The 2007 vintage is an excellent year that came together in the end to produce a sizeable crop of uniformly great wines throughout the state. The wines have plenty of depth and richness, ample acidity, and are focused and detailed. Many compare it to 2001 in style and it’s a vintage to buy with confidence across the board.
A dry winter was followed by a warm, dry spring, bringing an early start to the ripening cycle. Fine weather prevailed through the moderate to coolish summer with notably few days of triple-digit temperatures, and even fewer-than-average days around 90°F. Chardonnay harvest began a bit early, as warm weather arrived in Napa in mid-August and lasted through early September before cooling significantly. Rain fell mid-month but with little impact, as many early ripeners were already in — Cabernets and Merlot weren’t affected and had plenty of time to rebalance afterwards. Rain returned in the second week of October, but again with little impact. Warm, sunny conditions returned right after the rain, and harvest was concluded in excellent weather by the end of the month.
2007 produced a healthy crop of grapes that, as in so many great years, enjoyed a moderate growing season free of extremes. It is a big, ripe, full-bodied vintage that produced classic California Cabs and has buyers and sellers smiling — one to buy with confidence!
Moderate rain falls
Slight rainfall leads to favorable harvest conditions
Dryness of winter continues through the season
With no vineyards of its own, Rosenblum Cellars' home base is a giant hangar next to the docks in Alameda. Here, winemaker John Kane directs his focus to Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah...but mostly Zinfandel. They like it so much at Rosenblum that they make over 20 varieties. And although these wines come from vineyard sites all over California, the huge range of Zins are reliably rich and extroverted, typically made in a super-ripe, high-alcohol style. Kane took over in 2009 from Kent Rosenblum, the King of Zin.
Powerful earthy and savory reds, with some serious tannins
Stews, roasts, grilled meats
A sparsely planted variety found predominantly in the southern Rhone, Provence, and elsewhere near the Mediterranean coast, Mourvedre is best known for its place in powerful game and earth-scented reds. One is mostly likely to encounter the grape in wines from the southern Rhone. Here, Mourvedre takes its place blended with Grenache and Syrah, notably in the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
If you want to discover what the grape offers on its own, head to the appellation of Bandol, in Provence. Provence may be best known for the widespread production of rose wines, but for serious wines in the region, Bandol is the first (and for many, the only) stop. Here, wines are dominated by Mourvedre, and in some examples, this grape is the sole variety. Because of the high percentage of Mourvedre, wines from Bandol can be fiercely tannic upon release, and often demand at least six to eight years of cellaring. After this time, this wines will gain nuance and grace, complementing their underlying savory and musky characteristics. Here, we like wines made by Domaine Tempier and Chateau Pradeaux.
In Spain, Mourvedre is known as Monastrell or Mataro, and it is planted heavily on the southeastern Mediterranean coast, including the appellations of Jumila and Yecla. Good examples come from Bodegas Castano and Bodegas El Nido.
The grape is sometimes found in very warm microclimates of the New World, especially in parts of California and Australia. Indeed, winemakers in Australia have increasingly been following the lead of their counterparts in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, incorporating Mourvedre into the increasingly prevalent GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) wines. Many of these wines are quite affordable.
As Mourvedre-based wines are generally earthy and rustic, they pair well with comparably rustic fare like meat-based stews and roasts.