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Stylized image of Copain pinot noir

Copain: Pinot, Young and Mature

It's been seven years since Galloni reviewed this classic Pinot Noir from New Wave OG producer, Copain, and we couldn't believe it when we recently got the chance to taste a bottle and see if Galloni was right that the ideal drinking time was, well, now. Spoiler alert: he was right!

The wine is in a beautiful spot. It still has the energy and fruit, but the terroir is shining through in all its [sous-bois/mineral?] glory. There might have been a question back in 2017 whether the "translucent, vibrant style" of winemaking in California would give us wines with the staying power of the richer, more extracted wines that had been all the rage in the "Parker-era" that came before. But now we know for sure: in the right hands those wines age even more beautifully.

And Copain's are the right hands. Wells Guthrie, who founded the winery, was at the forefront of the movement to stop overdoing things in California wine: no more over-ripening the fruit, over-extracting the fermentation, over-making the wine. It turns out that by focusing on pure fruit and terroir expression and bringing alcohol levels down, Wells and his brothers and sisters-in-arms proved that delicate, expressive California wines aren't just gloriously refreshing when young, they can also age just as beautifully as most refined old world wines.

So 2014 was a masterpiece, but you want to know if Copain is still up to its old tricks? Well (spoiler alert number 2), the short answer is, Yes. We just tasted the new releases and they're as great as ever, across the board. But nothing they do tells the story like their unique "P2,' a light red made by blending Pinot Noir (P 1) with a little Pinot Gris (P2). What started out as a happy accident is now one of the absolute faves among Copain's rabid fanbase. Vintage after vintage it's a special treat. When Wells first told us about the wine he said that there was no better way to enjoy it than slightly chilled with some crispy fried chicken. The light but bright fruit, the clean acidity, the fun fruit and the subtle complexity all make it the perfect thing to complement and contrast with the chicken.

But as good as that pairing no doubt is, we don't wait till we have fried chicken to drink P2. In fact, we've also found that it pairs very well with sushi, sunny afternoons, popcorn, burgers, and just one last glass of something, even if it is a little later than maybe we should be up.

Copain Sonoma Coast P2 Pinot Noir/Pinot Gris Co-ferment 2023 - $37.99

Copain Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Kiser en Haut Vineyard 2014 - $79.99
"A wine of precision and nuance, the 2014 Pinot Noir Kiser En Haut bristles with energy. Bright red cherry, pomegranate, plum, spice, and blood orange abound. The translucent, vibrant style is hugely appealing. Tasted next to the 2013, the 2014 has a bit more precision. 94 pts" Antonio Galloni (Vinous)


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