The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2015

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54  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2015 MILESTONES I n midst of working his 50th harvest this fall, iconic winemaker Richard Arrowood remains a man on a mission to showcase the magnificent flavor profiles of the world-class wines he makes with fruit from unique vineyards in Sonoma County. After being hired as the first winemaker at Chateau St. Jean Winery in 1974, he quickly became known for crafting flavorful wines from Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley. Over the next 16 years, Arrowood went on to gain a repu- tation for developing an impressive array of vineyard designate wines. Content with his accomplishments at Chateau St. Jean, he followed his passion and started Arrowood Vineyards and Winery with his wife Alis in 1990. After selling the Arrowood brand to Kendall-Jackson in 2001, Richard and Alis purchased property next to the famous Monte Rosso Vineyard in the Mayacamas Mountains near Glen Ellen. While developing four separate vineyards on the rugged 120-acre hillside estate, in 2008 they launched Amapola Creek, a boutique brand named after the Spanish word for poppy and a popular Tommy Dorsey song, which hit the charts on Richard's mom's birthday in 1941. Located within the boundaries of the new Moon Mountain District appellation, the 20 acres of vineyards are now certified organic and all the wines are made in the lovely red eco-friendly barn located at the middle of the property. Currently, the biggest production wine at Amapola Creek is the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, made with clusters from three separate blocks grown on a unique mixture of red volcanic and rhyolite soils and a small amount of Petite Sirah. To kick off his monumental 50th vintage, Arrowood recently hosted a series of memorable retrospective tastings that featured over 60 wines from his private collection. Each tasting included a rare series of vineyard designate wines made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Riesling and Chardonnay grapes from leg- endary vineyards like Laurel Glen, Wildwood, and Jack London in Sonoma Valley and Robert Young in Alexander Valley while he was at Chateau St. Jean from 1974 to 1990; to a spectacular series of elegant, flavorful and age-worthy wines from Arrowood Vineyards; and a wide range of the more full-bodied styles made under the Amapola Creek label from 2005 to the present. Master Sommelier Fred Dame, whom I teamed up with to pour the wines at the three special gatherings attended by Arrrowood's former winemaking colleagues and members of the media, felt each wine had its own unique character which truly expressed the personalities of the special sites where the grapes were grown. "Richard is a very talented winemaker and his passion shows through these special vintage wines and the brands he has developed over the past four decades. They are flavors profiles that have truly been an honor to work with through the years," says Dame. Legendary winemaker Richard Arrowood and his wife Alis purchased the first portion of Amapola Creek Ranch in 2001. After planting the estate vineyards, the first wines were released in 2008. THE TASTING PANEL's own Master Sommelier Fred Dame and the author, Christopher Sawyer, prepare classic cellar selections for the celebration of Richard Arrowood's 50th vintage. Celebrating 50 Years of Success with Richard Arrowood by Christopher Sawyer

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