Saturday, 14 March 2015

My Love, My Copain

During our trip in Sonoma, Copain Winery was a must stop for me. Having tried mainly their Pinot Noir in Montreal at a winemaker’s tasting at Place des Arts and briefly speaking with their wine maker, I really wanted to taste what other wines they were producing. 

Copain’s wine maker Wells Guthrie started his winemaking career in Burgundy and Rhone before coming back to California in 1999.  He and a friend started Copain (meaning partner in French) with the intention of making wines that are very French in style, but whose ‘terroir’ spoke Californian – proving that elegant, fresh wines can be made there. 

My friend/travel companion, along with our two babies made our way to Copain in the Windsor area, just a 30-minute ride from Landmark Vineyard.   If I wasn’t paying attention – I would have missed it.  The sign for Copain was no bigger than my computer screen, and it was gated! I needed a code to get in – definitely not a walk in – appointments are mandatory!  A minute later we were on the hilltop overlooking views of Russian River Valley, and behind us the tasting room/winery.  On a Monday morning, we pretty much had the place to ourselves and we loved it.  Jeff, our tasting guide, was so friendly, accommodating and patient with our kids, and very knowledgeable about the wines, vineyard and things to do in the area.
We felt at home immediately as we tasted their Single Vineyard 2012 Laureles Grade Chardonnay while overlooking the valley outside. What a way to start a tasting! This wine as lovely – crisp and clean, beautiful fruit displaying red apples, citrus, a bit of pear and a hint, just a hint of oaky creaminess that tied it all together.  The acidity was just right – leaving you wanting more.  A+.

Moving inside, we moved on to their Pinot Noirs.  Accompanying the wine was a lovely little plate of cheese, nuts, charcuterie…. Allowing us to appreciate the wines in its full potential.  Copain wines can certainly be enjoyed without food, but in this case, it only enhanced the fruit and complexity of every single wine we tasted. 
The Monument Tree Pinot Noir was simply elegant – beautiful, round, red fruit – lots of cherry and strawberry, length that went on for days and well integrated tannin that will allow this wine to cellar for at least another 8 years.  Superb!

The Wendling Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley was equally as impressive, this one displaying a little more texture on the palate.  It went a little ‘deeper’….even with color.  All their wines spend about 9-10 months on oak…. never new.  The oak in the wines of Copain always plays a supporting role rather than being a front-runner. 

The fourth wine was the Brosseau Syrah – so complex. It danced in your mouth. Tremendous black fruit, cherries, plums, and the famous spice that syrah is known for – so welcoming.  Great tannin structure, which will allow it to age and be enjoyed in years to come.  Again – I was faced with the dilemma of what to buy! 

There was something magical about this place; the professionalism of the staff, the outstanding wines, and that view – so, so special.  You can tell from the wines, the setting, and even the building that passion for wine runs deep here.  Classy, elegant, fresh – best describes this place in every way.  

Thank you, Copain for making it such a beautiful, special day for us.