Copain Winery was founded by winemaker Wells Guthrie in 1999. The winery sits atop a hillside with an astounding view of the Russian River Valley. As I looked out over the valley on gorgeous Indian summer day, I was struck with a sense of tranquility I can still vividly recall!
According to the Copain website…
Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s Rhône Valley in particular. So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best. For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s Rhone Valley. During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life.
Mr Guthrie started the winery with an old friend, and named it Copain, which means ‘friend” in French. Copain is focused on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir,and Syrah. They also produce a Rose, and an interesting, food friendly and outstanding wine named “P2” which is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. They offer three lines of wines, the entry-level “Tous Ensembles”, mid-level “Les Voisins”, and their top of the line “Single Vineyard” Wines.
Their beautiful tasting room, located in Healdsburg, is open to the public Thursday through Saturday from 10:30 AM to 4 PM, and by appointment only Sunday through Wednesday. There is a $15 tasting fee, which is waived with the purchase of wine. They also offer a seasonal “Picnic Pairing” tasting option, where you taste three wines chosen by Copain to pair with a picnic lunch from Chloe’s French Cafe for $35.
I picked up this wine a few weeks back when my wife and I went to Sonoma to attend the Russian River Jazz and Blues Festival. We drove up on a Friday, and visited several wineries. Copain was easily the winery of the day!
This wine is a blend of grapes from 3 neighboring vineyards in the cool-climate Yorkville Highlands AVA in Mendocino County. The vineyards are planted on a rocky hillsides which rise from 600 to 2500 feet elevation. Guthrie uses whole cluster fermentation for 30% of the wine and does not use new wood for ageing.
We picked up several bottles of wine when we visited. I’m a sucker for cool-climate Syrah, but all the wines we tasted were elegant and well-balanced. I highly recommend the winery…and next time we go, we’re going to have that picnic tasting!
My tasting notes follow:
Opaque black-red color with aromatic mixed berry, and floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, well-balanced and elegant with fresh acidity and black cherry, raspberry, and mineral flavors. Medium-long finish! – 91pts
Highly recommended! This is a world-class Syrah for $36!
The Wine Geek Stuff:
Alcohol: 13.9% alcohol.
Varietal(s): 100% Syrah
Cooperage: Neutral Oak
Cases produced: Unknown