grape set was reduced and berries were smaller than usual, with thicker skins. Summer temperatures were never excessively high and although early-autumn rains caused some disruption, mostly the harvest was straightforward if very early, by up to six weeks in some places. The grapes came in particularly healthy.
The lower bunch weights and small berry sizes of the 2007 vintage contributed to notably juicy, densely coloured red wines with expressive flavours. However, quality was less consistent than in better vintages, with some producers being able to cope with the extreme weather – drought and frosts – better than others.
Growers who picked at optimum ripeness have produced full flavoured wines with good tannic structure for drinking up to 2020. Most successful are Shiraz (big and succulent) and Grenache (spicy and polished) from South Australia’s McLaren Vale
and Barossa Valley regions. Elsewhere, a tendency towards overripeness means Cabernets in particular lack elegance and complexity. Yarra Valley Pinot Noir is another one to look out for.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Barossa Valley – Teusner, Glaetzer, Rolf Binder, Yalumba, Thorn-Clarke; McLaren Vale: Mitolo, d’Arenberg, Two Hands, Gemtree Vineyards. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Rocky Gully (Frankland River), Plantagenet (Mount Barker). VICTORIA: Two Hands (Heathcote)