Dark red cherries, mint, hard candy, wild flowers and spices meld together in Copain's 2012 Pinot Noir Monument Tree, a supple, mysterious wine full of nuance and personality. Violets, lavender and cloves meld into the resonant, textured finish. The use of 30% whole clusters adds attractive aromatic overtones. This is one of the more open, accessible wines in the Copain range. Accordingly, the 2012 is best enjoyed over the next few years. I was quite taken with the wines I tasted from Copain and proprietor Wells Guthrie this year. The Tous Ensemble range delivers outstanding value, while the best Syrahs and Pinots soar with exceptional beauty and a sense of weightlessness that is compelling. In particular, several of the 2012 Syrahs are utterly captivating. Guthrie is among the producers who prefers to pick at slightly lower sugars, quite a move from the much riper style he was once known for. Although the winery is located in the heart of the Russian River Valley, all of the wines are made from vineyards in and around Anderson Valley and Yorkville Highlands. The first time I tasted with Guthrie he was on his way to Burgundy to prune vineyards at Dujac in the middle of winter, a tiring, thankless job that requires an extraordinary sense of humility and a strong appetite for learning. Then again, those are often the qualities that separate the outstanding from the merely good. Readers will find much to admire in these gorgeous, artisan wines.
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