Copain 2008 L’hiver Syrah

The L’hiver used to be one of my favorite wines.  It was my go-to wine when I wanted to get that cool-climate Syrah flavor and aroma for a reasonable price.  It was delicious, it was cheap, it’s the California wine that I always wanted, and apparently it was unsustainable.  The wine was discontinued after the 2008 vintage, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I found it at my local Whole Foods for less than $20.  I’ve missed this wine.  The Copain Tous-Ensemble is a decent replacement but it’s a little more rustic and a little more wild and sometimes misses a bit on the delicious factor.  This wine is pure unadulterated deliciousness.  It’s got that pure Syrah bright fruit that I love so much and it’s ultimately very drinkable.

On the nose this wine has a lot of gravel, plum, and black olive aromas with a tiny underscoring of leather.  On the mid-palate it’s smooth for a millisecond and then quickly transitions to a bright and dry finish.  It’s definitely a food wine, much like all these cool-climate Syrahs that I’ve been writing about.

I’ll confess, I’m not sure where the fruit in this wine is from.  It’s hard to glean much information about it on the Internet because the wine has been discontinued.  Suffice to say I want Copain to bring this wine back!  I know they’ve cut back on their Syrah production and become more of a Pinot-focused winery but the wine maker at Copain, Wells Guthrie is an unabashed Syrah-lover.  In fact, his twitter handle is @Gentazrulz which is a reference to one of the most famous and sadly defunct Syrah producers in the Northern Rhone.  I know he wants to make more Syrah and I know that he has an amazing touch with the grape.  Bring it back!

We need this kind of Syrah to help people get a sense of the cool-climate possibilities of the grape but without the high price-points of many of the wines that are available.  How can California show the wine world what it’s capable of doing with Syrah in cool climates if the new wine drinkers will simply gravitate to Aussie Shiraz?  Although I love Qupe’s entry level Syrah and Andrew Murray’s Tous les Jours, they don’t quite represent what the grape can do in truly cool climates.  L’Hiver does that.  And it does it in a way that can make us cool-climate Syrah aficionados proud to introduce it to our skeptical friends, and all that delicious pure Syrah fruit at a price point that won’t scare them away.


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