Washington 2007: Keep
One of the best ripening periods on record, with Cabernet Sauvignon proving the top performer. The wines show great balance, with lower alcohol, well-knit tannins, fine ripeness and superb ageing potential.
The weather for the 2007 Washington Cabernet Sauvignon vintage couldn’t have been better. The season kicked off with ideal conditions around flowering and fruit set, while warm, enduring mid-summer temperatures allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and steadily. The odd heat spike stalled maturation, but for brief periods only.
Favourable conditions continued throughout September. The month was cool and dry, allowing flavour profiles and tannic ripeness to develop gradually, while sugar levels were held in check – at slightly lower levels than normal – by the lower temperatures. A cool, bright October followed, and growers enjoyed huge flexibility over picking dates, with extra hang-time adding to flavours and tannic ripeness rather than boosting sugar levels.
A fast start to the Washington vintage, followed by a slow middle and extended ripening/harvest period produced some really high quality Cabernet Sauvignon right across the region. Berry size was small to boot, concentrating fruit flavours and imparting good ageing potential.
The cool September temperatures allowed the later ripening variety to achieve perfect ripeness and balance while eradicating any green, herbaceous flavours. There was no fear of overripeness, and no worries about compromising freshness. Instead, the ideal ripening conditions has produced full-bodied wines and fine fruit flavours.
The small berry size concentrated tannins, thus imparting a firm backbone to the wines, while the good late-season weather ensured tannins were ripe and well-integrated.Generally, alcohol levels are below 14% ABV.
Not sufficiently tasted, but best bets so far include Buty (Columbia Valley), Airfield (Yakima Valley), Substance (Columbia Valley), Hogue Cellars (Columbia Valley), Barnard Griffin (Columbia Valley), Washington Hills (Columbia Valley), Chateau Ste Michelle (Columbia Valley), Ecole 41 & Leonetti (Walla Walla Valley), Milbrandt (Yakima Valley), Powers (Columbia Valley), Seven Hills (Walla Walla & Columbia Valley)
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