Washington 2007: Keep
Grape quality proved impressive, with average soluble sugars and good acid balance. The best wines are bright and crisp, with silky tannins.
Ideal weather spanned the entire season in Washington 2007, beginning with strong flowering and fruit set and ending with a cool, extended ripening period that allowed growers to choose the perfect moment to harvest the Merlot. Between the two, warm to very warm temperatures throughout May and June ensured the grapes matured steadily and evenly, with just the occasional heat spike to temporarily stop maturation.
The weather turned cooler in September, giving growers the opportunity to ensure complete ripeness without fear of sugar levels outpacing flavour and tannin development. Yakima Valley’s hot Red Mountain AVA was the first to be harvested, very early, and in Columbia Valley’s Wahluke Slope region picking moved along briskly. Overall, it was a trouble-free harvest, with some growers making comparisons with the hot 2003 vintage, which also enjoyed a cool September.
The near-perfect weather in 2007 has given rise to some really full and round Merlot wines. The long growing season and cool, protracted ripening period enabled to grapes to get fully ripe – achieving their full flavour potential – while still retaining sufficient acidity to give excellent balance. There was little danger of the grapes becoming over-ripe nor of ripeness being achieved at too high an sugar (alcohol) level. The best wines have silky, mouth-coasting tannins combined with a glossy crispness.
Not sufficiently tasted, but best bets so far include Andrew Will (Columbia Valley), Buty (Columbia Valley), Airfield (Yakima Valley), Columbia Crest (Columbia Valley), Substance (Columbia Valley), Flying Fish (Washington), Ch Ste Michelle (Columbia Valley), Washington Hills (Washington).
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