Actually I believe your experience is echoed by comments made by Thom Hogan in his review of the D7000. I believe, as he states it, that if you load in an Uni-WB you will discover that the D7000 has a tendency to underexpose and not overexpose, as many believe it does.
My opinion of the people who say the D7000 consistently overexposes comes from those who use the histogram as a light meter. It appears the default Picture Control settings with the Expeed 2 Processor are set a bit hotter then on previous Nikon Models. That creates an embedded JPEG that tends to show blown highlights caused by image processing and not sensel saturation. So if you then dial down some EV to prevent the blown highlights, you are actually underexposing which would raise the noise level in the shadow areas.
I’m glad you were able to finally sort out your issues.