Friday, January 11, 2013

Amapola Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2007


If you do a Google search for "cult cab," you find the word "Napa" coming up a lot, but Sonoma?  Not so much.  Winemaker Richard Arrowood produces Sonoma County wine grown on his Amapola Creek estate property.  It's on the western side of the Mayacamas Mountains, the range separating Sonoma Valley from Napa Valley.  

Arrowood has been at the winemaking game since the mid-1960s.  During his time with Chateau St. Jean, he created some of Sonoma County’s first single vineyard Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons.  He and his wife founded Arrowood Winery in 1985 and Arrowood remained on as head winemaker after selling to Mondavi, even through other ownership changes.  In 2010 he left his namesake winery to focus on his Amapola Creek label.

He sums up his winemaking philosophy as “prevention, not intervention,” and he tries to keep things as simple and as green as possible.

The Amapola Creek vineyards are farmed organically, and are licensed by the California Certified Organic Farmers group. In addition, the winery generates its own power from solar panels and keeps the grounds looking good with recycled water.

The 2007 Amapola Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is the winery’s first vintage, with grapes taken from their China Wall, Bob Cat Run, and Fox Trot Meadow estate vineyards.  The Sonoma Valley grapes are 97% Cab with 3% Petit Verdot blended in.  The wine has an alcohol content of 15% and retails for $70. It is unfined and unfiltered.  The bottle I sampled was purchased by a family member as a Christmas gift for me.  For that, I offer heartfelt thanks, Christopher and Abbey!  

This is one inky, dark, intense Cab.  Absolutely no light gets through the glass with this wine in it.  The nose comes on like a Shiraz - very concentrated blackberry and currant aromas practically knock the glass out of my hand.  The faint sense of pencil shavings is what would make me guess Cabernet, but the fruit is the story here.  The palate explodes with dark berry flavors, too, and a fairly strong minerality rides shotgun.  Tannic structure is aggressive enough to tame a steak - even better, lamb - but it doesn't ruin the sipping experience.


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