I’m guilty of reminiscing. I admit it. But I think anyone that has tasted wine for a few decades is as guilty as I for recollecting greatness. We all have those memories where certain decades, regions or producers simply blow our minds. Maybe it’s simply a green drinker finally grasping greatness in a glass. I don’t know. Whatever it is, some memories seem to stick more than others and for me, Arrowood is one of those producers that captured my heart back in the 90’s.

Back then, I used to work as a sommelier and I’d get excited every time my wine distributors showed up to pour me the latest Arrowood lineup. Pockets of greatness such as the ’93, ’94, ’96, ‘97 Arrowood Chardonnay Sonoma County Cuvée Michel Berthoud Réserve Spéciale were out of this world. ’94, ’95, ‘97 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County Réserve Spéciale were equally spectacular as were the ’94, and ’97 Arrowood Syrah Russian River Valley Saralee’s Vineyard and the ’97 Arrowood Viognier Russian River Valley Saralee’s Vineyard.

I left the restaurant business back in the late 90’s and haven’t had the pleasure of tasting every vintage like I used to.  Sure, I pick up a bottle here and there, maybe consume it immediately, or squirrel it away for a celebration or rainy day, but it’s not like the good old days where I got to try his full lineup upon release. I miss those days.

Here it is, more than a decade later, and I receive news that Richard Arrowood announced his decision to leave his long-time position as Winemaster at Arrowood Vineyards. What a heartbreak.  Aside from the fact that I’ve always loved his wine, I’m terrified this might be the end of an era. Maybe I’m getting a little carried away and caught up in the moment, but I must know Arrowood’s future. And what does Richard plan to do next?

I had to reach out and interview him, and in the process, I discovered interesting twists and turns about Arrowood’s past, and found a passionate man that will not let anything stand in his way of continuing to make those handful of gems that we all love so dearly.

Here is a toast to Richard’s new venture, Amapola Creek, where he will focus on small-lot Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel from the Sonoma Valley.

Stay tuned for our upcoming post were we review Richard’s ’06 Amapola Creek unfined & unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon. You won’t want to miss it.

…and wishing you the best of luck in your new venture, Richard.

So readers, what are some of your favorite Arrowood wines…and have you tried any of Richard’s new wines from Amapola?

~Pamela Heiligenthal