Copain Catie's Corner Vineyard Viognier 2005
Winemaker Wells Guthrie believes that quality starts with the vineyard. In pursuit of this, Copaín has created and will continue to seek relationships with growers who are committed to what they believe are the key attributes necessary to produce world class wines: vineyard exposition, clonal selections, and dedication to organic farming practices.
In the tradition of great regional village wines from France Wells also produces a series of wine under Copain's Saisons des Vins program. Wines comes from the great regional village wines of France. There are four wines, one for each season of the year. the Varietals are chosen to coincide with the climate and cuisine associated with each. The Rose is for Spring (les printemps) when the weather starts to warm and the picnics begin. The Viognier (formerly Sauvignon Blanc) is crisp and clean for the hot Summer (l'ete) months to accompany the cool salads and dining al fresco. The cooling days of Autumn (l'automne) bring all the earthy fall dishes that call for the perfect Pinot Noir. Finally, Winter (l'hiver), with its cold days beckon for hearty fare and a rich warming Syrah.
In October, 2004, Copain was named "Most Promising New Winery" in the annual Wine Issue of Food & Wine Magazine. Wells was quoted as saying, "I'm trying to keep one foot here and one in the Rhône, to make wines that hem in the ripe fruit we get here and have the elegance of great European wines."
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Full-figured and charmingly floral, Viognier is one of the most important white grapes of the northern Rhône where it is used both to produce single varietal wines and as an important blending grape. Look for great New World examples from California, Oregon, Washington and cooler parts of Australia. Somm Secret—Viognier plays a surprisingly important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône. About 5% Viognier is typically co-fermented with the Syrah in order to stabilize the color, and as an added benefit, add a subtle perfume.