Reflecting on the 2007 Monte Bello, Eric Baugher describes the year as "a vintage that almost didn't happen." Until the eve of harvest, everything was going well, with a large crop ripening in balmy conditions. In late September, however, cold weather retarded ripening, with wet and wintry October weather only relenting on the 23rd, when temperatures returned to the high 80s. Due to such extended hang time, seeds were hard and woody, so it was difficult to extract much tannin, but that tannin was of very high quality. Today, the wine is beginning to show superbly, wafting from the glass with a lavish, creamy bouquet of crème de cassis, ripe plums, blackberries, black truffle and loamy soil. On the palate, it's full-bodied, fleshy and expansive, its generous core of fruit framed by rich, melting tannins and underpinned by the freshness and energy that this site always seems to capture. As it approaches age 11, the 2007 is an elegantly voluptuous vintage of Monte Bello that bears analogies with the lovely 1991. The blend is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, and it attained 13.1% natural alcohol and was cropped at around two tons per acre.