2009 Amapola Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County)
$70 (retail) Wine Club pricing reflected in receipt
The back story behind this winery is a case history in the portability of ownership. Owners Richard and Alis Arrowood acquired 100 acres on the western slope of the Mayacamas Mountains of Sonoma County and launched Amapola Creek, their second venture in winemaking, but this time they were unable to put their own name on the bottle.
In 1985, the pair launched Arrowood Winery and then, as the economy was peaking near 2000, they sold out to Robert Mondavi for a very substantial sum, staying on to help maintain the operation. But when Mondavi decided to cash out a few years later, the business went through a rapid succession of new owners: first to Constellation Brands, which in 2005 decided to unload two of its prestige (yet less profitable) brands, Arrowood and Byron. These brands were acquired by a new winery collective called the Legacy Estates Group, formed in a poorly timed moved that was crushed into bankruptcy eight months later, a victim of the economy’s collapse. Finally, the winery was picked up by Jess Jackson and it is still part of Jackson Family Wines.
With 45 years in the industry, Richard Arrowood toughed it out as Arrowood winemaker until 2010 when he segued into full-time management of his own label. Now he continues to make beautiful wines, and we’re happily showcasing his ’09 cabernet this month.
Winery Tasting Notes: “Like most great cabernet sauvignon, this wine starts quietly on the nose. You will first perceive notes of cedar and anise that open up onto concentrated black fruit after a moment in the glass. On the palate, this wine shows a subtle mixture of rich, dark flavors: blackberry, cassis, and juicy red plum vying for attention against a backdrop of lush tannins. Every character hinted at before develops with a startling intensity. Huge black fruit integrated with elegantly spicy oak, gentle notes of bitter chocolate, and juicy red berries are all woven together with bracing tannins that will allow this wine to age gracefully for decades to come. The finish is long and deep, bursting with luscious candied fruit characters, lasting a full minute or more. This is a true winemaking achievement. Enjoy this wine, but don’t forget to cellar some for the future as well!”
Wine Advocate Review (91 points): “The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon flows across the palate with layers of deeply expressive dark fruit. Sophisticated and impeccably balanced from start to finish, the 2009 shows a polished side of Sonoma Valley cabernet that is quite rare. Readers who enjoy more tertiary notes may want to hold the 2009 for another year or more, but it is already quite tasty and expressive. Hints of savory herbs and pencil shavings add complexity on the juicy, resonant finish. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021.” —Antonio Galloni
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