Winery Visit: Copain Wines

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s no secret that I’m obsessed with wines from the Jura. White, red, yellow, sparkling, rosé – I love them all. The red wines are particularly delicious to me, so you might imagine how excited I was to find that Copain – a local producer based in the Russian River Valley – was growing and making wine from the Trousseau grape. There are only a handful of Californian producers that I know of making wine from Trousseau – one being the renowned Arnot-Roberts – which they have made since 2009. It turns out, the Copain plantings of Trousseau are grafted from the original vines used to produce the Arnot-Roberts Trousseau.

Colleen happened to be the person to introduce me to this great wine from Copain. We enjoyed a bottle of it over dinner at her house one fateful night. I was taken aback by it’s freshness, finesse, texture, and the outright Jura-ness of it. A California red wine epiphany. It was like drinking red Jura without the reductive aromas often found in Jura reds. I was in love with this bizarre little bottle from our home turf.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(above photo is a Jura red, not the one from Copain)

I eventually found this wine again at Ruby Wine in Potrero Hill, and snapped up a bottle before it was all gone. Revisiting this wine really cemented how I initially felt about it, and it was showing even better the second time around. It was floral, spicy, and fruity all at once. It’s not often you can find a wine from California with so much elegance, complexity and femininity. It was full of texture while still being light on it’s feet. I was crushed when I found out that the Trousseau was all sold out for the year – I’d hoped to score some of it for the Winelandia Wine Club. I guess I can wait until next year.

The Copain Trousseau is what inspired a trip to the Copain winery in the Russian River Valley – just off Eastside road in Healdsburg. I headed up there just this past weekend to taste through their current offerings and to see the estate. You have to make an appointment to visit, so be sure to call before stopping by. It’s conveniently located just off Highway 101 in Healdsburg.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUpon arriving, I was immediately enamored by the beauty of their estate. Small and rustic, it overlooks Riverfront Regional Park, a gorgeous little oasis complete with a redwood grove and multi-use trails for bikes, equestrians and hikers. The park would be a great place to enjoy a picnic at if you are visiting the winery, as the picnic area at the winery is reserved for wine club members only. They have 13 acres planted here – all of which is Picpoul Blanc, Trousseau and Poulsard. Everything is farmed sustainably, encompassing both organic and Biodynamic practices (although they are not certified for either). I took a seat at one of the comfy wooden chairs out front, and Phil graciously began my Farm Table tasting beneath the strangely warm January sun.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhil poured for me all of their current offerings, beginning with their estate Picpoul Blanc. This neat little wine is aged in neutral French oak, which gave it body and character not normally found in your typical Picpoul Blanc porch-pounder. It was a great entrance to the wines that would follow, which included their entry-level “Tous Ensemble” Chardonnay, followed by several Pinot Noirs and Syrahs. The Pinot Noirs, mostly from the Anderson Valley area, showed rich and flavorful typicity of the region. The Syrahs – from the Yorkville Highlands – were dark, savory, and brooding. All of their red wines (the Syrahs in particular) showed tons of aging potential with great structure and balanced acidity. Copain wines are definitely Californian in style, but with restraint and balance normally reserved for the Old World.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Farm Table tasting also included a delicious spread of local cheeses, meats, and snacks. I especially enjoyed the crostini with white bean purée and fried rosemary. Everything paired beautifully with the wines that were served, the abundant sunshine, and the relaxing view. It doesn’t get much better than this – it’s the Holy Grail of the wine country experience.

I appreciate the warm hospitality shown to me by my host, Phil, and the beautiful wines made by Wells Guthrie. Winelandia hopes to offer wines from Copain in the future, as we feel they are one of the better producers in California. We highly recommend you stop by Copain for a visit if you’re planning a trip to the Russian River Valley – you won’t be disappointed. They are just an hour and a half north of San Francisco. Be sure to call ahead to schedule, as they are appointment only.

Copain Wines
7800 Eastside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 836-8822