...red and dark berries, smoky bacon, licorice and dried flowers; really smells like a graceful northern Rhone wine. Silky in texture, with medium weight, noteworthy finesse, and fresh, snappy raspberry and blackberry flavors...
Copain Wines is in the Russian River Valley, in Northern California. It was founded in 1999 by Wells Guthrie and his friend Kevin McQuown, hence the name of the winery, which means “buddies” in French. Guthrie formerly worked for Wine Spectator and McQuown is a software designer. Guthrie worked in the Rhone Valley and at Turley Winery to learn winemaking, and he is Copain’s winemaker. Copain’s signature wines are Syrahs, though the winery also makes Rose, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Robert M. Parker Jr. has rated many Copain wines in the 90s and calls Guthrie’s vineyard-designated wines “superb.”
Santa Ynez Valley AVA is home to more wineries than any other area in Santa Barbara County. The appellation was established in 1983 and it includes a total of 76,800 acres, of which 1,500 acres are vineyards. Chardonnay is the dominant grape in this appellation, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. The appellation runs east and west with temperatures and microclimates changing significantly from warmer in the east to cool by the time the district gets close to the Pacific Ocean. In recent years Rhone-style wines have been successfully made here, and vineyards now are also planted to Syrah, Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache, Mourvedre and Marsanne.
This grape is grown in milder climates and produces a medium-to full-bodied wine. It is also known as Shiraz, but should not be confused with Petit Sirah, which was developed by crossing Syrah with Peloursin.