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
Before he died in 2009, after a long battle with cancer, Jim Richards was known as a down to earth, call-it-like-you-see-it type guy. While living in Texas, he and his wife, Barbara, had caught the wine bug and decided to move to Napa Valley to follow their dreams. In 1983 they bought a choice, 20-acre property at the top of Spring Mountain, and planted 15 acres with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. What followed were some of the best Merlots California had to offer. Although Jim has since passed, the Richards still have a rabid following among those who prize sweetness of fruit, creamy texture and plenty of spicy oak. Sheldon, Jim's son, now works alongside his mom in the vines and in the cellar, carrying on the work, and good reputation of his dad's vineyard.
Medium to full-bodied wines with flavors of black cherry, plum, and tobacco
Roasts, hamburgers, other grilled meats
Merlot enjoyed a surge in popularity in the 1990s as consumers suddenly discovered that they could enjoy aromas and flavors similar to those of Cabernet in a fleshier, softer wine with smoother tannins. A wave of Merlot plantings followed, frequently in soils and microclimates completely inappropriate for this variety, and the market was soon flooded with dilute bottles from young vines and high crop levels, and weedy, herbaceous examples from underripe fruit. Many of these undernourished wines were overoaked in attempts to mask their deficiencies. Over the same period, a number of Cabernet producers began picking riper fruit and doing a better job managing their tannings during the making and aging of their wines. The result was an upswing of powerful, satisfying Cabernets that were far less austere in their youth -- and a sharp decline in interest in Merlot.
Still, California's best Merlots, some of which predated the vogue for this variety in the 1990s, continue to be some of the finest examples of this variety outside Bordeaux -- in the same quality league with wines from Washington State and Italy's Tuscan coast region. Expect to find broad, supple wines with medium to full body, typically with aromas and flavors of black cherry, plum, dark berries, dark chocolate, tobacco, and earth, and suave, fine-grained tannins. Merlot also rules in Pomerol, and nowhere in the world does this variety make more complete wines than on the flat, clay-rich plateau that lies at the heart of this appellation.