Outstanding to classic vintage, with intense varietal flavours, rich, softish tannins and modest alcohol levels. Early maturing.
A dry winter with cold nights heralded early budbreak in most areas (around mid-March), though it came later in southern Central Coast regions where a severe winter saw only half the usual rainfall.
Low rainfall continued throughout spring, and berry set was sparse. Clusters were loose and berry size the smallest in over a decade. Yields were down by as much as 35% in some places.
A mild, coolish summer allowed the grapes to steadily develop flavour, while a mini heatwave late August/early September allowed sugar levels to take off, though they tailed off with the arrival of cool afternoon breezes and fog not long after. Sporadic rains in early October made the harvest more challenging than expected, drawing it out into a more traditional timeframe.
All key Cabernet Sauvignon regions have high hopes for 2007, reporting intense varietal flavours, good acidity, deep colour and rich, mouth-filling tannins – coupled with modest alcohol levels.
Though October rains were heaviest in northern California, thick-skinned Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties remained on vine well into October intensifying flavours and softening tannins. Much the same in Napa Valley, where the sporadic early October rains resulted in two and sometimes three different harvest phases. And Central Coast regions – where budbreak was latest, berry size among the smallest, and rainfall lowest – report highly concentrated flavours, while Paso Robles wines said to pack a real punch.
Schrader Cellars (Oakville, Napa); Colgin (Napa); Robert Mondavi Winery (Napa Valley); Kendall Jackson (Napa); Shafer Vineyards (Napa); Philip Togni (Napa); Six Sigma Vineyards & Winery (Lake County); Wente Family Estates (Livermore Valley);
JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery (Paso Robles); E J Gallo (Sonoma)