Copain Wines

Owner(s) Jackson Family Wines
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Copain Wines

Wells Guthrie started his career working at the Wine Spectator's San Francisco office as a tasting coordinator. It was during these first few years that he fell in love with Syrah and moved to the Northern Rhone. Wells worked for Chapoutier for two seasons in both the winery and vineyards learning about the Northern Rhone varietals and Biodynamics. Outside of Chapoutier, Wells spent as much time as he could with Jean Louis Chave, who he feels had an equally important impact upon his experiences in the Rhone. Following Chapoutier, Wells returned to work at Turley Wine Cellars working in both the vineyards and cellar, then Martinelli Winery in Windsor under Helen Turley.

Guthrie made his first 400 cases of wine in 1999. Following the lead of Ted Lemon at Littorai, he sourced his grapes from the cool Anderson Valley. He started making his wines in a "fruit bomb" style, undoubtedly influenced by Turley, but has since favored lighter-bodied, balanced and food-friendly red wines. He strives for finesse over power. In 2006, he began picking his grapes earlier to lower the alcohols.

Wells was the full-time owner and winemaker for Copain Wine Cellars for several years until the winery was sold to Jackson Family wines in 2015. He has crafted Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Rhone varietals from mainly Mendocino County grape sources, but with the new ownership, he now has access to new vineyard sources including ones in the Sonoma Coast and Santa Cruz Mountains. The 2015 wines are the first under Jackson Family Wines. The wines are vinified in a modern winery minutes from Healdsburg, and Wells Guthrie remains as the winemaker with no stylistic changes in the wines planned.

Pinot Noir offerings include single vineyard wines, Les Voisins and Estate wines, and Tous Ensemble wines (appellation wines). The wines are available through a mailing list and through the website store.

Tasting by appointment daily.

Reviewed Wines

2015 Copain “Tous Ensemble” Mendocino County Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 6,500 cases, $28. An appellation blend from Abel, Nelson, Hein and Hennenberg vineyards. Aged 9 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of cherry, pomegranate and cranberry are echoed in the light weighted flavors. Simple, but satisfying, with sleek tannins, a refreshing lift of acidity, and a modest finish. A solid, harmonious, everyday drinker. Score: 88. Reviewed December 1, 2016 ARTICLE »

2015 Copain Tous Ensemble Mendocino County Chardonnay

13.8% alc., 2,500 cases, $28. Now owned by Jackson Family Wines, but still crafted by Wells Guthrie. Tous Ensemble is French for “Put Together.” An appellation blend sourced from DuPratt, Ferrington and Hein vineyards. Aged in both neutral French oak barrels and stainless steel. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Very clean aromas of lemon, pineapple, vanilla creme and a hint of caramelized oak. Crisp on the palate and finish and easy to like, with flavors of white peach, pear and coconut. Score: 89. Reviewed December 1, 2016 ARTICLE »

2009 Copain “Tous Ensemble” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., $28. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Brooding nose offering hints of ripe dark fruits, brioche and oak. Generous core of tasty black stone fruits and dark berries wrapped in fine tannins and offering a satiny mouthfeel. A solid fruit-driven wine. Good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Copain “Les Voisons” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $40. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Complex aromatic profile featuring scents of dark red berries, black cherries, and warm chocolate croissant. The black raspberry and black cherry fruit has impressive vim and vigor, making a statement on the mid palate and sustaining through the remarkably long finish. An underpinning of dark chocolate and a hint of grapefruit add interest. Easy to be seduced by the perfectly ripe fruit and tender silkiness of this wine. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Copain Kiser Vineyard “En Bas” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $65. · Moderate reddishpurple color in the glass. The nose offers appealing aromas of black fruits and Chinese 5-spice. Juicy, with a fresh cut of acidity, offering earth-kissed flavors of black raspberries and black plums, ending with a floral and citrus-imbued cranberry note on the finish. Opens slowly in the glass. Unchanged the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A bit too acidic for me, but this style will find fans. Good. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Copain Kiser Vineyard “En Haut” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $70. · Subdued aromas of black cherry tart, blackberry jam and oak. Darker berry and cherry flavors are featured, mildly compressed by muscular tannins. Similar to “En Bas,” but more black raspberry fruit intensity, more expressive, more length and more appealing. A good, but not disproportionate cut of acidity on the finish. Very good (+). Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2007 Copain Baker Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $50. · Lighter in color than the Hacienda bottling. A chameleon nose that changes constantly in the glass. Red fruits, smoke, grass, herbs, and barnyard noted. Delicious ripe strawberries on the attack with earth, tea, smoke and herbs in the background. Smooth and moderately light in weight with bright acidity and perfect harmony. Reviewed May 26, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Copain Clos Pepe Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $50. · The berry aromas are shy but charming. Rich and full-flavored core of lovely plum and blackberry fruits. Harmonious and thirst-quenching, this wine is a perfect marriage of finesse and powerful flavors. Reviewed March 11, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Copain Hacienda Secoya Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $50. · Dark reddish-purple color. Alluring scents of dark red cherries, raspberries, watermelon and a hint of barnyard. Love this nose. Earthkissed berry fruit with a hint of oak smoke. Rich and deeply flavored with bright acidity, soft in the mouth and perfectly balanced. Reviewed May 26, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Copain “Tous Ensemble” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., $32. · All of the Copain Pinot Noirs show a moderately dark ruby color. The nose leads off with cherry, toast, barnyard and chicken soup aromas. Cranberry, tart cherry, orange peel, and mocha flavors with a citrus edge to the sharp finish. Noticeable drying tannins. Reviewed June 9, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Copain Hacienda Secoya Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., $47. · This wine has the most charm and pinotosity of the three 2006 Pinot Noirs tasted. That said, it has a gripy edge with plenty of acidity. The nose is shy and needs coaxing to bring out the savory herbs, strawberry and barnyard scents. The flavors tend toward the red spectrum and are tart. Silky in texture but a bit flat. Noticeable tannins will need time to soften. Reviewed June 9, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Copain Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $54. · Complex aromatic profile showing black fruits, forest floor, smoke, oak and a whiff of alcohol. Earth-dusted dark fruit which is herbal and wood-toned. Massive fruit lacks finesse. Deep, dark and mysterious, and very primal. Not for Pinot Noir purists. Needs time to shed its bold tannins. Very typical of this vineyard. Reviewed June 9, 2008 ARTICLE »

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