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Behind the Scenes with Richard Arrowood

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

This post was written by:

- who has written 294 posts on Enobytes Wine Online.

Editor and co-founder of Enobytes.com, Pamela is a former restaurant manager, wine buyer, and sommelier with WSET, CMS & Center for Wine Origins certification. She has contributed to or been quoted by various publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Sommelier Journal, Vegetarian Times, VIV Magazine, UC-Berkeley Astrobiology News, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and USA Today. True to her roots, she seeks varietal and appellation integrity and is always passionate about finding the next great bottle of wine.

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8 Responses to “Behind the Scenes with Richard Arrowood”

  1. Harry says:

    I’ve also been a fan of Arrowood for decades. Richard’s wines are superior and although I haven’t tried Amapola, I’m looking forward to trying them. Loved the video.

  2. Karrie says:

    I love the older Arrowood Chardonnay and Cabernet. Looking forward to trying Amapola.

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  1. Wine Wines @ everything! » Blog Archive » Behind the Scenes with Richard Arrowood – Enobytes (blog) says:

    [...] Behind the Scenes with Richard ArrowoodEnobytes (blog)'94, '95, '97 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County Réserve Spéciale were equally spectacular as were the '94, and '97 Arrowood Syrah Russian River … [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Wine Lover, WineBlogFeed. WineBlogFeed said: Behind the Scenes with Richard Arrowood: I’m guilty of reminiscing. I admit it. But I think anyone that has t… http://bit.ly/9A4MN5 #Wine [...]

  3. A Sonoma Cabernet Yowzer | Enobytes Wine Online says:

    [...] a handful of little gems at Amapola, a tiny ultra-premium winery in Sonoma. I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard shortly after his departure at Arrowood and the passion he shares for his new venture is [...]

  4. [...] a handful of little gems at Amapola, a tiny ultra-premium winery in Sonoma. I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard shortly after he departed Arrowood and the passion he shared for his new venture was simply [...]

  5. [...] a handful of little gems at Amapola, a tiny ultra-premium winery in Sonoma. I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard shortly after he departed Arrowood and the passion he shared for his new venture was simply [...]

  6. [...] even go as far to say I have a crush on his wines. In 2010, he relinquished Arrowood to open Amaploa Creek and his winemaking style continues to impress. The unfiled and unfiltered ’09 Zinfandel produced [...]


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