For California 1997 proved as a very good vintage for white wines and an exceptional one for red wines.
Spring was early and warm and was followed by exceptionally hot weather in July and August - some sparkling wine grapes were picked in late July. However, a surprise mid-August rainstorm set off rot that attacked many vineyards and thin-skinned grapes such as Chardonnay,Sauvignon Blanc,Zinfandel and Pinot Noir were particularly hard-hit.
However those growers not hampered by overcropping and poor trellis management found that their vineyards dried out and continued to ripen throughout September, with some growers waiting until October to harvest. Some exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon wines were produced this year and the best stand comparison with the excellent 1994s. The best were rich in flavour, deeply concentrated and impeccably balanced.