Years ago, a close friend mentioned the many sensory splendors of Copain Wines, but it was only recently I had the pleasure of experiencing the winery and wine for myself. The appointment-only winery commands 20 acres in the increasingly popular Russian River Valley. After entering a code at the unassuming gates on Eastside Road, we wound our way up to the hilltop to find a stunning yet understated barn housing an elegant tasting room and "finishing" area for the wines. Behind the counter and through great glass walls stainless steel fermenting tanks beamed back at us and trio of friendly staff greeted us with glasses of Viognier.
They're known for their cool climate Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay. One sip of any of these beauties and you understand that the purity and elegance they bring to the space itself is inspired by how they view winemaking. There's no overly oaked Chardonnay here. Nor a just released Syrah that's instantly quaffable. They eschew trends, they embrace the many benefits that come with patience – to produce critically acclaimed wines, certainly rooted in California but reminiscent of the French greats.
On the day we visited we were lucky to score an outside table, set for six, complete with adorable, expertly paired bites, enviably chic wine glasses, and a sun-kissed and cultured host to guide us through the tasting. He shared the meaning of Copain (which I should known...having taken years of French Language back in the day) – it means "buddy" or simply "friend." The owner, Wells Guthrie, and an old friend founded the winery together, so they named it in tribute to their friendship. My group of six was enjoying the joys of buddyhood ("copine" for females!), too, as we sipped our way through spring release and library wines. The fan favorite that day was by far the The 2012 Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir – the most affordable of the bunch. Go figure!
Who should go:
- Those with a decidedly French palette
- Those who value a good view and a sturdy adirondack
- Those who want to escape the tourist trap and let earthy elegance embrace you for an hour or two
CONTACT & LOCATION: 707.836.8822 // 7800 Eastside Road Healdsburg CA 95448
HOURS: Copain is open daily by appointment 10am to 4pm (their last tasting is at 3pm). Tasting fee varies depending upon specific tasting selected.