2011 Copain "Tous Ensemble" Mendocino Syrah

SKU #1126020 89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011 Syrah Tous Ensemble is one of the great values in California Syrah. Violets, plums, cloves and savory herbs all jump from the glass. The 2011 is distinguished for its floral, vinous perfume and mid-weight, gracious personality. A dollop of whole clusters adds lift throughout. Quite simply, this is a fabulous wine for the money. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2017. I have to say, it is a bit strange to visit Wells Guthrie’s beautiful Copain winery in Healdsburg, as none of the wines are made from fruit grown on the estate! Guthrie prefers to source fruit from cooler parts of Sonoma, most notably Anderson Valley and Yorkville Highlands. Today the Copain wines are mid-weight, gracious and delicate in style, a far cry from a few years back, when they were much more overt. In cold years like 2010 and 2011, some of the wines are a touch on the fragile side. Readers on a budget should be sure to check out the Tous Ensemble range, as those wines deliver tremendous quality for the money. All of 2011s I tasted from tank were scheduled to be bottled a few days after my visit.  (4/2013)

Wine Spectator

 Firm and tight, with a chewy core of dark berry, crushed rock and dried herbs and flowers. Ends with a rustic mix of earth and berry notes. Drink now through 2020. 2,080 cases made. –JL  (5/2014)

K&L Notes

Vintage notes from Copain: "Despite the challenges that 2011 brought to Mendocino County, our wines from this vintage are some of the most elegant Wells has made, offering great tension and balance. A cool, rainy spring and summer delayed the growing season, while mid-September brought sun and 90 degree heat to the vineyards. We harvested this fruit during a brief window in October as the vineyards were drying out."

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Price: $16.99
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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Anderson Valley/Mendocino

- Cooled by the nearby ocean and the seemingly omnipresent bank of oceanic fog, this picturesque wine region is home to a wealth of cool-climate grapes like riesling and gewürztraminer plus chardonnay and pinor noir, which are responsible for impressive and intense sparkling wines.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.4