I'm back in Napa Valley after a great road trip and fantastic tasting in Chicago on Tuesday. When I opened my e-mail this morning, I was greeted by a note from Scott McLeod, winemaker for Rubicon Estate and Edizione Pennino—and our fearless forecaster.
“Since I made my now famous prediction about 2007 harvest quality, I may as well run with it,” he wrote, offering to provide regular updates as the season develops.
“Great weather is here. I would say with 95 percent confidence that we have seen the last of the rains. Currently, soils are as dry as they were in the second week of June last year, which is great news.
“Today I saw the first flowering of Cabernet in the earlier pruned blocks. I expect all Rutherford Cabernets to complete flowering in May, which can be our best weather prior to the true summer weather pattern. If we have nice 80 to 85 degree weather for flowering, it will be very concise and even.
“Flowering starts the clock, in my opinion, with respect to even ripening of final grapes,” he says. “If the majority of a block flowers at the same time, then it will behave as an individual vine as opposed to a collection of vines. If all blocks perform as one block, then you have even ripeness across an entire estate or district, which is great for wine quality. Let's hope for great weather May 15–30.
“So basically, all systems go for a great year. Crop is big, though. I'm hearing that Monterey Chardonnay to [Central] Valley Cabernet is heavy. I'll let you know how flowering progresses.”