POSTED ON September 8, 2008 | IN Russian River Wine Country - Sonoma Cty. | BY joe

Copain winery is an incredible place. It sits by itself high on a hill with one of the best views of the Russian River Valley, near Healdsburg. The winery was recently built so everything about it is high tech and first class. The tasting room is exquisite and behind the tasting bar is a double glass doorway that gives visitors a view of gleaming stainless steel fermenting tanks. It seems as though no expense has been spared in putting this winery together.

There are two owners, Winemaker Wells Guthrie and CEO Kevin McQuown. Wells is a self-taught winemaker, having learned his trade by working in a winery in the Rhone region of France and later in California under the guidance of famed winemaker Helen Turley. The wines are all made from single vineyards from which Wells has carefully selected. Oddly enough, as far as we could determine, Copain produces only one vineyard-designated wine from the Russian River wine region. All their other wines are made from vineyards outside Sonoma County. Another oddity, there is a Pinot Noir vineyard on their estate but those grapes are sold to another winery, Kosta Browne. How’s that, when your own grapes are not good enough for you?

You need to make an appointment to visit this winery. The tasting room manager is James Casteñeda. James is a great host and you will not be disappointed with your visit. First, you meet James and he pours a taste of the Anderson Valley Viognier and takes visitors for a quick tour of the winery and back to the tasting room. Each wine is given a fresh glass. The tasting notes are carefully prepared and placed in a packet for each guest. Everything is done to perfection.

These wines are made in very small quantities so the tasting room does not have all the Copain wines to taste. We tasted four wines, and honestly, these are some of the best wines we have tasted. Surprisingly, the wines are not outrageously priced. The Anderson Valley Viognier and Pinot Noir were amazing. Our favorite though was 50-50 blend of Grenache and Mourvedre from the James Berry Vineyard in Paso Robles. They call this wine the James Berry Les Copains.

The winery is located on Eastside Road in the Russian River Valley about six miles from the town of Healdsburg.

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